Abdellatif Laâbi

(1942 / Fes)

Biography of Abdellatif Laâbi

Abdellatif Laâbi poet

Abdellatif Laâbi is a Moroccan poet, born in 1942 in Fes, Morocco.
Laâbi, then teaching French, founded with other poets the artistic journal Souffles, an important literary review in 1966. It was considered as a meeting point of some poets who felt the emergency of a poetic stand and revival, but which, very quickly, crystallized all Moroccan creative energies: painters, film-makers, men of theatre, researchers and thinkers. It was banned in 1972, but throughout its short life, it opened up to cultures from other countries of the Maghreb and those of the Third World.
Abdellatif Laâbi was imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to ten years in prison for "crimes of opinion" (for his political beliefs and his writings) and served a sentence from 1972-1980. He was, in 1985, forced into exile in France.
"Everything which the Arab reality offers that is generous, open and creative is crushed by regimes whose only anxiety is to perpetuate their own power and self-serving interest. And what is often worse is to see that the West remains insensitive to the daily tragedy while at the same time accommodating, not to say supporting, the ruling classes who strangle the free will and aspirations of their people.

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In Vain I Migrate

I migrate in vain
In every city I drink the same coffee
and resign myself to the waiter's impassive face
The laughter of nearby tables
disturbs the evening's music
A woman walks by for the last time
In vain I migrate
ensuring my own alienation
I find the same crescent moon in every sky

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