It’s fascinating how the poem shifts tremendously on the decision of whether to translate الشعب as “a people/the people,” which makes them a collective, or as “people,” thus turning them into individuals.
Translations of work by Tunisian poet Abu al-Qassim al-Shabbi (أبو القاسم الشابي) continue to make their way around the Internet, mostly as a symbol of hope and change, less so as renewed interest in the poet himself. Many of these translations are repeats of the anonymous Wikipedia version of “To the Tyrants of the World” or of As’ad Abu Khalil’s rendition of the poem he titles “The Will of Life.” But there have been other attempts as well.
No one has yet submitted a re-translation of “To the Tyrants of the World.” However, we are having a miniature translation slam for Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi’s most famous work.
Who does not, this morning, have hope (and fear) for Tunisia on the brain?
I can’t say much for this anonymous Wikipedia translation of Tunisian poet Abo Al Qassim Al Shabbi’s (1909-1934) “To the Tyrants of the World,” but here it is:
As I waited on news this morning about a rumored coup in Tunisia, I thought I’d re-read Kamel Riahi, who says of his stories that they reflect “the lives of the poor [in Tunisia], the homeless, the shoe polishers, الشطّار, young criminals, prostitutes, crushed employees, sailors and street peddlers.”
There are gems, of course, in Banipal39. And, as the only magazine consistently publishing new Arab and Arabic literature in translation, I do applaud their work.
Although I haven’t yet gotten my Banipal 39, I was delighted to see a preview, in two chapters from Habib Selmi’s recently released The Women’s Orchards, translated by the lovely Maia Tabet.
When the latest issue of Banipal was released (39: Tunisian Literature), the MLA Division on Arabic Literature and Culture commented on Facebook:
New Banipal issue is devoted to Tunisian Literature–a nice gesture, but is that really it? Is that Tunisian literature? (Anyhow, let’s just say, it’s better than nothing)
The new Banipal (39) is out—somewhere—although rest assured my copy will take its time getting to Cairo.
The Beirut39 interview with Kamel Riahi, conducted by Sousan Hammad, is certainly the most contentious and (thus) the most interesting in the series. Hammad has asked all the authors when they took up the craft of writing; Riahi’s answer is… Read More ›
The Animists, Ibrahim al-Koni. February 2010. I think al-Koni’s Bleeding of the Stone is brilliant, a book of international standing, with things to tell us about Libya’s Tuareg people, about humanity, about our (changing) natural world. And I see beautiful… Read More ›