إذا الشعب يومًا أراد الحياة If, one day, the people choose life

This poem is a very famous one by the early 20th century Tunisian poet Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi which inspired so many of chants for freedom during Arab Spring protests in 2011-2012.

Here’s a good article on Arablit blog about different translations of the poem. Also, an excerpt of the an English translation by Ghada Mourad is given on Arablit, one by As’ad Abu Khalil on Aasil K Ahmad’s blog, and a full but uncredited English translation can also be found here on Jadalliya or on Band Annie’s blog.

The title is given in English variously as ‘If, One Day, A People Desires to Live’, ‘The Will to Life’, ‘If the People Wanted Life One Day’ and ‘The will to live’. (I realise that my suggestion of ‘the people choose life’ has an echo of Trainspotting about it, but I quite like that!)

Below are a couple of recordings of the poem in Arabic and you can find the full text in Arabic on Adab.com.

About Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

Literary translator from Arabic, German and Russian into English
This entry was posted in Famous Arabic people, Listening, Literature/poetry/fiction, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to إذا الشعب يومًا أراد الحياة If, one day, the people choose life

  1. Pingback: Songs from Tahrir | Ruth Ahmedzai

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