Syrian-born Qabbani leaves an indelible mark on Arab culture and poetry. A strident figure in both his thoughts and writings-something which literary specialists will no doubt insist are sources of controversy-his great contribution to charting out the path of Arab poetry in the 20th century will be preserved along with other great masters.

His rich life, having now drawn to a close at the age of 75, began on 21 March 1923 in Damascus at a time of major social, political and economic upheavals. Although he obtained a law degree in 1945, and subsequently served as a diplomat, his interest in poetry-kindled when Qabbani was still a schoolboy-never flagged.

He always believed that this was related to the socio-political climate in the Arab world. He says what Arab people need is greater democracy and more freedom of expression, bitterly complaining at the same time that "the fingers of the Arab human being and breath has been cut off, tongue cut off, lips taken out, ears taken out..."

Qabbani wrote endlessly about Beirut, about the Qana massacre, and the Palestinians, the tragedy of Palestine and the children of the stones of the intifada.

His poems are sung and have been recorded by Arab greats such as the late Um Kalthoum and Abdel Haleem Hafiz. Today they are sung by Majda Al Roumi, and Kathim Al Saher.

His language, syntax, and form, his intonation and general style were done in a way that appealed to people, male and female, young or old-an appeal that is emblematic of the generosity with which Qabbani opened up and offered to the world his whole being, with a style that identifies him as a master of his idiom.


Announce Death of the Arabs
I Called you the SOUTH (AL-MASHRIQ)