March 21st 1923 - May 1st 1998 .
n poet. Born in an old house in Damascus
in the Shaghor
area. Witnessed his country revolt against the French
occupation in his early years, his father, Tawfeq Qabanni
was a member of the revolotion movement. Nizar wrote in his autobiography about the Syrian rebels giving political speeches to gain support to overthrow the French
occupation and gain freedom
, he continues in his writing, that one day, Sinigal
i militia stormed his house and arrested his father and threw him in a prision in Tadmur
wasteland prison. Nizar was shocked, he knew his father was a candy maker by profession but he did not know that his father also made weapons, he wrote, " I cant understand how my father could mix between sweet
s and sorrow
Nizar had 2 brothers and 1 sister, Motaz (exalted), Sabah (morning), Rasheed (mature), and his sister Haifah (named after a town in Palestine
). Nizar's family was middle class. Nizar had a huge tree in his house called called Abu Khaleel Al Qabanni, named after his maternal uncle who also happens to be the brother of his father's grand father, little is known about Abu Khaleel other than his participation in the revolt against the Ottoman Turk
ish empire in the late 19th century, and his participation in theater and drama. Because of the social structure at the time, Abu Khaleel could not have female actress on stage so he had to enroll male actors and made the actors dress and act as females on stage. Damascus
was outraged because of this, and the locals started cussing at Abu Khaleel for letting boys dress as girls, and the other poets started making fun of Abu Khaleel and started writing all sorts of disrespectful poems against him, accusation such as Abu Khaleel being against the culture and against relegion were common. The locals complained to the Ottomans about him, the Ottoman califite
s recomended that the locals should buy rotten eggs and tomatoes and throw it at Abu Khaleel and it was so. Abu Khaleel had to move to Egypt
after this incident, the Egyptians were more accepting of liberal arts than the Syrian
s at the time. Abu Khaleel spent the rest of his life in Egypt. Nizar also had eggs and tomatoes thrown at him in Syria when he played in 1954 his poem "bread, hashish and the moon".
Nizar always wanted to be unique and didnt want to go by the Arab
s norms, before his death in London
, he wrote " When will they announce the death of Arabs. " Arab people were outraged by his poem and did not apreciate it, accusing him of being perverted by the way he described women in his poetry and equaly outraged because he accused other poets of "licking the sultan's feet for a sack of a rice and 50 dirhams ". He was obviously against the dictatorship of Arab rulers and didnt hesitate to picture the Arab world in its true form with out being a hypocrite
like the other poets, current academicians claim that Nizar will be apreciated by the Arab world 10 or 20 years from now when the citizens reach more political maturity. Nizar died of a heart attack in London
in May 1st 1998.
Source and a complete list of his poems and biography in 6 languages: