Balqis and Nizar … a thorny love story that brought death to the brink of legend

Shawqi Bazie writes:

Middle East – 8 June 2022
Many, of course, are the Arab poets, old and modern, who adored women most passionately and devoted much of their poems and poetic works to her. However, none of these people, with the exception of Omar bin Abi Rabi’ah, made women his kiss, his inspiration, the center of his life and his poetry, as is the case with Nizar Qabbani. The name Nizar is indeed not mentioned at any event or gathering except in connection with the woman and coexistence with the cosmic femininity, from which it is said that the poet outside of her was dependent on something, just as the case of Muhyiddin bin Arabi several centuries before him.
If Qabbani somehow embodies the image of the poet Don Juan, who has multiple emotional relationships, and who is constantly searching for the different manifestations of the female absolute, then he denies this description in his article entitled “I and Don Juana” , emphasizing his attachment to the emotional and spiritual side of the relationship, considering that he does not treat the female body in the manner of butchers, and that he was never deceived by a woman, but rather that his relationships with women done by mutual consent and from the heart and intellectual harmony. As for the claim of some that the abundant poems that Nizar wrote on the subjects of flirtation and love are not necessarily based on concrete women and real emotional adventures, but on women summoned from the air of imagination, it is’ an assertion that, according to him, needs much revision and investigation, because it originated in a wealthy family that is open to culture and art, in addition to his inherited contempt for love and affection, which is “born with the children of the family is born like sugar in an apple, ”as he literally put it.
However, Nizar’s love for women does not mean that every love poem he has written in his life must necessarily be signed with another woman’s body or signature. An entire group or more can revolve around one woman brought together by the poet with a love affair or an unbridled state of passion … He says in one of his dialogues that the woman in his life never had a picture was that within a frame, but rather a woman of senses, flesh and blood, and that he never wrote about women Fantasies, with whom he had no romantic ties.
However, the author of “Painter with Words” warns against reading his texts literally. Not only because poetry is based on exaggeration and imagination, but also because the pronoun of the speaker in many of his poems does not necessarily refer to him, but to the character he assumes while writing. Qabbani’s insistence on explaining that his famous house “embroidered a woman’s skin with a cloak / and built pyramids of nipples”, however, does not necessarily reflect his personal experience, but rather is the eloquent expression of the pathological male sentiment of Shahryar’s character. not the poet’s tendency to hide behind his masks, or to disguise his horse models.
And if all these tenets have a certain fate or status, it does not cease to lead us to the conclusion that a bored, liberal and extreme poet like Nizar Qabbani will necessarily be the least human being in harmony with the institution of marriage, until his monotonous rhythm and his frustrating demands. How can we explain in this case that the poet married twice, who has been chased by many women all his life, and the knight of the dreams of hundreds of teenage girls?
Meet Bilqis Al-Rawi
Any careful reading of Nizar’s first marriage to the Damascene girl Zahra Okbiq in 1946, we must conclude that his love for Zahraa, who has a remarkable aesthetic appearance, was one of the factors that spurred him to such a step, but other “supporting” factors played a role. Among them is the relationship between the two parties, as the two families aim to consolidate the relationship between them through intermarriage, and among them are the inherited social traditions that see early marriage as the most effective way to prevent young driving men and women away from forbidden relationships. All these factors together, however, soon lost their effect on the thorny ground of marriage theater. Zahraa, who gave Nizar his daughter Hadbaa and his son Tawfiq, could not handle the steady rise in the poet’s fame, nor could she contain her devastating sense of jealousy over the many fans circling her attractive husband. . This is what the woman admits, many years after the divorce that took place in 1952, when she admitted in a person interview that it was her excessive jealousy for Nizar that led her relationship with him to its rapid collapse.
Nizar Qabbani had to wait ten years afterwards to meet Balqis Al-Rawi, who confirms most stories that she drew his attention to her brilliant presence, during a poetry evening for him, held in 1962 in Baghdad, and Qabbani realized at the time that the girl sitting across from him had been his long-awaited search for years.He did not hesitate to search for her identity and whereabouts, only to discover that she lived with her family in the Adhamiya area who looking out over the Tigris. Since the poet did not hesitate to release for her, he was surprised by her father’s firm rejection of this engagement, based on what he knows of the most famous poet in the Arab world, who never stops hunting and chasing women. seduced and playing with their feelings. . Nizar therefore had to drag the tails of disappointment behind him, to join the Syrian diplomatic corps in Spain, without the seven years he spent there enabling him to forget the “Iraqi giraffe” that he fell at first glance into his nets. What is remarkable is that this incident will be repeated in less complicated circumstances with Mahmoud Darwish, where Mahmoud falls on the young Syrian woman, Rana Qabbani, Nizar’s cousin, on a similar night in Washington and when he surprises her with a proposing to marry her, she answers him without hesitation with approval, then returns with him to Beirut, without her enlightened Damascene family expressing any objection to what happened.
Things could have stopped at this point if their fate had not been linked to two extremely stubborn parties eager to defend their legitimate love: Nizar, who doubled her clinging to Belqis, her father rejected him and his desire for revenge to take. “Betrayed” dignity, as well as his deep-rooted narcissism. The poet whom thousands of Arab women want to marry, and Bilqis identifies with her legendary back, as well as with transcendent femininity and clinging to her fate, in Mesopotamia. Thus the two stubborn parties began exchanging messages of passion and love, in the absence of the father, for seven “lean” years, even if the poet were invited to take part in the Marbad Poetry Festival in Iraq in 1969, he would his astonished audience chapters of his moving story with Balqis, including his verses:
Hello Iraq, I came to sing for you
Crying from the song
Eat love from the fragility of my heart
The remains were shared by the women
until he says:
I had a love princess here
Then my beautiful princess was lost
Where is a lovely face in Adhamiya?
If she sees him being jealous on the air?
As many of the participants were fully aware of what their beloved poet was saying, and what he was talking about, the then Iraqi president, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, heard echoes of that aborted relationship that the Damascene lover and his Iraqi lover had brought together. , with all his connotations and extreme national and political dimensions, he therefore sent both the Iraqi Minister of Youth Shafiq al-Kamali, and the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shadel Taqa, who are both prominent poets, to her father to addresses her under the personal name of Nizar Qabbani.
Since Father Jamil al-Rawi, the founder of the Iraqi Scout Movement, had no choice but to agree to the delegates’ proposal and leave at the request of the President, the marriage ceremony took place without delay. Thereafter, the couple returned to Beirut, in which Nizar chose to live, because it is the city that resembles his poems and, despite its difficult circumstances, accommodates its bold ideas and satisfying attachment to freedom.
Over the course of thirteen years of living together, the famous poet and his wife, who is sixteen years younger than he, shared the city’s splendor and its disastrous destruction, as much as they shared a difficult adventure that they only through effort. could overcome. a lot of effort, patience and hardship.
And if it is not surprising, accordingly, that many wonder about the real reasons that provided for the marriage of Balqis and Nizar, the means of success and continuity for thirteen consecutive years, before the catastrophic explosion of the Iraqi embassy overthrew him has, in contrast. to the catastrophic failure of the previous poet’s marriage, such questions are unbearable, On merit, definitive and certain answers. Not only because each human being is a world in its own right, and therefore there is no perfect symmetry between two relationships, nor because personal chemistry differs, homogeneity and dissonance, between one individual and another, but for ‘ another additional matter which Zahra failed to overcome, while Belqis received it with a rare generosity, And a tremendous capacity for patience and flexibility, and by that I mean: the destructive test of jealousy.
Although the woman who is proud of her dignity, as well as her beauty and her look at intelligence, was not immune to the sting of jealousy affecting women associated with famous men, as in the case of her husband Nizar, she has everything done in her power to curb and control that jealousy, and try not to fall into the same bump in which the poet’s first wife appeared.
Perhaps Qabbani meant this particular point in his famous poem “I testify that there is no woman but you,” which he wrote on their tenth wedding anniversary to Belqis, as indicated by some evidence, such as “I testify that no woman masters the game. except you and endured my folly for ten years as you endured and persevered in Crazy when you persevered. ”
But that successful marriage, which endured many obstacles, circumstances, and conditions, could not withstand the fatal blow of fate that wanted the exceptional woman, the mother of Omar and Zainab, to tragically die under the rubble of the gruesome explosion that hit the Iraqi embassy. in Beirut, where she has worked for years.
What is remarkable is that Belqis did not cease to amaze her grieving poet, in death as in life, when Yasser Arafat informed him at the time that his deceased wife had not hesitated in 1968, that is, one year before her marriage. , to come to Jordan. , to receive intensive training in fighting, and to position herself With some of her Iraqi companions at the disposal of the Palestinian Revolution. And as Nizar saw in poetry the rock that kept him from cracking and despairing, after the sounding departure of his son Tawfiq in the early seventies, he used the same rock again, entrusting all his anger against the criminal killers, and grief over the betrayed woman, in his poem “Bilqis.” With the epic soul and psalm-like tone, and a voice from its crushed depths:
Balqis, the small details kill me
In our relationship
Minutes and seconds strike me
Each pin has a story
And each of your contracts has two stories
Even your golden haircuts
made me angry as usual
With the rain of tenderness
Bilqis o Bilqis
If you know what the pain of the place is
In every corner you float like a sparrow,
And precious as a jungle of Belsan


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