This article is also available in: Italiano
The Tunisian poet par excellence, Aboul-Qacem Echebbi has confirmed himself over the years as a true soul of the land of Tunis, coming to represent his country and the entire Maghreb. Some verses of him are even present in the Tunisian anthem.
Canticles of the life
Canticles of the life – for the first time in Italian – are the masterpiece of Aboul-Qacem Echebbi (1909 – 1934), the greatest Tunisian poet of the twentieth century, renowned and appreciated throughout the Arab world, yet extremely uncomfortable and opposed in his own milieu of origin. Ash-Shabbi was kept in the shadows for many decades, almost unpresentable, having dared to criticize and contest, with rare audacity, the backwardness and limitations of the culture and customs of his time in Tunisia and in other Arab countries, with words that are still very current.
“People do not appreciate the living ones, except to repent when they die! Woe to the people comes from their own desires! The more time passes, the stronger the sea wind blows.” Aboul-Qacem Echebbi
He was even openly accused by some of having suffered the satanic charm of the West. The brave rebellion of the Maghreb writer is also present in his famous essay “The poetic imaginary of the Arabs”.
At the same time hated and adored by critics, the young Tunisian poet managed to gain a role of incredible value in Tunisian literature, thanks to an initiative that often proved lethal. As already mentioned, in fact, he often and willingly sided against the immobility of the Tunisian society of the time, reproaching his compatriots for excessive nostalgia for the past. According to Shabbi, in fact, the Arab world at the time had almost stopped, still too in love with the glories of the past to be able to innovate.
“If a person’s soul is small, his dream will also be tiny, then he will not tire or suffer; but whoever has great ambitions will be welcomed by life with the ferocity of a lion.” Aboul-Qacem Echebbi
This condition, however, almost suffocates the poet who, precisely by reaction, begins to write down his frustration, lighting the hearth of a cultural revolt destined to grow more and more with the passing of the years. Shabbi is in fact one of the first to realize the end of “the golden age of the Arab world”, his intent is, consequently, to wake up, not to criticize his own people. Precisely for this reason, there will be no problems in using both forms linked to tradition and others linked to the “Western world”.
His innovation, and the topics dealt with, immediately led him to be considered one of the country’s symbolic poets, a condition that will consolidate over time, making him a point of reference for many other Maghreb writers. A clearer example of this is to be found in
“If one day the people want to live, fate will have to go along with them, the night must dissipate and the chains must break.” Aboul-Qacem Echebbi
The “Arab springs” then ensured that, even in our century, this author can be appreciated and studied. In fact, his verses praising the liberation of the people from chains are very strong, a text that became flesh in
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