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The Syrian poet and thinker, Ali Ahmad Saeed Esber, or Adonis, was born 93 years ago. He became famous for his collection of poetry, “The Songs of Mihyar al-Dimashqi,” and next with the publication of his controversial book “The Constant and the Transformation,” which was published half a century ago, and was printed 12 times, in addition to twenty other works. He was also known for his opposition to the political establishment of his country and the religious establishment, describing himself as a pagan mystic.
As a critic of religious values and traditions, Adonis received a number of death threats, from several sides, under the pretext that he is an Alawite, at times, and an opponent of religious thought, and rejected foreign military intervention in Syria, at other times. The books of Adonis were also burned, and the event was described as not strange, as it is an ancient phenomenon in our history.
His book “The Constant and the Transformation” is a profound intellectual experience that has blown the minds of many and made them think outside the box, as he believes that advancement and progress in the Arab world does not take place without keeping pace with the times or isolation without the fertilization of civilizations, and we cannot turn the wheel backwards.
Fate wanted Adonis to live long, exceeding ninety three years, to visit the Arabian Peninsula, which he had always refused to approach, and distanced himself intellectually and physically from it, as he arrived in Riyadh a few days ago as a guest of the Ministry of Culture to confront the poets of Najd, who are lovers of traditional poetry, who have always been for them and for him positions of each other’s opinions and poetry!
The presence of Adonis in Riyadh, with all the intellectual and philosophical weight it represents, gave the Saudi openness a great cultural impetus, and was considered a turning point. Entertainment and tourism, as the visit constituted, in my opinion, a milestone in the Saudi march towards launching to more broad and open horizons, and the beginning of the collapse of the last castles of prevention, blocking and prohibition, and demonstrated the strength of the leadership and its confidence in what it is doing, and its openness to various currents.
Observers noted that the Kingdom enthusiastically dealt with Adonis’s visit at the popular level, but it maintained its sobriety with the event, and acted with clear calmness in a way that does not depart from its literary character, with media coverage befitting the status of the great guest!
On the sidelines of the prominent visit of the thinker Adonis to Saudi Arabia, I remembered the position of our deputy Muhammad Al-Jabri in 2016 when he stood in the National Assembly and demanded that the Minister of Information prevent the thinker Jalal Al-Din Al-Roumi from entering Kuwait and giving his lectures!
The situation was really funny, as he showed the shallowness of the deputy’s information about Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, unaware that he died in 1273, and this is a mistake that can happen with many politicians, so it is not surprising!
But the great catastrophe occurred when the Kuwaiti government decided to assign the same deputy, and after less than two years, the portfolio of the Ministry of Information, which is responsible in the state for culture, arts and literature.
By Ahmad alsarraf