Nizar Qabbani, the poet of love and flirting

There are many poets whose names have a remarkable impression in the Arab world, and the most important one, at least for me, was and still is Nizar bin Tawfiq Kabbani.

He is one of the most important, contemporary, romantic and popular love poets in the Arab world whose names are associated with the poetry of love. He is called the poet of woman, love and flirting. Most of his poems dealt with the issue of woman’s freedom.

He was born in Damascus in March 1923; his grandfather is Abu Khalil Qabbani, the pioneer of Arab theater. His father was a known merchant in Damascus.

Nizar married twice, the Syrian Zahra and the Iraqian Bilqis who was killed in 1982 leaving a very bad psychological effect on him. He left from Lebanon to Paris then to Geneva and finally to London where he spent the rest of his life, where he passed away on April 30, 1998 and his body was buried in his hometown, Damascus.

He had from the two wifes three daughters and two boys, one of them died when he was 17.

Nizar Qabbani studied and has degree in law from the University of Damascus. He published in 1944 his first collection of poetry during his study at the university entitled “The black told me”. This first collection of Nizar attracted and raised a strong controversy in the educational circles in the university.

He graduated in 1945 and joined the Syrian Foreign Ministry, and in the same year he was appointed in the Syrian Embassy in Cairo and where he issued his third collection “Childhood of Nahed” which was not only daring in its tittle, but also in its poetic language which was not familiar at that time.

 He resigned from his diplomatic work in 1966 to devote himself to literary work. After his resignation he moved to Beirut, where he founded a private publishing establishment entitled “publications of Nizar Qabbani”.

Many critics described Nizar as a “Poetic School” and as “Social case and Cultural Phenomena”. Others described him saying that “he is really the poet who has his private language beside his daring language and selective subjects”.

Over the past 50 years the most important singers were competing to sing Nizar Qabbani poems, Including:

Umm Kulthum: (Now I have a gun).

Abdul Halim Hafez: (letter from beneath the water), and                       (Reader’s-Soothsayer).

 Fairuz: (Don’t ask me what Habibi’s name is).

 Najat al-Sageera: (I ask you to leave), (The master of words), (Does he think), etc.…

 Fayza Ahmed: (A letter from a woman).

 Majeda al-Romei: (I love you so much), (The paper), etc….

 Talal Maddah: (when you will know how much I love you).

 Kazem al-Saher:(Say I love you), (Do you have any doubt), (impossible love), and other poems.

Some of Nizar’s famous poetry collections are:


-         The black told me

-         A poem Bilqis

-         Childhood of Nahed

-         My beloved

-         Samba

-         You are mine

-         Poems

-         Book of love

-         One hundred love letter

-         Every year and you are my love

-         Diary of a woman who is carless

-         I love you, I love you and the rest comes

-         Love doesn’t stop on the red light

-         To the female, Beirut with my love

-         Outlawed poetry

-         Drawing in words

-         Savage poems

-         I swear that there is no woman, but you

-         Like this, I write the history of women

-         Love will remain my master

-         I’m one man, and you are a tribe of women

-         Fifty years in praising women

-         No winner, but love

-         I married you, O freedom

-         The lovers’ dictionary

-         Triple of Children’s stones

-         Jasmine alphabet

Honoring Nizar, the street where Nizar was born was named after his name. “This street, which Damascus presented to me, is the gift of my age and it is the most beautiful house I have on the soil of paradise”. Said Nizar in this occasion 

Raghda Sawas




Syrian TV Drama Presses ahead with Landslide Success

Despite the unfair sanctions imposed by the Arab League, Syrian public and private drama companies went ahead with a number of successful television projects during the past season. About twenty seven Syrian TV drama series were screened during the holy month of Ramadan proving the great progress realized by Syrian TV drama production.  Syria’s national television and radio producer, the International Syria Company, and a number of private companies remain upbeat about their production schedule defying the unfair sanctions which target the Syrian people’s various aspects of life including their art and civilization.

Comedy series had the lion’s share among this year’s production including new parts of series that has been shown over the past few years. These include : Zeit Kaz(Oil Kerosene), written by Zuheir Kanouh and based on Ayman Rida’s story; Sukkar Maleh (Salty Sugar) starring Amal Arafa and al-Muthanna Subeh.

 Spotlight, which is satirical sketches that deal with many sensitive topics, related to the country's politics, economy and social life continued to be screened for the ninth year. Issues like administrative and economic corruption, religious radicalism, and gender problems were discussed in an attractive comic style. 

In an episode named (One hand) the protagonist seeks to convince others to act all together and stay united reminding the audience of the importance of national unity among all categories of society to confront various challenges.

Other successful TV series included Abu Janti, “Girls” and “The Days of Study” which attracted huge audience all over the Arab world due to the daring approach pursued by directors.

Syrian director Fadi Ghazi presented a very successful TV drama comedy that is considered a development of his previous comic series. Starring Ayman Reda and other famous Syrian drama actors, the series deals with the story of a father and his four daughters, highlighting comic aspects in the Damascene people’s life.

Syrian actress Amal Arafeh achieved great success in Rafet Ein(  Eye Blink ) in which she distanced herself from  ready-made moulds .

The script, which was written by Arafeh herself, was produced in the black comedy style.
Imitating a previous series she acted more than ten years ago, namely “Dunia”, Arafeh focuses on the story of “Hadia” the heroine of the series who moves among various worlds including prison, thievery, dancing and house-serving to deal with several social topics of great concern to Arab citizens.






-         Every day of your life is a page of your history.

-         A horse of good breed is not dishonored by his saddle.

-         A mouth that praises and a hand that kills.

-         A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.

-         A house divided cannot stand.

-         Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

-         A secret is like a dove; when it leaves my hand it takes wing.

-         Ask the experienced rather the learned.

-         Eat whatever you like, but dress as others do.

-         What makes man to succeed is daring in thinking, in execution and in accepting failure.

-         It is easy to find who can talk with him, but it is difficult to find who could trust him.

-         There are five ways to make a man happy, first to find a girl who makes him laugh, second to find a girl who accept to be his partner in everything, third to find a girl who loves him sincerely, fourth to find a girl who accords him much attention.  But on one condition that neither of them knows the other.

Compiled by Raghda al-Sawas

Mu’taz Ali’s “Breaking News”

The Palestinian right of return to their indigenous homeland land has been one of the salient features of artist Mu’taz Ali’s cartoons in his recent exhibition held under the title of  “Breaking News”.

Ali has been able to reflect the aspirations of his people in liberating their lands and returning to it.

The tent and the key are two most prominent symbols through which he addressed two major themes. The tent summarizes the tragedy of the Palestinian people which resulted from their expulsion from their indigenous homeland where they were distributed to refugee camps living in tents and feeling nostalgia to return to their villages and cities.

As for the key, it symbolizes for the determination of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland despite the Israeli hectic attempts to wipe out this right which has been guaranteed by UN resolution No. 194 and other UN resolutions pertaining to the Arab Israeli conflict. The Palestinian girl, Fatema in Ali’s cartoons, wears Palestinian embroidered dress which symbolizes for the adherence to the Palestinian identity, culture and heritage in the face of the recurrent Israeli attempts to wipe out this identity and obliterate the genuine characteristics of the Palestinian culture and heritage.   The cartoonist deals with the resistance in its pan-Arab dimension, especially the unity of the Syrian and Palestinian people in resisting the Zionist entity. He also portrayed the huge marches of the Palestinian people who headed to the occupied Golan and broke the barbed wires on Nakba Day to express their determination not to sell out their repatriation right.

One cartoon deals with the struggle of our people in the Gaza Strip and their brave confrontation of the tight siege imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities with the aim of halting the unabated struggle of the Palestinians.

Fatema cleans the dust from the key and hangs it on her chest waiting for the breaking news which might carry hope and optimism in liberating the homeland.

Ali makes us remember the most prominent symbols of Palestinian cultural life, especially Ghaasn Kanafani, Mahmoud Darwish and Naji al-Ali through his mouthpiece Hanzallah, a thin, miserable-looking man representing the Palestinian as the defiant victim of Israeli oppression and other hostile forces, and a fat man representing the reactionary Arab regimes and Palestinian political leaders who led an easy life and engaged in political compromises which the artist fervently opposed.

The Palestinian olive, the nuts of Nablus and the thyme of Hebron can be seen in the cartoons.

The artist did not forget to touch on the current developments, especially the conspiracy against Syria which aims to undermine its resistant role and serve Israeli interests. One cartoon portrays the media fabrications against Syria through a propaganda implemented by four instigative channels: al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, al-Hurra and France 24 which transmit in Hebrew in reference to their implementation of a foreign agenda that serves Israeli interests.