Said Akl (سعيد عقل, also transilterated Said Aql and Saeed Akl (born on July 4, 1912) is a poet, writer, playwright, thinker and ideologue. He is considered one of the most important modern Lebanese poets. He is also a staunch advocate of Lebanese identity and nationalism and the Lebanese language, designing a Latin-based Lebanese alphabet made up of 37 letters.
Akl was born to a Maronite Catholic family in the city of Zahle, Lebanon. After losing his father at the age of 15, he had to drop out of school and later worked as a teacher and then journalist. He then studied theology, literature and Islamic history, becoming a university instructor and subsequently lecturing in many Lebanese universities and policy institutes.
During his early years, S. Akl was an adherent of the Syrian Social Nationalist party led by Antun Saadeh, eventually being expelled by Saadeh due to irreconcilable ideological disputes.
Akl adopted a powerful doctrine of the authentic millennial character of Lebanon resonating with an exalted sense of Lebanese dignity. His admiration to the Lebanese history and culture was marked by strong enmity towards the Arab language and culture according to Aharon Amir. This view is crystallized by Akl once stating “I would cut off my right hand just not to be an Arab". In 1968 he stated that literary Arabic would vanish from Lebanon.
For Akl Lebanon was the cradle of culture and the inheritor of the Oriental civilization, well before the arrival of the Arabs on the historical stage. He emphasized the Phoenician legacy of the Lebanese people.
He is known for his radical Lebanese Nationalistic sentiments; in 1972, he helped to found the “Lebanese Renewal Party” which was proposed by May Murr, the renowned historian of ancient Lebanon. This party was a non-sectarian party that adhered to Lebanese Nationalism. During the Lebanese Civil War, Akl served as the spiritual leader of the radical Lebanese Nationalist movement Guardians of the Cedars, which was led by Etienne Saqr.
Akl is an ideologue for promotion of the Lebanese language as independent of Arabic language. Although acknowledging the influence of Arabic, he argued that Lebanese language was equally if not more influenced by Phoenician languages as well as Aramaic language and Syriac languages and promoted the use of the Lebanese dialect written in a modified Latin alphabet, rather than the Arabic one.
His designed alphabet for the Lebanese language used the Latin alphabet in addition to a few newly designed letters and some accented Latin letters to suit the Lebanese phonology. The proposed Lebanese alphabet designed by Akl contained 36 letters.
He published the tabloid newspaper Lubnaan using Lebanese dialect. Lubnaan was published in two versions, one using the traditional Arabic alphabet, the other his proposed Latin alphabet.
In a magazine he published during the '1970s he offered a prize in each issue to whoever authored the best essay in Lebanese Arabic. Since then the Said Akl awards had been granted to many Lebanese intellectuals and artists.
Akl has numerous writings ranging from theatrical plays, epics, poetry and song lyrics. His first published work was released in 1935, a theatrical play written in Arabic. His other works are written in either Lebanese Arabic, literary Arabic, or French. He is also known for wring lyrics of many songs, including "Zahrat al Madaen" sung by Fairuz.
- 1935: Bint Yifta' (theater)
- 1937: Al Majdaliyyah (Epic)
- 1944: Qadmos (theatrer)
- 1950: Rindalah
- 1954: Mushkilat al Nukhba
- 1960: Ajmal minki...? La!
- 1960: Lubnaan in haka
- 1961: Ka's el Khamr
- 1961: Yara (using his designed Lebanese alphabet)
- 1961: Ajraas al Yasmeen
- 1972: Kitab al Ward
- 1979: Qasaed min Daftari
- 1974: Kama al A'mida
- 1978: Khumasiyyat (using his designed Lebanese alphabet)
In 1981 he also published poems in French Language.
This article incorporates text from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.