Même les ânes ont des remords
A solo exhibition was to take place in the 500 sqm 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 collapse, Covid19, 4th of August double explosion, and one more migration, put things to a halt. But because the love of history, and 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.
The script is written by yours truly and by Jean François Peyret
Even Donkeys Have Remorse is inspired by the life and writings of the controversial Ahmad Fares al Shidyaq alongside his delightfully wordy wife Mary al Saouly.
19th century, Cambridge University, Shidyaq translates into Arabic the forth and best linguistic publication of the Bible. This exiled Lebanese-Ottoman author spoke six languages, changed religions three times, married twice, had two nationalities, lived and worked in seven different countries, and criticised religious and governmental institutions. Illuminated by his wife Mary al Saouly, he defended women, their beauty and their rights. Shidyaq wrote his masterpiece, Leg Over Leg, after Mary left him. He is now buried in a religiously mixed cemetery in a christian mausoleum surmounted by a muslim crescent.
Bibliography and Archives
In 2004 after months of research, I found, in Ataturk Kitapligi Library in Taksim Square-Istanbul, the first 99 issues of al Jawa’eb. The newspaper published by Ahmad Fares al Shidyaq in Istanbul starting 1860. Here are the scans. Other disparate issues can be found at the Oriental Library and the American University Library in Beirut. 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
Book Cover for Rana Issa’s book, still from exhibit