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NEWS/Writer of Fairouz Songs, Poet Joseph Harb is Gone

The " Golden Soldier " behind the very successful songs of the Lebanese diva Fairouz, the prominent Lebanese poet and writer Joseph Harb, passed away late Sunday night after a long battle with illness. We all felt that a huge part of the best musical days in the Arab World and especially in Lebanon was gone with his death, and that it was a big lost for all of us.

At the age of 70, Joseph Harb bid farewell to the country he gave the golden words and made its musical legacy. Joseph Harb’s poetry helped root the sung Lebanese poetry. He composed the longest poem and the biggest diva in the Arab world named "Al Mahbara". Joseph Harb issued more than ten divans. He uses the written and spoken language in his poetry and won many prizes, last of which the "Lebanese Literature Award" during the celebration of  Beirut, a world book capital.

The great talented poet Joseph Harb born in 1944 in the town of al-Maamrieh in the Zahrani region of south Lebanon, had spent most of his youth between the cities of Jbeil, Batroun, and Beirut. He started his education at the "soeurs du sacré coeur" school in Jbeil first, and then the Antoine Institute. In his early twenties, he began teaching in Dekwaneh while studying Law and Arts at the university. Once he graduated, he opened a private library and began practicing law. During the 1960s, he produced a large number of poems, stories, and philosophical articles. In 1960, he published his first book, "Virgin Of The Temple". Then in 1966, he entered into Lebanese radio, by becoming a presenter for the program named "With the Sunset".

When he met Ziad Rahbani and Feiruz in 1976, they soon introduced him to the Rahbani brothers. They wanted to use his poetry for their songs as they wanted to present them in a show in Jordan. Fairouz sang more than 16 songs based off his poetry, those songs that had been graved in the audience's memory till now. In 1998 and 2004, he was elected as the head of the Lebanese Writers' Union.

Harb wrote several famous songs for Lebanese legend, Feiruz, including "Li Beirut," "Asamina"   and "Lama Al Bab." He also wrote songs for the prominent singer Marcel Khalife and wrote several drama soap operas for Lebanese televisions and a number of screenplays for television shows including "The End of Time," "So We Forget" and "Ash and Salt," and more through his life.

Joseph Harb wrote us love, patriotism and passion; His memory and words will remain here from a generation to the other, every morning we will listen to Fairouz's voice singing those simple and meaningful words. Goodbye our poet Joseph Harb!

by Jamil Richane

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