Lamis Saidi: "Internet has brought a revolution to Arabic literature"

March 2008 -

For many young Arabic writers, the Internet is a major medium that allows their voices to be heard. Algerian poet Lamis Saidi regularly publishes in on-line Arabic forums. "The best part is that readers can directly comment on my poems," she enthusiastically explains. "There are few literary magazines in the Arabic world and many talented writers have difficulty getting their work published. A small group of people controls and manipulates the world of publishing who do not always care about culture. Thus the Internet has brought a revolution to Arabic literature. As poets, we can reach a much broader audience."


Photo: Serge Ligtenberg

Saidi (26) grew up in an intellectual environment in Algiers, attending Libyan schools where French and English were spoken. "My classmates came from more than twenty different countries. As a result, I have friends all over the world and was introduced to the great European poets, such as Keats. He taught me to beautifully and elegantly formulate my innermost feelings."

Poetry counterbalances the misery that surrounds Saidi. "As an Algerian, I was confronted with terrorism back when I was nine. It makes you think about life and death. Although the violence has diminished, there is still something in the air. That is the difference with Europe. People there are afraid of what might be coming. In my country, in the third world, we are afraid of reality, of things that happen every day. Luckily I discovered poetry. Although it cannot change reality, poetry does uncover the hidden strength that all of us have. Poetry and art help us to discover ourselves, to shape our lives and to build a bridge to other worlds."

Lamis Saidi performed during Winternachten 2008.