Poet Sulaiman al-Issa laid to rest

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Amid wide participation of popular, official, cultural and artistic figures, body of great Syrian poet Sulaiman al-Issa was escorted to his final resting place in al-Sheikh Raslan cemetery in Damascus on Sunday.

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Al-Issa, who is one of the most prominent Arab contemporary poets who has dedicated much of his poetry to national and pan-Arab issues and to childhood which he regarded as the last refuge for the aspirations of the Arab nation, passed away Friday in Damascus at the age of 92.

In a statement during the funeral ceremony, Member of the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party, Abdul-Mu’ti Mashlab, described the late poet as “a great national figure”, hailing the human values of al-Issa who he said had spent his life in national and pan-Arab struggle.

“He was a friend to all.. a brother…an educator…a great poet and a master of the Arabic language with all its significations and dimensions,” said Ali al-Qayem, Deputy Minister of Culture.

“The word was his life and Arabism was his first and last aim,” he added.

For his part, Head of the Arab Writers’ Union, Hussein Jum’eh, said with al-Issa’s loss the homeland has lost one of its great figures, highlighting the late poet’s great interest in children out of his deep belief that the Arab nation can only overcome its crisis and go forward towards the future through its next generations.

Al-Issa’s son Maen, for his part, expressed his gratitude for all those who shared his grief and appreciation of the wide participation in the funeral ceremony, which he said reflects the great love the Syrians and the nation have for the late poet.

Sulaiman al Issa was born 1921 in the village of Noayriyeh near the city of Antakya in Liwa (Iskenderun). He received his first education in his village and later in Antakya and continued his education in secondary schools at Hama and Damascus.

He started writing poetry at the age of ten and his first collection of poetry described the misery and weariness of the peasants in his village. His nationalist poems contributed to the demonstrations and the national struggle of his fellow citizens of Iskenderun.

Al-Issa was one of the founders of the Arab Writers’ Union in Syria in 1969. He spoke French and English, in addition to Arabic and Turkish.

In October 1982 he received the Afro – Asian Writers’ Union Lotus Prize for poetry. In 1984, his poetical works for children received the price of the Arab League, Educational, cultural, and Scientific Organization.

In 1990, he was elected as a member of the Arab Language Academy (Damascus) and in 2000, he received The Babatin Prize for poetical creativity. In 2005, he was granted the Syrian Order of Merit-Excellent Degree.

Damascus, August 11, 2013 – (SANA-H. Said)

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