Google memorializes Lebanese Poet, Journalist and Translator on his 79th Birthday

Google doodle celebrated the 79th Birthday of Ounsi El Hajj, an eminent Lebanese Poet, Journalist and Translator on Wednesday the 27th of April 2016.

El-Hajj who passed away on February the 18th of 2014, was the son of Journalist and Translator Louis El Hajj, and of Marie Akl. He began his professional career in Journalism in 1956, as Director of the Cultural page at Al Hayat Newspaper. He then shifted to An Nahar Newspaper where he worked as Editor of the non-political content and bolstered the Daily Cultural Column into a Daily Full Page Spread.

El-Hajj was the founder of Al-Mulhaq -a poetry magazine- in 1964, as an addition Cultural Publication to An Nahar which was published weekly. Besides his perpetual position, Ounsi held the Editor-in-Chief position at several magazines including Al Hasna magazine in 1966 and Arab and International Nahar between 1977 and 1989.

In 1957, El-Hajj contributed along with Yusuf Al-Khal and Ali Ahmad Said Esber AKA Adunis to the foundation of the poetry magazine Majallat Shi’r. In 1960, he released his first book of poetry entitled Lan, and translated several plays by Shakespeare, Ionesco, Camus and Brecht into the Arabic language.

Ounsi published numerous works of poetry and books between 1960 and 1994. He published six compilations of his poetry: Lan (1960), The Chopped Head 1963), The Past of Forthcoming Days (1965), What Have You Made with the Gold What Have You Done with the Rose (1970), The Messenger with Her Hair Long Until the Sources (1975), and The Banquet (1994). He also published a book of three volumes of essays entitled Words, Words, Words as well as a book of two volumes of philosophical musings and aphorisms entitled Khawatem. The third volume of the latter is pending publication along with a set of other unpublished works.

Ounsi’s works have been translated into a number of languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish, and Armenian.

In 1994, Lebanese soprano Majida El Roumi released an album entitled “Ibhath Anni” (Look For Me) which featured a title song in classical form with lyrics by Ounsi with operatic string themed music composed by Abdo Mounzer.

In 1992, Ounsi became Editor-in-chief of An Nahar, a post previously held by his father Louis El-Hage. He held this position until September 2003 after which he acted as a consultant to the Board of Editors.

Ounsi helped found the newspaper Al Akhbar in 2006, where he became the newspapers leading columnist and editorial consultant. He wrote a weekly prose column and weekly commentary that ran in the Saturday edition.

With all of his achievements, El-Hajj remained humble; when interviewed about his life, he said: “I often told the same history. I don’t believe that it is of any interest to anyone. I have more remorse than achievements, and all that I have done I did without my knowledge. When nobody used to ask me for my opinion on things, such as love and death, I willingly said the truth, but then I stopped saying it as soon as there was someone to ask.”

The Google Doodle commemorating Ounsi can be viewed in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt.

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