I was pleased to participate and give a speech at the ceremony of conferring the Honorary Doctorate to H.E Dr. Mana Saeed Al Otaiba by Tor Vergata University in Rome, for his positions, writings and his supportive march for peace, dialogue of civilizations and religions, accepting the others and coexistence among different peoples, as well as his poetry and intellectual books that talk about a human tendency interacting with the pain and hopes of human beings at all times and everywhere.
Al Otaiba also had won two consecutive Mediterranean Awards in Peacemakers category. It is the most prestigious award conferred by the Mediterranean Foundation. It is also one of the most important international awards to reward the most prestigious initiatives aimed at recognizing the benefits of those who have contributed to a constructive dialogue among cultures. This award is given to those who express a firm commitment to the defense of basic human rights and peace and contribute through their ongoing efforts to serving the field of culture. Moreover, it honors and rewards those who work day and night to make people aware of the need to live together, accept the others, discard intolerance and contribute to building a single community house.
Al Otaiba is an economic expert, and a wise politician. He follows-up the developments of the nation, with the spirit of a poet, monitors its changes wisely, believes in the need to create a single human family and a joint community house . He addresses its issues through the philosophy of poetry and the wisdom of history.
He is the minister and the adviser; he is also an Emirati poet with wealth of knowledge and culture. His collections of poems exceeded 100 poetry collection. He is one of the major Arab figures who blend together political work and creativity.
Massimo Papa, one of the professors at Tor Vergata University, carefully, explained the reasons that motivated some of the university’s professors to grant the Honorary Doctorate to Al Otaiba- he enjoys exceptional poetic features and rare expressive talents.
One of the habits of the Arabs during the Jahiliyyah period was to gather at the evening around a poet to listen to the conditions and colors of their life via poetry. This pushes us to contemplate the social and expressive aspects of Arabic poetry. At that period, poets embodied the collective memory of the tribe. Being the spokesmen for the tribe, these poet were responsible for expressing pride in the victories of its heroes, denouncing its origins and genealogies, satirizing its enemies in the epics, and mourning its dead people.
Historically, poetry represented, and still represents in Arab region, the noblest literary expressions, in which all eras, the memory of the past are mixed with the life of the present and the prediction for the future. Hence, readers could sense the strength of the people and the power of the individual at the same time. These same values are embodied in the writings of Al Otaiba.
In his well known book ‘El Omdah Fe Sena’et Al She’ar W Naqdoh’ (Mayor in manufacturing the poetry and criticizing it) , Ibn Rashiq al-Qayrawani highlighted that poetry narrates the achievements of the Arabs, their heroes and their descendants. It also glorifies high morals such as generosity, courage and hospitality. Al Otaiba said that tribes were celebrating new poets, who preserve the heritage and praise its glories.
Al Otaiba was able to write poems that immortalized values and feelings of human beings, in more than 115 poetry collections. The ‘Muqaddimah’ of Ibn Khaldun or Ibn Khaldun’s Prolegomena book notes that for the Arabs, poetry is a treasure of history, championships and science, as well as the main reference to knowledge and wisdom, stressing that it clearly represents the concept of Arab virility.
As noted by the Italian Arabist and orientalist Francisco Gabrieli: The Arabic poetry represents the diaries of this people, so the Arabs used it as a main source to know values, traditions and customs.
A poet is the one who gives the voice to the people, a poet is the one who checks and examines new meanings, he explores the ties that cannot be discovered by others.
Talent, and creativity, in addition to the great knowledge and wisdom that Al Otaiba enjoys, thanks to his varied background and qualifications that give a person a holistic view.
The poetry, full of feelings and emotions, catches minutes of life, uncovers them for all people. Poetry has maintained its status under all circumstances. From the desert that is hard to stay in, to the contemporary squares, poets expresses their voice, feeling and community.
All this pushes us to think about the popularity of poetry in the Arab world, verses of hopes, verses of love and spirituality, verses that resist the absolute exploitation of the human, verses of commitment representing the voice of the people, verses of palaces and verses of desert, verses that witness the existence and monitor ages; it is a burning fire.
People listen, at all times and everywhere, to their spokesman: the poet repeatedly, the major contemporary Arab poets agreed that poetry itself will not change the world but through it we can recognize the right way to do so, and involve everyone in a fairer world.