Balqis and Nizar … a poignant love story that death brought to the edge of legend

Shawqi Bazie writes:

Middle East – June 8, 2022
Of course, there are many Arab poets, ancient and modern, who adored women with passion, devoting many of their poems and poetic works to her. However, none of these people, with the exception of Umar bin Abi Rabi’ah, made the woman his kiss, his inspiration, the center of his life and his poetry, as is the case with Nizar Kabbani. Indeed, the name Nizar is hardly mentioned in any case or gathering, except in connection with woman and coexistence with cosmic femininity, from which it was said that the poet outside her depended on something, like the case of Muhyiddin bin Arabi some. centuries before him.
If Qabbani embodies, in one way or another, the image of the poet Don Zhuan, who has many emotional relationships and who constantly seeks the various manifestations of the female absolute, then in his article entitled “I and Don Juana” he denies. this description, emphasizing his connection to the emotional and spiritual side of the relationship, given that he does not deal with the female body in the manner of a butcher and that he was never deceived by a woman, but rather that his relationship with women was it is done with mutual consent and with heart and intellectual harmony. As for the claim of some that the abundant poems that Nizar has written on the themes of flirtation and love are not necessarily based on concrete women and true emotional adventures, but on women summoned from the sky of imagination, it is a claim that. , according to him, needs a lot of review and consideration, because it originates in a rich family, open to culture and art, in addition to the inherited contempt for love and affection, which “are born with children The family as sugar is born in an apple, ”he said literally.
However, Nizar’s love for women does not mean that every love poem he wrote in his life must necessarily be signed with another woman’s body or another signature. A whole group or more can revolve around a woman that the poet has united with a love affair or an unbridled state of passion … He says in one of his dialogues that the woman in his life was never a picture hung within a frame, but rather a woman with senses, flesh, and blood, and that he never wrote about Fantasy women, with whom he had no romantic connection.
However, the author of “Word Painting” warns that his texts should not be read literally. Not only because poetry is based on exaggeration and imagination, but also because the speaker’s pronoun in many of his poems does not necessarily refer to him, but to the character he takes on in writing. However, Qabbani’s insistence on explaining that his famous house “embroidered a woman’s skin with a mantle / and built pyramids with nipples” does not necessarily reflect his personal experience, but is an eloquent expression of the masculine pathological feeling of Shahryar’s character. . not to obscure the poet’s tendency to hide behind his masks or his horse models.
And if all these premises have a certain fate or status, they do not cease to lead us to the conclusion that an upset, free-spirited and extreme poet like Nizar Qabbani will inevitably be the smallest human being in harmony with the marital institution, was adapted. to his monotonous pace and his disappointing demands. How can it be explained in this case that the poet got married twice, who throughout his life has been followed by many women, and the knight of dreams of hundreds of teenage girls?
Meeting with Bilqis El-Rawi
Any careful reading of Nizar’s first marriage to Damascus girl Zahra Okbiiq in 1946 should lead us to conclude that his love for Zahraan, which has an extraordinary aesthetic luster, was one of the factors that pushed him to such a step, but other “supporting” factors played a role, in that between them is the kinship 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 men and women from going after forbidden relationships. All these factors, however, soon lost their effects on the sharp ground of the marital theater. Zahraa, who gave Nizar his daughter Hadbaa and his son Tawfik, could not cope with the poet’s continued rise in fame, nor could she curb her destructive sense of jealousy towards the numerous fans circulating around her husband handsome. This is what his wife admits, many years after the divorce that took place in 1952, when in a press interview she admitted that her excessive jealousy for Nizar was what led her relationship with him to the rapid collapse.
Nizar Qabbani had to wait ten years after that to meet Balqis Al-Rawi, which most accounts confirm that she drew attention to her brilliant presence, during a poetic evening for her, which was held in Baghdad in 1962, and Qabbani realized at the time when the girl sitting in front of him was his long-awaited search for years.He did not hesitate to search for her identity and residence, only to discover that she lives with her family in the Adhamiya area overlooking the Tigris. As the poet did not hesitate to propose to her, he was surprised by his father’s firm refusal for this engagement, based on what he knows about the most famous poet in the Arab world, who never stops hunting and seduction of women and playing with their feelings. . Thus, Nizar had to pull back the tails of disappointment, to join the Syrian diplomatic corps in Spain, without the seven years he spent there, not allowing him to forget the “Iraqi giraffe” that fell in its nets in sight first. What stands out is that this incident will be repeated in less complicated circumstances with Mahmoud Darwish, where on a similar evening in Washington, Mahmoud’s eyes fall on the young Syrian woman, Rana Qabbani, Nizar’s granddaughter and when he surprises him with a proposal for him. marries him, she responds with approval without hesitation, then returns with him to Beirut, without expressing any objection from her enlightened Damascus family to what had happened.
Things could have stopped at this point, if their fate had not been tied to two extremely stubborn pairs, who were inclined to defend their legitimate love: Nizar, who doubled his capture after Belqis, the father her rejected him and his desire for revenge for her. the “betrayed” dignity as well as his deeply suffered narcissism. Thus, the two stubborn parties began to exchange messages of passion and love, in the absence of the father, for seven “lean” years, even if the poet were invited to attend the Marbad Poetry Festival in Iraq in 1969, he would say Chapters surprised the audience of his touching story with Balqis, including his verses:
Hello Iraq, I came to sing to you
Part of the singing is crying
Eat love from the fragility of my heart
The bones were separated from the women
while he says:
I had a love princess here
Then my beautiful princess lost
Where is a sweet face in Adhamiya?
If she saw him jealous of heaven?
Since many in attendance were fully aware of what their beloved poet was saying and who he was talking about, then-Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr heard the echo of that broken relationship that united the Damascus boyfriend and his Iraqi boyfriend. , with all the extreme national and political connotations and dimensions, so he sent to her father the Iraqi Minister of Youth Shafiq al-Kamali and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shadel Taqa, who are both distinguished poets, address her with the personal name of Nizar Qabbani.
Since Father Jamil al-Rawi, the founder of the Scout Movement in Iraq, had no choice but to accept the delegates’ proposal and come down at the President’s request, the wedding ceremony took place without delay. After that, the couple returned to Beirut, where Nizar chose to live, because it is the city that resembles his poems and, despite the difficult circumstances, adapts to his bold ideas and satisfying connection to freedom.
During the thirteen years of their life together, the famous poet and his wife, sixteen years younger than him, shared the splendor of the city and its catastrophic destruction, so much so that they shared a difficult adventure that they managed to overcome only by trying. much toil, patience and toil.
And if it is not surprising, given the circumstances, that many wonder about the current reasons that predicted the marriage of Balqis and Nizar, the means of success and continuity for thirteen consecutive years, before the catastrophic explosion of the Iraqi embassy toppled it , otherwise. for the catastrophic failure of the marriage of the former poet, such questions are intolerable, For the merits, the final and sure answers. Not only because every human being is a separate world, and therefore there is no perfect symmetry between the two relationships, nor because personal chemistry differs, homogeneity and dissonance, between one individual and another, but for another additional issue that Zahra failed to overcome it, while Belqis received it with a rare generosity, And an extraordinary capacity of patience and flexibility, and by this I mean: the destructive test of jealousy.
Although the woman who is proud of her dignity, as well as her beauty and intelligence, was not immune to the sting of jealousy that touches women associated with famous men, as is the case of her husband Nizar, she did everything in her power to curb that jealousy and keep it under control, making every effort not to fall into the same lump where the poet’s first wife occurred.
Qabbani may have thought of this particular point in his famous poem “I testify that there is no woman but you”, which he wrote to Belqis on their tenth wedding anniversary, as shown by some evidence, as “I testify that no “The woman has not mastered the game except you and has endured my folly for ten years, just as you endured and persevered in Crazy as you have endured.”
But that successful marriage, which faced many obstacles, circumstances and conditions, could not resist the fatal blow of fate that wanted the extraordinary woman, the mother of Omar and Zaynab, to die tragically under the rubble of the terrible explosion that struck the Iraqi embassy. in Beirut, where he worked for years.
What is impressive is that Belqis did not cease to amaze her late poet, both in death and in life, as Yaser Arafat informed her at the time that his late wife did not hesitate to come to Jordan in 1968, so a year before her marriage. , to receive intensive combat training and to position itself with some of its Iraqi companions at the disposal of the Palestinian revolution. And while Nizar saw in poetry the rock that held him from cracking and despair, after the echo of his son Teufik left in the early seventies, he used the same rock again, entrusting all his anger to the criminal killers and grief for the betrayed. the woman, his poem “Bilqis.” With the epic spirit and tone of the psalm and a voice from its crushed depths:
Balqis are killing me small details
In our relationship
Minutes and seconds whip me
Every little needle has a story
And each of your contracts has two stories
Even your golden hair clips
upset me as usual
With the rain of tenderness
Bilqis oh Bilqis
If you know what country pain is
Hanging like a sparrow in every corner,
And adorable as a Belsan jungle


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