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Arabs, The - A Living History, Part 4 - The Power of the Word

(50 mins) The ancient Arabic language, transplanted, with the spread of Islam, from the Arabian Peninsula to Europe and the borders of China, remains the pivot of Arab culture today. Arabic, the language of the Quran, is the sacred language for all Muslims and has played a major role in shaping and maintaining Arab society. Poetry remains the forum for political debate, and major poets attract thousands to hear them recite their latest works. In the words of our writer, Khalida Said: “Poetry is the best witness to our crisis ­ it’s our creative response to these bad times.”

Paradoxically, war-torn Lebanon’s a meeting place of contemporary intellectual thought in the Arab world; still the publishing centre, still a refuge for poets, painters and novelists form troubled Arab lands; “the capital of the Arabs’ deepest wounds”.

We discover poets and the origins of poetry, actors and the origins of Arab theatre; but above all this is a film about how Arab writers respond to the challenges of the modern world.