Poetry News

Poetry News from the WOT: Concern Over Poet Kidnapped by Taliban, and Bin Laden the Poetry Scholar?

By Harriet Staff

First up, according to this post from Central Asia Online:

The Pashto Literary Society has condemned Taliban militants for kidnapping the young poet Nisar Khan from Peshawar, and vowed to continue spreading a message of peace while entertaining the public.

Nisar was kidnapped at a wedding party in Matai April 24, society secretary Dr. Ayaz Khan said. Nisar, still in captivity, is a comic poet who entertained his readers, Khan said.

"We are concerned about his well-being,” Khan said. “He also was kidnapped last year but was released after a few days. This time, we fear for his life.”

And then... According to this post from the NY Daily News:

On Thursday, federal officials released some of the documents found in the Abbottabad compound where Osama Bin Laden was found and killed by Navy SEALs a year ago. In one of these, a letter by Bin Laden (possibly co-written with an associate known as "Atiyya") about Al Qaeda's media strategy, he writes, "the satellite channels today are worse than the satiric poets (shu`ara’ al-hija’) of the pre-Islamic era."

What is hija poetry? Surprisingly, the report goes on to elucidate this out-of-place literary reference:

"The poetic genre of hija’ to which he is referring had a powerful resonance in that distant era, and Arabs today understand too well the connotations it imparts. In the words of [editor of "The Encyclopedia of Islam" Charles] Pellat, the purpose of hija’ 'was to stigmatize the failings that were the antithesis of the qualities glorified.'"

In essence, it is vulgar poetry intended to call out one's enemy, a practice that Bin Laden seems to have found beneath his own jihadist aspirations.

More after the jump.

Originally Published: May 8th, 2012