Journal set to publish bin Laden's poetry

wings · 2 · 1314

wings

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 71011
    • Gender:Female
  • Vicky Papaprodromou
Journal set to publish bin Laden's poetry

Osama bin Laden is one of the world's most wanted men but he is now also about to be a published poet.

His poems were discovered on audio cassettes in his Afghanistan compound after the 2001 attacks, and an American academic who has studied the work says the Al Qaeda leader is a skilled wordsmith.

Some of his work is due to be published next week in the Language and Communications Journal.

Professor Flagg Miller of the University of California says bin Laden has a vast repertoire of poems.

"There was a variety of occasions he delivered this poetry ... so they were sometimes given to large audiences when he was recruiting for jihad in Afghanistan and afterwards, and other times they are delivered at weddings, and far more personal contexts," he said.

Professor Miller says the September 11 mastermind was regarded as a skilled poet; his work was taped and passed around like pop songs.

In an excerpt of a speech given in 1996 on the heights of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, as he was taking on the United States in first declaration of war against the US, he starts the poem: "A youth who plunges into the smoke of war, smiling. He hunches forth, staining the blades of lances red. May God not let my eye stray from the most eminent humans, should they fall."

More than 1,500 audio cassette tapes were reportedly taken in 2001 from bin Laden's compound in Afghanistan. They feature scholars and Al Qaeda chiefs as well as bin Laden himself.

And Professor Miller thinks he is probably still writing poetry wherever he may be.

"It's just part of tribal culture, wherever he is he's very likely in touch with tribesmen who respect kind of these oral traditions, and respect a sense of someone who can use his knowledge of history, of language to connect with the common man," he said.

"Now, if he's in Afghanistan or Pakistan, the languages are not going to be Arabic, at least not among the wider populace, so one could speculate how widely his message is getting out."

Dr Nijmeh Hajjar from the University of Sydney is not surprised that bin Laden might have been writing poetry.

"Poetry is the first artistic expression in Arabic culture, and in Arabic language," he said.

"So we can say that actually Arabic poetry is the first Arabic art, so the word is very important in Arabic culture, and it is expected actually that it is natural that any Arab who knows the language well and who knows how to use the language to be a poet."

The tapes are now at Yale University, where they are being cleaned and digitised, but some unnamed academics are reported to be unimpressed that the tapes are being published at all, comparing them to violent videos regarded too obscene to broadcast.

Adapted from a report by Lisa Millar for The World Today, September 23.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/23/2372261.htm?section=entertainment


wings

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 71011
    • Gender:Female
  • Vicky Papaprodromou
Analysing Bin Laden's jihadi poetry


The tapes show Osama Bin Laden to be
 'an entertainer with an agenda'


By Michael Hirst
BBC News

To many people Osama Bin Laden is the ultimate barbarian, to others an elusive Muslim warrior. Most know him simply as the world's most wanted man.

Few would imagine him as a published poet or wedding raconteur.

But now a host of previously unpublished speeches made by the man accused of planning the 9/11 attacks on the US are to be made public.

They include sermons and readings delivered at a wide range of events from weddings to jihadi recruitment sessions.

The material was discovered on a dozen of 1,500 cassettes found in al-Qaeda's headquarters in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which was evacuated during the US-led invasion in 2001.

Encompassing recordings from the late 1960s until the year 2000, the collection includes hundreds of sermons by Islamic scholars, political speeches by al-Qaeda's top strategists and even footage of live battles - as well as recordings of the group's reclusive leader.

According to one US linguistics expert, Flagg Miller, who has spent five years analysing the material, the tapes provide an audio library of Bin Laden's development as an orator.

The assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Davis said the recordings also offer "unprecedented insight" into debates within Bin Laden's circle in the years leading up to the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.

...

Full article at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7630934.stm



 

Search Tools