In spring 2011, the Syrian people revolted against the government, which then brutally fought back. At about the same time, Aboud Saeed began his personal revolution on Facebook. His daily status updates have become a literary documentation of his life.
Aboud Saeed writes anecdotes, aphorisms, prose poems and commentary. About his mother, smoking, Facebook, love, and daily life during the violent Syrian conflict. Displaying a dark humor in sharing the absurdities of his life, he provides a different and more humane perspective on current events in his country than all the news and reports that usually reach us.
“Respect! … His status updates became sensations.” (ARTE Tracks English)
09 May, 2012, 12:25pm
Also, despite the civil war /
While my mother and I sit and smoke together, I tell her, “Mom, take a long drag, drag so deep you feel the smoke playing in your heart.”
My mom takes a drag and laughs happily. “Mom, tell me, you want to enter paradise right? Then repeat after me, ‘Fuck the Sunnis and the Shi’ites and the Christians, and the Druze, and the Jews, and the non-believers, and the Muslims…all of them.”
My mom hesitates, looks at me, her eyes all red from the smoke, and she asks me, “But is it ok to say something like that?”
“Sure mom of course! Whats wrong with that?” 210 Likes
Also available in German (as ebook, book, radio play, theatre production), in Spanish, and with selected posts in Syria Speaks. Art and Culture from the Frontline (English Pen Award) and in the anthology for the Generational Triennal 2015 at The New Museum, New York, edited by Brian Droitcour.
Aboud Saeed was born in 1983 and lived in the township of Manbij, in the province of Aleppo in northern Syria. Manbij was heavily bombed by the Assad-regime in 2012 and early 2013. Aboud Saeed lived with his mother and seven siblings in one room in a small house. After the ninth grade, he left school, and trained to be a smith and welder. For the past 11 years, he’s worked in a workshop. For three years he was a foreign worker in a plastic factory in Lebanon, where he lived in a tin shack. In 2008, he received a high school equivalency diploma, and enrolled in a university to study economics. The university was then closed due to the political situation. In 2009 Saeed created a Facebook account and posted there every day. The Smartest Guy on Facebook, a selection of his status updates, in which he writes about his mother, smoking, Facebook, love, and daily life during the violent Syrian conflict, is his first book. The Lebanese newspaper Annahar wrote of him in late December 2012, “Going on Facebook without getting to know Aboud Saeed is like traveling to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.” He now lives in Berlin with political asylum.
Sandra Hetzl was born in 1980 in Munich and lives in Beirut and Berlin. She studied Visual Culture Studies at the University of the Arts (UdK) and works as a documentary filmmaker and translator from the Arabic. She is also the brain behind 10/11, a laboratory for experimental, unconventional and contemporary forms of Arab literature.
Nik Kosmas was born in 1985 in Minneapolis (USA). He lives and works in Berlin as an artist, consultant and personal trainer.
Yusuf Sabeel was born in the Manbaj of Somalia and grew up in California. He studied Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Over the past two years he has been traveling and working in North Africa, Europe and The Middle East. He currently lives in Rabat.