Jawad Nasrallah

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.

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10 thoughts on “Jawad Nasrallah

  1. Sublimated poems, disciplined verses, chants for the songs of the resistance, Nasrallah has played by the rules.

    I expected that. Don’t ask me why.

    I was told that some of his poems are the lyrics of the HA anthems.

  2. Exactly. I said in the post that I could recognize some of the lines you find in the songs.

    Thanks again Moussa…

  3. hi and his father are shit-talkers, I am sick and tied of them, it shows you soon that HA will also turn into a Kingdom which he will pass leadership to his son.

    May allah kill them all

  4. There are many things we could expect from HA and from the Nasrallah family (among other things some kind of revolution in religious leader political speach). I think though that poetry/litterature is not one of them.

  5. I liked the self-reflexive note at the start of your entry – about you being the product of a particular milieu.

    Doesn’t the feeling of dissapointment you articulate, also point at the fact that we ‘lay people’ who inhabit a secular paradigm, are also embodied by different styles and ways of doing ‘poetry’, and different ‘imaginaries’? Doesn’t this feeling of dissapointment also illustrate a disjuncture between the discursive space you inhabit (and all what it understands by ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’), and that of the son of Nasrallah?

    This being said, i never read any of these poems; it it’s possible that his case does not apply here.

  6. well
    you have not yet reached the Absolut Hiqd, for I am the Prophet and there could be no one but he (that is I).
    But you are surely on the right path (i’m still kidding ;-), or arent i?! hum… )

    Anyway, i think like nadia that the auto-analysis you’ve made here was quite good, and admireably sincere, for rare are those in the beiruti “salon” (or in any bourgeois salon) that show passion for something and then dare, at the risk of ridicule, to put it publicly to doubt. Mr Bech, although a bourgeois (or whatever) you are an “evolving” creature. And it seems that you have “chosen” reasonning hiqd as your “style”, and that will lead you to salvation. You only lack exhaustive “self class conscience”. That angel nadia, with the motivating questions she raises, has shown you the right path.

    thus spoke Al-Haqid (haha stop quoting me ya man, im getting pretentious!! you remind me of a friend of mine)

  7. Dear Nadia, you’re absolutely right. It was this image that I was trying to convey in this post. I am the product of a specific social environment, understood here as a series of discursive practices (and not some simplistically ahistorical rigid ‘values’), and this product that I am will never allow me to appreciate the aesthetics of what nasrallah is a product of.

    This in a way also answers what Savonaroll is saying, and I disagree with him because what a specific ‘we’ call literature may not be what others understand as such.

    But but… and here I’m still trying to dig for authors who come from similar social backgrounds, who adopted a style that still resonate across social ‘classes’ (a term here taken in the widest sense).

    Can the judgment of the aesthetics of art be understood in the Bourdieusian solely through the criteria of ‘social difference’? What Bourdieu calls “La distinction”?

    What are the many little factors that makes me appreciate Pablo Neruda (see social background of Neruda) more than Jawad Nasrallah? Isn’t there also something intrinsic to their style, that of course relevant to their social narrative and structures, that I cannot appreciate outside me being part of another social narrative and structure?

    Haqid, I proclaim you the theoretician of the blogosphere. We will need your ideas to spread this ‘social deconstructivist’ approach, so stop acting modest and assume your rank.

    And Fadi, please don’t insult god on this website, we are all devout believers. Allahouma salli 3ala Muhammad…!

  8. By the way, you will see that Neruda has lived a completely different life than Nasrallah.

    I would be interested in reading stuff coming from groups from the Chiapas insurrection in Mexico, or the FARC in Columbia. If anything is found there that is.

    But mind you, that Nasrallah has very rarely in his poem integrated a “shi’a” narrative as articulated by the contemporary discursive practices from which his father but mostly other clerics are a product of (heirs of Muhammad Baqr el Sadr etc.) There is a particular conceptualization of resistance, fighting, etc. that i would not be surprised to find in other chants, anthems etc. across the globe, and from other periods of time.

    As I argued in the post, there is an economy (efficient investment here) of a particular rhetoric at the service of collective identification.

  9. HAHAHAHA…the poetry of Jawad Nasrallah…thats gonna keep me going for a while, thanks mr. dilettante bourgeois…oh man…lol…too easy!

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