Lebanese and Syrian intellectuals are issuing online condemnations in the wake of a call from elements of the Syrian opposition that Syrian poet and literary critic Adonis be killed.
Issued on one of the Syrian opposition’s Facebook pages, the call argued that the literary icon deserved to die on three counts. First, he is Alawite. Second he is also opposed to the Muslim religion. Third, he criticizes the opposition and rejects foreign military intervention in Syria.
The authors of the Facebook page adorned their call with a photo of Adonis, designed to resemble a wanted poster. It read: “Wanted for Justice on the charge of al-Shabih al-Taifi [sectarian thuggery].” The image appeared to be splattered with blood.
The Facebook statement identified Adonis as Ali Ahmad Said Esber, an Alawite born in 1930 in the village of Qassabin. He revolted against his name and the name of his father, the notice said, because in his view it belongs to Arab Islamic tradition, which contradicts modernity.
The Facebook page goes on to imply that Adonis – arguably the most influential living figure in Arabic poetry – took the name of a Phoenician demigod because he considers the Arabic language to be in decline.
A report in Thursday’s edition of Al-Safir newspaper suggested that the condemnations of the Facebook campaign arising from the Syrian and Lebanese intellectual circles have been uneven.
Among those speaking out has been Syrian film director Eva Dawood.
“The prophet of every age is always crucified at the hands of ignorance and backwardness,” Dawood wrote (in Arabic) on her Facebook page. “History has never witnessed a philosopher killing a man of God, but to this day intellectuals are being threatened and killed by people who have become religious. History will mention [Adonis’] name as an important figure in Syria. Where and how will you be remembered?”
“Perhaps Adonis is crying right now and saying, ‘F**k how right I was!’” Syrian film director Joud Said commented on his Facebook page.
Poet Adel Mahmoud observed that when a wild boar killed the mythical Adonis, his blood formed red roses, then wondered, “Who is the civil boar who would kill the poet Adonis?”
The Syrian opposition statement went on the say that though he claims to be secular, Adonis is having great difficulty shaking off his sectarianism, that he “is still looking deep inside for excuses to justify his inability to see the human in what is taking place [in the Syrian uprising]. There is no good in him or hope, for Adonis does not condemn the entry of Iranian and Russian funding and arms for [Syrian President] Bashar Assad, but instead talks about the opposition seeking help from the West.