Arar

Arar

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Mustafa Wahbi Al-Tal, better known as Arar (born May 25, 1897 - died 1949), was a Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian poet, lawyer, teacher, judge, political agitator and philosopher.

Arar was a pioneer of Jordanian patriotism and a spokesman for the nation's ideals and aspirations. He was known for his nationalist and revolutionary oeuvre and his activism in accordance to it. Rebellious patriotism in Arar's poetry is inextricably tied to his never-ending Don Juanism. As a lover, obsessed by the nostalgia for places that had once quenched his thirst for love, Arar created a quite new type of metaphors and terms of reference to the beloved and to her place in the poet's dream-world. Place-related identity terms referring to the poet's beloved or her close surroundings. And that helped establish a unique Jordanian literary tradition in the Arabic language.

Life history


Arar was born Mustafa Salih Mustafa Yousof Al-Tull in the city of Irbid
Irbid
Irbid , known in ancient times as Arabella or Arbela , is the capital and largest city of the Irbid Governorate. It also has the second largest metropolitan population in Jordan after Amman, with a population of around 660,000, and is located about 70 km north of Amman on the northern ridge of...

, North Jordan. A second name, "Wahbi," was added to his birth name per the Western tradition imported via the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Turks. Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 was at that time a part of the Ottoman empire referred to as Bilad Al-Sham
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

.

He finished his elementary school education in Irbid in 1911. In 1912, Arar registered in a school in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 called the Anbur School, which was named after a Damascan Jew
History of the Jews in Syria
Syrian Jews derive their origin from two groups: those who inhabited Syria from early times and the Sephardim who fled to Syria after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain . There were large communities in Aleppo, Damascus, and Qamishli for centuries. In the early twentieth century a large...

 who founded it. Arar’s father was an alumnus
Alumnus
An alumnus , according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is "a graduate of a school, college, or university." An alumnus can also be a former member, employee, contributor or inmate as well as a former student. In addition, an alumna is "a female graduate or former student of a school, college,...

 school. Before the end of the school year, however, he was exiled with some other Jordanian students to Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, by the Ottoman authorities. He returned to Anbur School from exile in 1913 or 1914, and then visited Irbid during 1915. In 1917, while in tenth grade, he visited Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 for six months, which was during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. During this time he also got married.

In 1917 or 1918, he was exiled again to Beirut, for political activism. From 1919 to 1920, he participated in a demonstration and gets expelled once again from Anbur School to Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

, Syria. He earned his high school diploma
High school diploma
A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED.-Past diploma styles:...

 from the Madrasat Tajheez Halab in Aleppo.

Following completion of his high-school education, he found employment as a teacher of Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

 in Karak
Al Karak
Karak is a city in Jordan that is known for the famous crusader castle Kerak. The castle is one of the three largest castles in the region, the other two being in Syria...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, in 1922. He was, however, fired from his job in 1923 and was first exiled to Ma'an
Ma'an
Ma'an is a town in southern Jordan 218 km away from the capital Amman. It is the capital of Ma'an Governorate. Ma'an has a population of around 50,000. The city had a population of 22,989 in the 1992 census and is estimated as being about 50,000 as of 2007 according to the Ma'an Municipality...

, then Aqaba
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

, and then Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

. On his return from exile in 1924 he began his long-lasting relationship with the Gypsy community in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

.

Arar was appointed a local governor to the Showbuk/Wadi Moosa district in 1929. In 1930, he earned a law degree and license to practice as a lawyer. In spring of 1931 he was exiled to Aqaba for his political dissent and calling for political changes. In 1939 he became the District Attorney
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

 of Salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

, Jordan.

In 1941, Arar spent ninety days in prison for his political views. By this time he had become a heavy drinker and his alcoholism became apparent. In 1943, he represented the Fellah
Fellah
Fellah , also alternatively known as Fallah is a peasant, farmer or agricultural laborer in the Middle East and North Africa...

een (i.e., peasantry) in court during a bloody feud
Feud
A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

with the Zou’bi tribe in Ramtha.

Arar died in 1949. His hometown of Irbid holds an annual poetry festival and Jordan's most prestigious literary award is named after him.

External links