“La patria delle visioni celesti” by Ibrahim al Koni

This article is also available in: Italiano

“La patria delle visioni celesti” is an anthology of 10 stories by the great Ibrahim al Koni that will take you to breathe and experience the Sahara as never before

La patria delle visioni celesti

At the center of al-Koni’s narrative is the desert, the Sahara, a fabulous universe, of unexpected variety, full of stories, characters, legends, dangers and visions. No writer in the world had ever told the desert with such passion and wonder. Not only are the Libyan writer’s stories compelling, but they reveal to us a world whose existence is difficult to imagine, the world of the desert where the most surprising things happen: escapes, conversions, hallucinations, loves, dangers, unheard-of joys, mystical experiences. . His narrative is cultured, full of references to the Bible, the Koran, the legends of the Tuareg, but also contemporary Western literature, because al-Koni, who grew up among the Tuareg in the sands of the Sahara, later lived and studied in Moscow and in various western countries. In some stories there is the story of the desert populations’ resistance to Italian colonialism, a story often hidden from us and which is told here with courage and sincerity. But the strongest theme of this book is the mystical experience, understood in the broadest sense, that life in the desert evokes and stimulates.

10 stories to tell the Libyan Sahara

“La patria delle visioni celesti” is the anthology of 10 short stories by the great Ibrahim al Koni, one of the greatest Arab writers of the 20th century and certainly one of the best ever to tell the Libyan desert. All 10 stories are set in this extraordinary place and in each of it the protagonist of the moment lives with it an intimate, ancestral and visceral relationship, something with a beauty so pure and profound as to make souls perceive even before bodies. As the author has said several times, in fact, living in the pure desert is something that deprives the human being of the chains that bind him to his body and his needs, allowing those who live there to elevate their soul and make it bring her into contact with God and his forces. The desert dweller has an exclusive and intense relationship with phenomena such as wind, heat, rain, stars and nature, allowing him to see and perceive things that no other human being would ever have come to conceive.

La patria delle visioni celesti
“Countries full of water exist for the well-being of bodies, countries full of sand for the well-being of souls” Tuareg proverb

Something that allows even the most citizens of us to rediscover the bond lost for centuries with nature and the manifestations of the Divine, an element that, especially in the light of pollution and subsequent climate change, it becomes essential to acquire to regain peace. interior that now seems lost forever. The masterful writing of al Koni will immerse the reader in these magnificent atmospheres, giving voice to the desert and its wonders.

“Italiani brava gente”

In addition to the desert and the phenomena connected to it, the other major theme is alas related to the shameful and infamous colonization carried out by the Italians in Libya, especially that relating to the work of Rodolfo Graziani, “The butcher of Fezzan”. The clash between the latter with the great Omar al Mukhtar and his decision to build several concentration camps inserted him into the black memory of all Libyans and in particular that of the Bedouins, who, according to the estimates of the historian Ilan Pappe, saw their number halved after his arrival. Let me be clear: the book almost never deals with it as a main topic, but lets the wind and the whispers of the desert remind us of the filth that came here from this ignoble Italian general and from fascism.

An extraordinary text to immerse yourself in the desert and its world, if in the meantime you also listen to the Tinariwens you will really be immersed in a unique atmosphere, managing to take a trip to a land where the Absolute is something everyday that dialogues with the soul.

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