Renowned Lebanese poet and
thinker Said Akl dies at 102

Akl argued that colloquial Lebanese should be regarded as an independent language.

Said Akl. (AFP PHOTO)

Lebanese poet and philosopher Said Akl has died at the age of 102, the National News Agency reported Friday.

An advocate of Lebanese nationalism and the designer of a Latin-based 37-letter Lebanese alphabet, Akl was born to a Maronite family in Zahle in 1912.

He dropped out of school at the age of 15 following the death of his father, and began working as a teacher and a journalist.

Akl continued his studies in theology, literature, and Islamic history, and taught and lectured at universities across Lebanon.

He would later attract controversy and criticism from proponents of pan-Arabism for supporting a theory of Lebanese ethnogenesis and emphasizing Lebanon’s Phoenician legacy.

Akl argued that colloquial Lebanese should be regarded as an independent language, as it had been equally influenced by Phoenician languages.

His Lebanese language alphabet was formed from the Latin alphabet with the addition of newly designed letters to suit Lebanese phonology.

Two of his poetry books, Yara and Khumasiyyat, were published using this alphabet, as was the tabloid Lebnaan.

He also wrote prose and poems in standard Arabic, some of which were put to song by the renowned Lebanese singer Feiruz. Akl also wrote a number of plays.

Despite his staunch advocacy of Lebanese nationalism and rejection of Pan-Arabism, Said Akl wrote lyrics for songs dedicated to Mecca (Ghannaytou Makka), Palestine (Zahrat al-Madaen), and Syria (Saailini ya Shaam).

During his early years, Akl was a supporter of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, but was later expelled by party founder Antoun Saadeh over ideological differences.



Top Lebanese political figures offered tributes for Akl today, emphasizing his literary brilliance.

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt wrote on his Twitter page: “A great writer and poet from Lebanon dies today. It is Said Akl… It seems this week is the week of the departure of the great.”

Future Movement leader Saad Hariri also tweeted about Akl’s death: “Lebanon and the Arabs lost today one of the poetry giants. Rest in peace, Said Akl.”

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea added: “Zahle and Lebanon lost a great philosopher who enriched the Lebanese philosophy with many new ideas; they lost a great poet who added to the Arab and international archive with the most beautiful poems.”

Said Akl. (AFP PHOTO)

Lebanon and the Arabs lost today one of the poetry giants.

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    ... just to secure their place in the political farm that is Lebanon today.

    November 28, 2014

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    The short biography above skips over some rather defining and critical pieces of information about Said Akl. Also, many of those paying tribute to him are hypocrites because they were his ideological and wartime enemies. Akl's staunch anti-Arabism stood in opposition to Jumblatt and Hariri's political legacies of Pan-Arabism and their rejection of a Lebanon-only nationalism espoused by the Christians in the 1970s and 1980s. Akl was a member of the Lebanese Front that fought the anti-Lebanese, pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, National Front of Kamal Jumblatt and the Sunni establishment that had staged an uprising against the Lebanese State institutions and army, backed by the Palestinian terrorist gangs, the renegade seditious Arab Army of Lebanon of Ahmad Al-Khatib and other assorted Nasserist, pro-Syrian, pro-everything-but-Lebanon gangs and armed groups. Perhaps, as the greats of that era are departing, we ought to remember that Said Akl was the theorist and intellectual father of the Guardians of the Cedars, the only Lebanese nationalist militia to have refrained from the wanton violence, the atrocities, the theft and gangsterism that characterized the Kataeb of Gemayel and the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea during the early years of the Palestinian-Lebanese war of 1975. And as a sad testament to where Lebanon has sunken since that war, since the Taef Agreement and the fall of Lebanon under all the Pan-Arab, Pan-Islamic, Pan-Syrian, Baathist, and Iranian ideologies - all inimical to an independent, sovereign, and free Lebanon, particularly today under Hezbollah's occupation - the leader of the Guardians of the Cedars, Mr. Etienne Sacre, a.k.a. Abu-Arz, remains today in exile because he is, like Akl, one of the greats because he was the only one to have held on to his principles and remained defiant against all these enemies of Lebanon, whereas Aoun and Geagea and Gemayel and other members of the political establishment ended up making a deal with Lebanon's enemies jus

    November 28, 2014