Locations Syria

Revolution Led By A Woman


Revolution Led by a Woman,
poem by Nizar Qabbani
Performed by Abir Bouguerra

This poem by Nizar Qabbani (1923­–1998) is from his 1992 collection I’m One Man and You are a Tribe of Woman. Like much of Qabbani’s work it was political, focusing on themes of feminism, emancipation, and the power of women to affect change. Bouguerra’s performance underlines the opportunities women have today to contribute directly to social commentary.  


One of the earliest and most dynamic forms of expression across the Middle East and North Africa is the oral recitation of poetry. The exhibition From Visionaries to Vloggers: media revolutions in the Middle East (spring 2020) introduces audiences to a range of poets, from seventh century mu’allaqa poets to more recent famed socially active poets including Nizar Qabbani (Syria), Bayram Al Tunisi (Egypt), and Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish.  

The exhibition’s discussions consider how poetry and performance can fulfil social functions, such as sharing in the beauty of language, as well as assembling people to witness protest.

Many media platforms can be used to spread messages of awareness and drive change, but voice is most powerful because there is no mediation between speaker and audience. Recited poetry can therefore be a call to action and a powerful tool for freedom of expression.

This and other poetry performances available in Explore Content featured in From Visionaries to Vloggers, and all were performed by students.  You can also access the exhibition’s animations on poetry and storytelling in the region in Explore Content.