What’s Wrong With Our President? – Ahmed Fouad Negm

African Soulja

Negm - Pic cred: debalie.nlI’m elated to be reviewing this next poem here because it is my first Arabic translation and as I promised, one of the priorities of the blog this year is to explore more Arabic poetry as I find translations. This poem was written by the Egyptian poet, Ahmed Fouad Negm who died last month before he could be awarded the Prince Claus Award. Thanks to Walaa Quisay for the translation and the permission to use it. (You can check out more Arab-conscious literature from Arablit).

Negm was one of Egypt’s foremost poets often referred to as a poet of the people. Al Fagoumy (as he was known) was a satirical poet who spent jail time under Egypt’s former Pharaohs for the criticism his works packed. He was adored by the commoner for speaking protest in sarcastic words they could identify with. His early life was rascally and before…

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The Strong Woman Behind the Baoulé of Côte d’Ivoire

Global Grazers

Unfortunately, outsiders tend to imagine Africa as one big, homogenous continent. I am sure that, logically, most folks realize these perceptions must be gross generalizations. However, in the absence of more robust information, it’s difficult to imagine this rich continent in all of its diversity.

One of the generalizations I’ve heard over and over again is that Africa is a sexist continent where women are oppressed and disempowered. While this statement, sadly, reflects the reality of many women in Africa (and in other parts of the world), it has always struck me as a deeply flawed and unfortunate generalization.

Some very large West African ethnic groups, including the Akan of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, are actually matriarchal societies. I thought you might enjoy learning about one of the founding mothers of modern Côte d’Ivoire — a queen named Abla Pokou.

Queen Abla Pokou, Mother of the Baoulé People

The Baoulé…

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