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Khaled Mattawa on the overthrow of Qaddafi

October 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments · "Arab Spring", Maghreb, Poetry, Politics

The L.A. Times on 10/15 printed on its “Opinion” page a poem by Libyan-American poet Khaled Mattawa on the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi. Below, the opening lines; you can read the whole work here.

After 42 years
By Khaled Mattawa 

Five years old when the dictator took over in a coup —

curfew shut our city down

Bloodless coup, they said —

The many who thought this could be good.

The dictator, a young man, a shy recluse assumed the helm, bent in piety,

the dead sun of megalomania hidden in his eyes.

Could not go to the store to buy bread or newspaper,

could not leave home, visit friends,

the radio thundering hatred, retching blood-curdling song —

Signs that went unread

Factories built and filched, houses stolen, newspapers shut down,

decades of people killed, 42 years.

But that’s all over now —

How can you say over when it took 42 years —

(ctd. here)


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Clarissa Aykroyd

    Thank you for posting this – very powerful. People are always full of hope (and understandable anger and sadness) on these occasions, but the reality of the aftermath can be just as harsh in its own way.

  • Poo

    Good one. It will be interesting to see what he writes about the next regime. One “hopes” for the best with little hope that will be enough or what is actually required.

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