O Sultan 'Assad!' Because I dare to approach your deaf walls, I was beaten with my shoes.


O Sultan 'Assad!' Because I dare to approach your deaf walls, I was beaten with my shoes.
by Iqbal Latif

In lasting memory of those who are giving their lives to remove their Sultans.

From the city of love, Paris, where my mind feels free, in light of what is happening in Syria; I would like to share a stirring works "Sultan"; the recitation of these verses has always sent shivers down my spine. When I see ravenous 'state dogs' tearing apart freedoms of expressions, I feel my prime civic duty is to condemn it at the top of my voice. Those who maintain 'Silence like a Lamb' are appeasing the tyrant. Originally written under the title of 'O my lord the Sultan! My cloak has been torn by your ravenous dogs...' on Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:16 AM EDT, I am reproducing this article as a token of small remembrance of all those fallen innocent civilians who are fighting the last battle to remove their bloodthirsty Sultans one on the run is Assad. There is no cause nobler than fight for freedom and liberty. 'Give us freedom or give us death' is the clarion call of the Syrians and all the freedom seekers of the world.

I feel Nizar Qabbani is one of the leading voices of freedom ever espoused in the Middle East. Nizar Qabbani's poetry epitomizes freedom and expression of love in its most expressive form. Qabbani's 1990 magnum opus ''Abu Jahl (the father of ignorance) buys Fleet Street'' became a characteristic mention reflecting the bankruptcy of Arab writing. This was actually a humorous attack camouflaged as a plea to an unnamed traditional Arab sovereign.

O long lived one,
We vow never to seek a share of your rule.
O long lived one,
We vow never even as to look at your throne,
O long lived one,
Go on lashing, as many of the people as you wish
And killing as many of your subjects as you wish,
And @!$%# as many of your slave girls as you wish,

We only have one wish: Spare us the words, and spare us the letters. The "Sultan"a poem by Qabbani defines the present day'Sultans' of Pakistan. 'Sultan' is an example of political verse that denotes tyrannical, corrupt rulers who suppress freedom of opinions. His poetry was given new life as many singers like Abdel Halim Hafez, and Um Kolthoom turned the frozen beauty of his poetry to 'living lyrics'--the clarion call being that national and social liberation was meaningless without sexual liberation.

If I were promised safety, if I could meet the Sultan
I would say to him: O my lord the Sultan!
my cloak has been torn by your ravenous dogs,
your spies are following me all the time.
Their eyes their noses their feet are chasing me like destiny, like fate
They interrogate my wife and write down all the names of my friends.

O Sultan! Because I dare to approach your deaf walls,
because I tried to reveal my sadness and tribulation,
I was beaten with my shoes

Nizar Qabbani's dichotomy of character is mind-boggling, an enemy of 'tyranny' but a great friend of despots. His writings against the decadent Arab imaginary 'Sultan' are classics and are comparable to our situation; our 'Sultans' are no less tyrants. Qabbani's poems included a strong strain of anti-authoritarianism. One couplet in particular --

"O Sultan, my master,
if my clothes are ripped and torn
it is because your dogs
with claws are allowed to tear me" --
As a true realist, renders a very effective portrayal of despots' defeat at the Israeli hands by writing on the Sultan's guards:
O my lord the Sultan!
you have lost the war twice
because half our people has no tongue.
Who fiercely face student demonstrations,
And turn into ostriches when facing the enemy.
He presents a conniving image of despotic rulers:

Walking behind the prophet's coffin,
Holding their blooded daggers under their mourning cloaks.'
O Sultan! Because I dare to approach your deaf walls,
because I tried to reveal my sadness and tribulation,
I was beaten with my shoes

The following is sometimes quoted by Arabs as a kind of cynical shorthand for their annoyance with life under totalitarianism. It is believed that the targets of his poetry are the Sultans of Nejd!! Nizar yearned for freedom from the yokes of his tyrants, his demands for expression of liberty are couched in his erotically charged poetry. Conservative despots wish that Nizar work should be on Arab version of ''Index Librorum Prohibitorum.'' Nizar, as an intellectual student of history of political thought, settled on a fundamental break between realism and idealism. Pragmatism is the theme of his philosophical thoughts. In contrast to Plato and Aristotle, the ideal society was not the aim of his poetry. In fact, Nizar Qabbani accepted the exercise of brute power, where necessary, and rewards patron-clientalism etc. to preserve the status quo. In 1995 the poet of adore caused a new upheaval by declaring the demise of the Arabs as a nation:

A horrifying chain of degenerations; Swiftly soaked us into the age of senility, Nizar Qabbani, quoted by Fouad Ajami in his famous book 'The Dream Palace of the Arabs,' painted a picture of an Arab world that is so faced with grave societal dysfunctions that he could no longer write:

‘I don’t write because I can’t say something that equals the sorrow of this Arab nation. I can’t open any of the countless dungeons in this large prison. The poet is made of flesh and blood. You can’t make him speak when he loses his appetite for words. You can’t ask him to entertain and enthrall when there is nothing in the Arab world that entertains or enthralls. When we were secondary schoolchildren, our history teacher used to call the Ottoman Empire [Europe’s] ‘sick man.’ What is the history teacher to call these mini-empires of the Arab world being devoured by disease? What are we to call these mini-empires with broken doors and shattered windows and blown-away roofs? What can the writer say and write in this large Arab hospital?’ How can we explain the discouraging state of Middle Eastern Arab societies? Is it the fault of Western imperialism or the existence of Israel, as often claimed?


We need our unwavering resolve to question and condemn the ills of lunatics and fringe killers who have taken upon themselves to make this earth a heaven by making it hell for everyone. Respect of life is the first sign of an educated mind, the most important creation of providence being subject to dynamite is a work of an evil Lucifer, let's not mix it, any mind that plots to maim and kill has not evolved, it has remained stuck in medieval hatreds of the past.


Freedom of minds and skill of intellect to 'think the unthinkable' is how humanity has progressed; when minds are incarcerated nothing endures.


It is totally wrong to quote Baghdad and Cordoba as models of successful Islamic societies if the conditions of those model societies are today abhorred by the main body of Islam, the tolerance required just does not exist, taking history out of context is the biggest injustice that Muslims commit. A clerical state would not be ever able to address the complex problems of governance the world poses today, the separation of state from institutions of clergy is a must for any society to develop.
Poverty as a part of the Islamic society is not by design but by efforts, over reliance of 'will of Allah' and lack of freedom leads to poverty of a nation, mental as well as physical. It is an paradox that when curtain of dogma was descending within the Islamic lands killing free thinking it was slowly and steadily rising in Italy and northern Europe.


A society is judged not by its standards of the richest but by the way the under privileged and the poorest live. The world cannot remain hostage to medievalists, this modern fight has to be seen in its intellectual, historical and geographical context. Respect of life is the first sign of an educated mind, the most important creation of providence being subject to dynamite is a work of an evil Lucifer, let's not mix it, any mind that plots to maim and kill has not evolved, it has remained stuck in medieval hatreds of the past.


more from Iqbal Latif
Iqbal Latif

The world wants to know who speaks for Islam??

by Iqbal Latif on

The world wants to know who speaks for Islam. When will the silent majority unambiguously condemn this carnage without moral equivalence? These are the blazing questions that faithful have to address; no one else is our adversary the enemy is within.

Iqbal Latif

Where is the 1.4 billion Muslims condemnatory??

by Iqbal Latif on

This is exactly what I had thanked President Clinton for. As Kosovons were being butchered he stood for them when Saddam's, Assad's were all helping Milosevic.

Where is the Muslim condemnatory voice a Assad goes no rampage? Three vetoes at UN Security Council effectively kill Annan’s Syria peace plan. Russia and China’s third veto of a Security Council resolution on Syria on Thursday was the death knell for joint UN-Arab League envoy Annan’s six-point peace plan, according to many diplomats and experts. But 1.4 billion faithful look at the other way as once again it is UK, USA and EU leading the charge to save Muslims lives! Today it is lone voice of William Hague who condemned the Russian, Chinese veto not any of the 1.4 billion faithful.

French President said the veto would encourage further crackdowns by the Syrian regime. “The Syrian tragedy must stop,”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Russia and China had let the Syrian people down.

They had, he said, “sided with the Syrian regime and its brutal suppression of the Syrian people in support of their own national interests. Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi termed the double veto “very bad news” while U.S. ambassador Susan Rice described it as “shameful”.

European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton also expressed regret at the vetoes.

“The time has come to speak with one voice and demand an end to the bloodshed and speak out for a democratic future for Syria,” she said in a statement.

“We condemn the ongoing bloodshed and stand by the Syrian people against the repressive regime.

“We call on President Assad to end immediately the killing of civilians, withdraw the Syrian army from besieged towns and cities and step aside in order to make room for a peaceful transition for the sake of his country.”

The European parliament expressed dismay and its president, Martin Schulz, urged Moscow and Beijing to “take their international responsibilities seriously”.

London-based rights group Amnesty International called the veto a “shockingly callous betrayal” of the Syrian people.

Moscow and Beijing have acted in a “completely irresponsible” way, the London-based human rights group added.

Thirteen countries voted for the resolution with only Russia and China voting against. Both countries, as permanent members of the Security Council, have a veto power.

The draft resolution, put forward by Morocco, had called for an immediate end to all violence. It did not impose any sanctions, nor did it authorize military action. Mohammed Loulichki, the U.N. ambassador of Morocco, the sole Arab member of the 15-nation council, voiced his “great regret and disappointment” at the veto and said the Arabs had no intention of abandoning their plan.

When free expression is denied humanity is denied. Human dignity is not a 'God bestowed right' it is an innate right to respect and receive ethical treatment. It is an offshoot of Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. The developments in Damascus and New York now make it clear that the outcome of the Syrian civil war will be decided on the battlefield rather than at the Security Council; the rebel fighters in Syria remain relatively poorly armed, they are increasingly battle-hardened and their morale is being boosted by a growing number of defections from Assad’s regime, diplomats say. Western and Arab powers Saturday reacted angrily to Russia and China’s veto of a Security Council resolution on the Syria crisis, but Moscow and Beijing insisted the text needed more work.

Russia, a long-time Syrian ally, and China had earlier vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown despite reports by Syrian activists that troops overnight had killed 230 civilians in the city of Homs.



Iqbal Latif

When a Muslim is butchered by a Muslim!

by Iqbal Latif on

On Assad- When a Muslim is butchered by a Muslim they all 1.4 billion of them go on a Rip van Winkle of a sleep! Only Hague has the honour and courage to denounce 'Chinese and Russian' veto! Where is Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Turks and Saudis the self styled champions of Islamic causes here?? This resident hypocrisy within the mores of thinking is the cause of ultimate eventual intellectual implosion that corrodes the elegance and grace of human dignity and any thinking process. Please stand up and speak, stand for something in life.

Iqbal Latif

Pro-Iranian regime terrorists killed Balquis his love in 1981:

by Iqbal Latif on

"your body is my map"

jismuki khaaritati 

In 1995 the Qabbani caused another uproar by declaring the death of the Arabs as a nation. A horrifying chain of degenerations, Swiftly soaked us into the age of senility, eroticism, love, lament, political satire, a heavy sense of history, anger, violence and death could all be found in one verse of his works of the period. His eldest son, from his first wife Zahra, died in an accident in Beirut in 1973. Balquis his love was killed in 1981 when pro-Iranian terrorists blew up the Iraqi embassy in Beirut where she worked.

He entitled an anthology "To Beirut, the female." Many verses in that book illustrated how he mastered his craftsmanship of preserving the image of the woman tenderly loved with the herbs of lament, political--often sad--awareness and history. Nizar Qabbani wrote the most beautiful Poem of Balqis -


Jismuki Khaaritati.

"your body is my map"

jismuki khaaritati

raise me more love raise 

mezideeni oushkan zideeni

my prettiest fits of madness

ya ahla nawbaati junooni 

O' dagger's journey in my flesh

ya safar-al-khanjari fi ansijati 

and knife's plunge

ya ghalghalatah-sikkeeni

sink me further my lady 

zideeni gharaqan ya sayyidati

the sea calls

meinna-al-bahra younadeeni 

add to me more death

zideeni mawtan

perhaps as death slays me I'm revived

aalla-al-mawta, itha yaqtouloni, youhyeeni

your body is my map

jismuki khaaritati

the world's map no longer concerns me

ma aadat khaaritato-al-aalami ta'aneeni

I am the oldest capital of sadness

ana aqdamu aasimatin lil-hozni

and my wound a Pharaonic engraving 

wa-jorhi naqshonn farrouni

my pain extends like an oil patch 

waja-i yamtaddu kaboqa'ati zaytin

from Beirut to China

min Bayroota il-a-Seeni 

my pain a caravan dispatched

waja-i qafilaton arsalaha 

by the Caliphs of "A'Chaam" to China.

kholafaa'ou a'chaami il-a-Seeni

in the seventh century of the "Birth"

fil-qarni a-ssabi'i lil-miladi

and lost in a dragon's mouth

wa daa'at fi fami tinneeni

bird of my heart

"naysani" aasfoorata qalbi naysani 

O' sand of the sea, and forests of olives

ya raml-al-bahri, wa ya ghaabaati a-zayatooni

O' taste of snow, and taste of fire

ya ta'ama a-thalji, wa ta'ama a-nnarr 

my heathen flavor, and insight

wa nak'hata kufri wa yaqeeni

I feel scared of the unknown, shelter me 

ash'ur bil khawfi min al-majhool fa-aaweeni

I feel scared of the darkness, embrace me

ash'ur bil khawfi min a-athalmaa'i fadummeeni

I feel cold, cover me up

ash'ur bil bardi faghatteeni 

tell me children stories

ehkee li qisasan lil atfaali

rest beside me

idtaji'i qurbi

Chant to me


since from the start of creation

fa ana min bid'i a-takween

I've been searching for a homeland to my forehead

abhathu aan watanin li jabeeni

for a woman's hair

aan sha'ari emra'atin

that writes me on the walls, then erases me

yaktoboni fawka a-judrani wa yamhooni

for a woman's love to take me

aan hobbi emra'atin ya'a-khuthuni

to the borders of the sun and throws me 

li hodoodi a-shamsi wa yarmeeni

from a woman's lip, as she makes me

aan shafati emraatin taj-a'a loni

like dust of powdered gold

ka-ghobari a-thahabi al-mat'hoon

shine of my life, my fan

Nawwarata oumri marwahati 

my lantern, declaration of my orchards

qindeeli Bawha basaateeni

stretch me a bridge with the scent of oranges

muddi li jisran min raa'ihati al-laymoon

and place me like an ivory comb

wa da'eeni moshtan aajiyyan

in the darkness of your hair, then forget me

fi aatmati sha'araki, wa enseeni

I am a drop of water, ambivalent 

ana noqtato maa'in, haa'iraton

remaining in the notebook of October

baqiyat fi daftari Tichreeni

your love crushes me

yadhasoni hobboki

like a mad horse from the Caucasus throwing me under its hoofs

mithla hisaanin quqaaziyyin majnooni yarmeeni tahta hawaafirihi

and gargles with the water of my eyes

yataghargharu fi maa'i ouyooni

add to me more fury, add to me

zideeni ounfan zideeni

O' prettiest fits of my madness

ya ahla nawbaati junooni

for your sake I set free my women

min ajliki a'ataqtu nisaa'i

and effaced my birth certificate 

wa shatabtu shahadata meeladi

and cut all my arteries,

wa qata'atu jamee'a sharaayeeni.