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The Rule of Barbarism

Abdellatif Laâbi | Translated by André Naffis-Sahely

Finally available in English, Le Règne de barbarie by Abdellatif Laâbi is one of the most daring poetic visions of the second half of the twentieth century. First published in 1976 while Laâbi was serving an eight-year prison sentence (1972-1980) for 'crimes of opinion' against the Moroccan state, The Rule of Barbarism is a devastating flight through consciousness, acquainting the reader with the trials of a society caught between a colonial past and the tragic realities of a brutal dictatorship. Analysing the presence of 'barbarism' inherent in all of us, and yet deepening our capacity for compassion despite the allure of revenge, this stunning debut from a writer on the threshold of a groundbreaking career can be read as an epic of love, empathy, anger and despair – and is as resonant today as when composed nearly fifty years ago.

 

Excerpt:

monstrosities monstrositiesin the severity of the days of retributionI see nothing but killersthis brotherhood of killersthat bends the bowthe target hurledinto the crimehail barbarity of great famineshail tribal flintshail jungle of crudenesssomething in me reawakensonce again the miracle of the body—Abdellatif Laâbifrom 'Glory to Those Who Torture Us'

 

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RECENTLY PUBLISHED