Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

The Will to Live

Posted by vmsalama on March 23, 2012

While attending a conference on the Arab Spring at Georgetown University today, one of the speakers recited the following poem, by Aboul-Qacem Echebbi (1909-1934), a Tunisian poet whose writing inspired the protesters in Tunisia in late 2010/early 2011. Inspirational indeed.

The Will to Live (September 1933)

If one day the people want to live, then fate will answer their call.

And their night will then begin to fade, and their chains break and fall.

For he who is not embraced by a passion for life will dissipate into thin air.

Woe to him whom life loves not, against the voice that strikes there.

At least that is what all creation has told me, and what its hidden spirits declare.

Interesting to note how the poem may have inspired the Tunisian National Athem of 1987: 

Defenders of defense, o defenders of defense! Hie thee hie thee to the glory of the age!

Our blood has roared in our veins, “let us perish, let us die so that the nation might live!”

If, one day, the people want to live, then fate will answer their call

And their night will then begin to fade and their chains break and fall. 

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