السبت، 12 أبريل، 2008

My Speech at the Launching Party

His High Excellency the Dean of Arab Ambassadors in Romania
His High Excellency the Ambassador of Jordan
His High Excellency the Ambassador of Romania
The Great Poet Mr Munir Mezyed
The Great Poet Mr Marius Chelaru

It is my pleasure and great honor to participate in making this Anthology possible whether through my contribution in writing the Introduction in both Arabic and English, editing 186 poems, translating 15 poems for some Iraqi and Gulf poets or planning its final layout.

It is a great honor. It is a hoped-for wish that is realized thanks to Mr Munir Mezyed.
To be frank, right away from the beginning, I thought, on the one hand, it would be a hard job and great task especially for one living in a war-torn country like Iraq suffering and lacking all life fundamentals. On the other, I was working under the press of time as the whole work should be finished within no more than 20 days …though later on, I asked Mr Munir for two extensions, each time 5 or 6 days.

I planned my time: a time to search in references, books and old journals amid the smells of ashes of burnt books and papers! Amid scenes of the new Tartars everywhere! Of darkness at day! And of innocent blood coldly shed in Basrah. And there was a time for me to go to what was once regarded as a Central Library amid all dangers and risks, the expected and the unexpected, in the way together with 'Checkpoints', here and there, of unidentified gunmen. All alert and ready!

- a time I allotted for writing and a time I specify to read the poems Mr Munir was sending in order to edit, and a time I should have to translate my own selection of some Iraqi and Gulf poets.

I never felt that working in the Anthology was a burden. On the contrary, I realized how great the responsibility Mr Munir honored me to hold and how great trust he put on my shoulders.

I was immersed with joy for nothing but for the mere thinking that a poet of high credit, a brilliant translator, a well-fledged researcher, a first-rate novelist, a noble man and a true friend like Munir Mezyed picked me to be the Editor of the Anthology. This is my honor and reward.

It is natural Ithink for anyone coming closer to Mr Munir Mezyed to love, think very highly and set him the Paragon of the True Arab Man-of-Letters. Mr Munir Mezyed served not only the Arab causes and culture but also strived to reflect the true image of Islam in the West.

I liked him more as a creative poet having words replete of wonder, magic, novelty and vision. When I read his poetry, I listen to his soul; I soar in his dreams; I fly high to his remote paradise; I flow like a wave with him; I shed a tear when he writes an elegy; I sustain my hope in again. I discovered the nobleness of the man; the love he bears in heart to all humanity regardless to race, religion, class or color; I felt his flamboyant zeal to awaken his fellowmen of the joys of a world devoid of pain and hatred, violence and injustice, ignorance and wickedness. I admired a great deal his belief that poetry could change man, improve life on earth and sustain the hope in the days to come.

The design of the Anthology is based on the following views I set and apply in complete cooperation, consult, support and encouragement by the leader of the whole project, Mr Munir Mezyed:

1.Numbering the Poems:


The book comes into three separate parts, each for a language – English, Arabic and Romanian. Poems in each part are numbered. Each poem carries the same number in the three versions. The Idea behind that is to facilitate the job to readers to check or follow or entertain themselves with other versions that go under one title but into another language; so in stead of refering to the 'Contents Page' to look for names or poem, they just search for the wanted number of the poem, not page .

2.Rosary as Model:


The design of the Anthology is modeled on the design of an Arab rosary or beads used by Muslim Arabs when praying.

The one-hundred beads as a whole denote the one-hundred titles of the Creator.

Also, as each 33rd bead in a rosary is considered as a separation or partition threaded in the rosary, it would remind an Arab Muslim in prayer's mode that only one part of one's duty to God has just finished. He must start new 33 series of religious pleas or duties or supplications or Quranic Verses till he finishes only to start again and again and reaches the Great Name of the Creator, No.100. As he completes the first 100 pleas …etc, he may start new 100 times till he reaches the 200. And he may go in counting to 1000. This is done in Al-Qadre (Fate) Night. This is the philosophy behind the design I bear for the book.

Hence, each poem referring to a certain poet would be only another form of the Absolute Voice and Name of Poetry.

3.The Significance of the Blue Font Colour:


Every 33rd poem is written by Mr Munir, the Voice of Absolute Poetry and the Incarnate Theory. It is colored in blue, the colour of Heaven whether in the book or in the Contents Page.

4. The Concept of the Ladder:


The reader of the Anthology will as if ascend step by step the ladder of Absolute Poetry, Munir's Theory (Poetry for Humanity). This is why the Anthology begins in one of Munir and ends in a number of his poems.
The ladder means Mi'rage ( the Ascension) as we say in Arabic. In this Anthology, the Poet, the Absolute Poet will ascend high to Heaven in trip reminiscent of Dante's journey but with a slight difference - the Modern Arab poet goes to Heaven carrying with him all the congregation of the colleague-poets.

5.The Sacredness of Number Seven:


I follow the concept of the sacred Number 7. Arabs as Muslims also look very highly of Number Seven. Hence, in this Anthology, every 7th poem would be dedicated to those poets who belong to "the first or old generation". This is applied mainly in the first 100 poems at the beginning. Here we have sacred names of both poets and poetesses - they are the disciples of the Voice of the Absolute Poetry.

6.The Messages of Love:


The Anthology also includes short messages I asked Mr Munir to provide. They indicate his belief in love, peace and justice. They are "the Hymns", inserted in every 34th blank page. The page will not be numbered. They are eleven in number.


Once again, I thank you and wishing the best to this event.


Mr Abdul-Settar Al-Assady

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