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Poet of love and homeland Omar Abu Reisheh : 2005

The poet and diplomat Omar Abu Reisheh (1910 – 1990) is a Famous poet, playwright and diplomat from Syria. He was one of the great poets and writers of the 20th century in the arab world.

Ealy life and Education

Omar Abu Risha was born into a wealth and literary family in Manbij in the province of Aleppo.

Omar Abu Risha was born into a wealthy and literary family in the city of Manbij in the Aleppo Governorate. His father, Shafi’ ibn al-Sheikh Mustafa Abu Risha, held prominent official positions during the Ottoman Empire. He was appointed mayor of Manbij and Hebron in Palestine, and later in the city of Tripoli in modern Lebanon. Shafea was a glorified poet. He wrote several poems in elegy for the poet Ahmed Shawqi (1868-1932), the poet Hafez Ibrahim (1872-1932), and the Libyan nationalist leader, the Mujahid Omar Al-Mukhtar (1858-1931). As for his mother’s side, Omar Abu Risha’s mother, Mrs. Khairallah bint Ibrahim Ali Nur al-Din al-Yashti, was from the city of Akka (Acre) in Palestine. Her father was the leader of the Sufi Shadhili Order. Mrs. Khairallah used to narrate poetry, especially Sufi poetry. He took from her his view of religion, life and love, as well as his influence on Sufi concepts.

Poet And Diplomat Omar Abu Reisheh
Poet And Diplomat Omar Abu Reisheh: Syria 2005

Abu Reisheh received his primary education in Aleppo, then joiened the American University in Beirut for his secondary education. After his graduation, he went to England to study industrial chemistry at the University of Manchester. During his stay in England, Abu Risha discovered the English and European literature. He read the books of some important English and european writers such as Shakespeare, Milton, and the French poet Baudelaire.

Early career

After his return from Europe, he participated in the national movement in Syria during against the French occupation and the British occupation in Palestine. Because of his political activism, he was imprisoned several times. As a result,  he left Syria to escape from French persecution.

Omar Abu Reisheh with the President John F. Kennedy
Ambassador Omar Abu Reisheh with the President J. F. Kennedy in the Oval Office, in 1962.

After the independance of Syria in 1946, Omar Abu Reisheh became the director of the national library in Aleppo in 1947. Afterwards, he joined the Arab Scientific Academy in Damascus in 1948. shortly after, like his colleague the poet Nizar Qabbani, he joined the Syrian diplomatic corp and was apointed as ambassador of Syria in Brazil in 1949. As syrian ambassador he worked in many countries inclusing Argentina, Chile, India, Austria and the united States of America.

His literary career

لأعمال الشعرية الكاملة لعمر أبو ريشة - المجلد الثاني
The Complete Poetic Works of Omar Abu Reisheh – Vol. Two.

During his diplomatic career, Omar Abu Reisheh never stopped writing poetry and litterature. Above all, he held permanently in his mind and heart the love for the homeland and the human being. In addition, the Syrian and Arab history had an important influence on his writings.

In addition to poetry collections, Omar Abu Risha wrote poetic plays, including the play “Dhi Qar” in 1931, and “The Operetta of Torment” in 1935, and later, “Semiramis” and “Taj Mahal”.

The poet Omar Abu Reisheh published his first collection of poetry in 1936, in the city of Aleppo, under the title “Poetry”. he published the second collection entitled “From Omar Abu Risha” in Beirut in 1947. He also published a collection of poems in English in 1959, and a poetry collection entitled “I sang at my funeral” published in Damascus in 1971 and many others.

Abu Risha was influenced by Sufi poetry from his mother. His maternal grandfather was one of the sheikhs of the Shadhili Sufi order, and his parents were lovers of poetry

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