Ali Al-Jallawi (born 1975 in Manama, Bahrain) is a poet and writer. At just seventeen years of age he was arrested because of a poem in which he criticised the regime in Bahrain. In his collection Al-Medina al-akhira (The Last City), Al-Jallawi dreams of a perfect city, a city of poets, in which everyone is free to express her thoughts. The work is dedicated to his friend Isa, who, condemned to death, was in prison with Al-Jallawi. As well as seven books of verse, Ali Al-Jallawi has published works on the Baha’i and the country’s Jewish communities for a Bahraini research centre. He has also been writing prose for some time. Publications (selection): - Bahraini Poets: Ali Al Jallawi, Ebrahim Al-Arrayedh, Tarafa, Ali Al Shargawi (2010) - Tashta’il karazat nahd, Al Intishar Al Arabi (Beirut, 2008) - Dilmuniyat II (Dar Kan’aan, Syrien 2003) - Dilmuniyat I (Dar Aalia, Kuwait 2002) - Al Madina Al Akhira (Beirut 2002) - Al ‘Isyan, Dar Al Mada (Syrien 2000) - Wajhan li-mra’atin wahida (Dar Al Kunooz, Beirut 1999)
Deeb (born 1984 in Cairo, Egypt) is an Egyptian hip hop artist, poet and journalist, whose first appearance in the scene was with the Egyptian hip hop group Asfalt in 2005. In his texts, written in colloquial Arablic, the artist deals with personal and cultural matters in everyday Egytian life. He describes himself as a “social conscience“ of his country, addressing such topics as corruption, social inequality, the oppression of women and the day-to-day struggle for survival in the streets.. He takes the pulse of the city, and the people in the streets are his target audience, from the taxi driver to the kiosk owner. Publication: Cairofornia (EP)
Deeb "Masrah Deeb" prod by Gen K Official Music Video
The Tunisian rapper El Général (born 1989 in Safaqis, Tunisia) came into the public eye in early 2011 during the so-called Jasmine Revolution. His song ‘Rais Lebled’ (Head of State) became the protest hymn of the young demonstrators. Hamada Ben-Amor, as El Général is called in civilian life, comes from Tunisia’s second-largest city, Safaqis, where he grew up with his two siblings in a religious Muslim family. In 2008 he began writing political rap, taking his lead mainly from the hip hop scene in Algeria, where young people had produced rhymes critical of the system in the late 1980s as a reaction to the regime’s brutal suppression of mass protests. In late 2010 El Général published his song ‘Rais Lebled’ online. The song went viral on Facebook and Twitter throughout the Arab world. The political situation in many Arab countries was already very unstable at that time. In Tunisia, his critical words were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Many young people decided to go on to the streets and fight for political change. The Tunisian regime then had the young rapper arrested in December 2010. El Général was forced to sign a statement undertaking never again to incorporate political themes into his raps. But then Tunisia’s repressive regime collapsed. This brought the opening up of new opportunities for El Général, who had already become a star. The new Culture Ministry promised to support him in his work on his album, and today his hymn plays on the radio several times a day. El Général will be touring Tunisia and bringing out his debut album ‘La Voix Du Peuple’ (The Voice of the People) in 2011.
el général, the voice of Tunisia, english subtitles
Hend Hammam (born 1988 in Cairo, Egypt) grew up in rural Egypt as well as in Cairo the city of nine million inhabitants. Her work focuses on reflections on the present and the everyday sufferings of people in Egypt. With her marked style and ability to express complex political ideas in clear, simple words, she has become one of the youngest poetry performers in the Cairo scene. Hend Hammam, whose style is inspired by her great model, the famous poet and lyricist Salah Jahin, writes her poems in the Egyptian patois. For her, this manner of expression is both part of Egyptian culture and a political act – she wants her poetry to reach a wider range of people than just intellectuals. In the period before this year’s revolution, when expressions of political opinions were still subject to censorship, Hend Hammam used her poetry to draw attention to political, economic, religious and social abuses.
Hind Shoufani (born 1978 in Lebanon) is a Palestinian film maker, poet and writer and has lived and worked in many big cities in the Middle East as a writer, producer, film director and editor. She is a founder of the Poeticians poets‘ collective in Beirut and Dubai, in which poets, men and women, from all different backgrounds and origins meet regularly to present their work to each other. Shoufani‘s work is marked by the power of its language. She writes about bitterness, breakdown and recriminations, love, women and rights, and about the struggle for freedom and the Middle East conflict. She writes from a feeling that she herself describes as obsession and which gives her the strength to put the oppression and pain all around her into words, but at the same time she describes the beauty of the region, something that is often forgotten. Shoufani writes in English. Publications: - Inkstains on the Edge of Light (Whole World Press 2010) - More Light Than Death Could Bear (xanadu, Beirut and New York 2007)
Abdouldaim Ukwas (born 1975 in Tripoli, Libya) began writing poetry when he was still a child. He was discovered at a poetry reading in 2001. He subsequently published poems in Libyan newspapers and magazines and appeared at poetry festivals and readings in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, among other places. The work of Abduldaim Ukwas, who emigrated to Britain a few years ago, is replete with connections with his homeland, Libya. Four images represent for him the different aspects of Libyan culture – the city, the sea, the land and the desert. He constantly recombines these images, while dealing with such topics as freedom and independence. For Abdouldaim Ukwas, poetry is an instrument of indirect resistance – an outlet for both poet and audience. Publications (selection): - Athar tifl fi-l-ramar (Traces of Children in Sand) (Tripoli 2005) - Ka’annak li-kul al-wahid (Everything and Alone) (Benghazi 2010)