Sunday, April 13, 2008

Poetry and TV in the Arab Gulf: a question of “geopoetics”

“The Millions Poet” has been shown on Abu Dhabi TV for the second year. Until the finals, the great poetry contest was a very successful operation but it could turn into a political and even an economical fiasco after the victory of the Qatari contestant.

In Saudi Arabia, calls for a boycott can be heard as a revenge for this unbearable conspiracy against the Saudi poet Nasir al-Fara’ina, the expected winner (a proof of this being, among others, that competitors were asked to improvise upon two verses composed by a poet from the Saudi rival Al Racheed family).

For some Saudi commentators, the Emirates are duplicating with “The Millions Poet” a game already experimented by Qatar with Al-Jazeera: putting the pressure on a powerfull neighbour using the asymmetric weapon of the media.

But there is a true lesson in those “geopoetics”: passion for poetry and games could be strong enough to shake the Saudi Kingdom born less than one century ago.

Apparently, the Saudis were beaten at the “Millions Poet” competition because they did not agree on one national competitor but split their votes between two poets according to tribal rivalries!

Follow that link to read the original and more detailed post in French.
And click on that link for a video giving an idea of "The Millions Poet" competition.

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