Même les ânes ont des remords
19th century England, the forth and best translation of the Bible in the Arabic language was made by an exiled Lebanese-Ottoman linguist who spoke six languages, changed his religion three times, married twice, had two nationalities, criticised religious and governmental institutions, lived and worked in seven different countries, loved and defended women, their beauty and their rights, wrote his best work in libertine Paris, and was buried in a christian cemetery surmounted by a muslim crescent. This is the story of Ahmad Fares al Shidyaq, the most controversial figure of the Arab renaissance.
A solo exhibition was to take place in the 500sqm space of Galerie Tanit in Beirut in September 2020. Parts of the film production was to start during the exhibition and the rest to follow. Only the Lebanese revolution, economic crisis, Covid, 4th of August double explosion and one more migration put things to a halt. But because the love of history, and the duty of memory bypasses all obstacles and versions, the film and exhibition are still in the making this time taking adaptive forms and shapes faithful to the new world order. An Immersive and virtual reality experience is in development.
Bibliography and Archives
In 2004 after months of research, I found the first 99 issues of al Jawa’eb newspaper published by Ahmad Fares al Shidyaq in Istanbul as of 1860. I found the archives in Ataturk Kitapligi Library in Taksim Square-Istanbul. Here are the scans. The integral collection of al Jawa’eb can be found at the Chicago Library on reels (2 of them), each costing 400USD. This price was given to me in 2004.
الساق على الساق
الجاسوس على القاموس
With the support of