With his unusual status updates on Facebook about the war in Syria, Aboud Saeed became instantly famous. His collected reports form a unique account of war. He will pay his first visit to Belgium, where he will talk at Passa Porta about his book The Smartest Guy on Facebook and his new life in Europe. Interview: Waseem Ibraheem.
Like & share
Spring 2011. The Syrian smith and welder Aboud Saeed (b. 1983) starts writing on his Facebook page about life in a time of war. His almost daily status updates range from ironic, angry and confrontational to comic, absurd and anarchistic. They always cut to the chase, and Saeed’s number of followers shoots up rapidly.
Less than a year later, the Lebanese newspaper Annahar praises Saeed’s prose bytes full of dark humour to the skies: ‘Going on Facebook without getting to know Aboud Saeed is like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.’ Saeed’s text flashes about freedom, air raids, his mother, sex and war abound in dark humour, triggering comparisons with the work of Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller.
Arabic online, German and English on paper
In November 2013, Aboud Saeed was invited by Kunstverein München. Germany granted him political asylum and since then he has lived in Berlin. That same year the publishing house mikrotext decided to translate a selection of Saeed’s much-discussed Facebook reports from Arabic into English and German, publishing them respectively as The Smartest Guy on Facebook and Der klügste Mensch im Facebook.
In 2015 Saeed published his second book, Lebensgroße Newsticker. Szenen aus der Erinnerung (mikrotext & Spector Books, Berlin, trans. Sandra Hetzl). In September 2018 Saeed was a guest at the Berlin Literaturfestival.
Wealth from the Middle East
That Aboud Saeed will visit Brussels is the result of a collaboration between Passa Porta and Lagrange Points, a new Brussels-based initiative that aims to highlight the tremendous diversity of Arabic culture and literature.
Lagrange Points is a collective of students, teachers, musicians, writers and cultural activists from the Middle East and Europe. The group wants to open in the near future the first Arabic bookshop and café in Brussels. Passa Porta and Passa Porta Bookshop support Lagrange Points with advice and through the organization of joint programmes.
ORG. Passa Porta, Lagrange Points