Saturday, December 29, 2007

I've started watching the old Syrian series "Wadi al Misk" (Valley of Musk - I think). It's quite interesting and even though the first few episodes are a bit slow, the script is quite good and with many amusing double entendres. I don't know much about al Maghout but the few works of his that I have watched have been great fun and quite philosophical at times. Although he's a product of more secular times, he's still highly relevant today and many of his criticisms (mostly of Arab governments and Syria's in particular) are still sadly valid. I have heard that he also wrote some books so if anybody can recommend any I'd be very grateful.


أُمنية said...

i think everyone would recommend
سأخون وطني
i don't know whether this is his best , and this why ppl always mention it, or is it coz this is the only book syrians have read to almaghout.
it's like asking every youth now adays, what's the last book you have read? he/she would answer
ذاكرة الجسد
but they forget to add that this is the only book they have read.
anyway, i think i'll do the same and say سأخون وطني

Yazan said...


I think they recommend that book because it's the easiest one, in terms of simplicity, it's very relevant and very strikingly simple, yet very strong.

His best work would be, and have always been "el-3osfour el-ahdab", that's what he used to call himself anyway.


foret what you watched, maghout is a poet, is a writer, not screenplay writer, he invented "Qasidaet el-nather". Along with Sayyab and Adonis,

"Although he's a product of more secular times, ..."
I don't really get that, though...

أُمنية said...

wallahi ya sayed yazan, i sometimes read what u write and say, u can't be 20!
when i was 20, i could hardly manage to read my college books. when i was 20 , i knew silly american bands , didn't know about the existance of "Ritta" .u r 20 and u r holding memories for this song! i wanted to ask y3ni, u r 20 ya zelemeh, what memories are u holding for this song!

i wish there was 30 % of our syrian in their 20's as educated as you.

anyway, keep an eye on urself

ps . i knew that Maghout's best book can't be سأخون وطني
but am just a typical syrian.

Wassim said...

Guys thank you so much for the recommendations, I'll be looking at these authors a bit closely once I finish my studies.

I say "product of more secular times" simply because I think secularism was peculiar of the twentieth century and that cold war period. I may be wrong, but I feel there may be a shift to a more religious narrative of struggle for the poor and oppressed - at least in the Middle East. The cause is the same but maybe the means have now changed. Not necessarily a bad thing, just times moving on.

Yazan said...

I was fortunate [or unfortunate] enough to have a much different childhood than many other syrian kids...

Rita? I personally used to love this song since i was as little as 5, along side tout tout 3a bayrout, and i spent lots of time with my dad in beirut in the 90s, i sang rita with marcel himself in one of their "sahrat", [Marcel Khalife went to all little gatherings made by other memebers of lebanese communist party].

That's true, and I am still waiting for when this will culminate, I don't personally hope for much out of it, I actually don't think it will be a good scene.

annie said...

I found some of his poetry in Arabic (with the French translation appended). I love it. Cannot help you with titles. My books are in Damascus and I am in Paris.

Shady Zayat said...

I recommend some of his early works, my favorite is حزن في ضوء القمر. This book sheds light on the poet's character. It makes you read the other works differently.

qunfuz said...

I've read 'sa-akhoon watani' - great, angry satire, and simple enough for even me to read easily in Arabic. I've got a great translation of translated poetry called 'Joy is not my profession.' I agree with Yazan, he's a poet first and foremost. He deserves to be much better known. His 'lover narrator' is perhaps better suited to our twisted times than Qabbani's. Lines like this: Lebanon is burning - it leaps, like a wounded horse, at the edge of the desert/ and I am looking for a fat girl/ to rub myself against on the tram

which reminds me of this, very depressing news clip about Iraqi prostitution in Damascus. Warning: there's a shot in the last few seconds that will bring tears to your eyes, if they weren't already there:

O - and I've watched al-hudood, with Dureyd Lahham, which was written by Maghout.

أُمنية said...

this link contains his work as a poet,if anyone cares.

qunfoz: that was too much , when i was in syria in summer i heard about the iraqis girl prostituating around Damascus. i don't know what to say, this is war. this is politics. this is life. nothing will ever change.