My joy was tremendous this morning when I picked up from the floor an envelope with Lebanese stamps on addressed to me, and that I guessed came from my fellow blogger, and friend Moussa. I knew what was in it: the collection of poems by Jawad Nasrallah son of the secretary general of Hizbullah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
As I said before my joy was tremendous, so I hurried to open the envelope after sitting on my prison table (where I spend most of my time), and I read the title: 7urufon muqawima (resisting letters, to translate literally). Nice. So I started reading the dedication for his family and all those who encouraged him to write this book, and then I went to the first poem: a special thanks (it is titled ‘thank you’) to his father. “Thanks to the heart of the most beautiful dad”.
But the more I read the more my disappointment grew. I think my dilettante bourgeois background and shaper of taste has made me seek for the contradictory states of mind, personal confessions/reflexions on the life of the poet. There was none of that, every line was subordinated to ‘the greatest good’ of the resistance. Poems are to the ‘martyrs’, to the ‘prisoners’, to those who are still fighting, to the SG of Hizbullah (the first poem addressed him as a dad but others as a political figure), then towards the end, there is a return to the family where the author writes for his mom and his brother (for the latter he writes on him as a brother but also as the one who died in the battle).
Sublimated poems, disciplined verses, chants for the songs of the resistance, Nasrallah has played by the rules. So he may still be called the poet of the resistance. The poet of this new party/movement. And I’m not judging his verses that are very often enough a bit too pompous to my taste, and poor in the richness of the images they convey. But indeed, his style mirrors what he is writing for: A constituency the party wishes to win over. To create grand ideological frames that are thought to stick effectively to people’s mind, that is the task Nasrallah seems to has set to himself.
But first, it does not mean he has consciously done that, as he may write for so many other personal reasons (as i am not his psychoanalyst I’m just speculating here: like winning over his dad’s pride in him, as it’s the elder son Hadi who took most of the respect through his sanctified martyrdom). Despite this fact, as a social outcome Nasrallah plays the role trying to create a general discursive field that would group the constituency. And so second, it does not mean that people automatically incorporate these frames, there is a much more complex process at stake at the reception level, but that is another story.
In any case, even perceived through this narrow function, I could not find parts of what he wrote that really resonated in my mind. Again, this is because I am the personification of the hiqd that al haqid theorizes about. I could recognize in some of the poems the texts of some of Hizbullah’s songs but am not sure. Maybe it’s just the same vocabulary and expressions used. Suffice it to say, that these symbolic discursive efforts deployed by the party are crucial to understand the making of the history of a social movement and the political organizations that emerges from it. With time, discursive practices get more and more complex as more and more people are involved in it, and as different social structures emerge from the initial movement. Just watch the history of nationalism and its progressive discursive internalization in Europe during the past centuries and you will be able to draw interesting parallels.