Saturday, July 10, 2010

The National Anthem of Tunisia

The lyrics of the Tunisian anthem, "Himat Al Hima" (Defenders of the Fatherland) were written by an Egyptian in the 1930s. Originally just one verse, another two were added by the Tunisian national poet Aboul-Qacem Echebbi. The music was composed by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, the same person who wrote the music of the royal Libyan anthem and the anthem of the United Arab Emirates. The new anthem was introduced in 1987 since the previous anthem was closely tied to the government of Habib Bourguiba.

Mohammed Abdel Wahab, (1907 - May 3, 1991) was a prominent 20th century Arab Egyptian singer and composer. He composed 10 songs for Umm Kulthum, including Enta omri. He was the first Egyptian singer to move from silent-era acting to singing. He died in 1991, and he is considered one of the best composers of all times. He composed the "Ya Beladi", the National anthem of the Kingdom of Libya (1951–1969).

Born in Bab El-Shaariyah area of Cairo, Egypt (where his statue stands), Abdel Wahab played oud before the Prince of Poets, Ahmed Shawqi. Abdel Wahab acted in several movies. Adel Wahab's contribution as composer goes beyond that of a mere singer. Abdel Wahab, the composer, stands alone as a pivotal genius .

Despite the fact that Abdel Wahab composed many songs and musical pieces in classic Arab music, he was always criticized for his orientation to Western music. In fact, his introduced the Western rhythms to Arab songs in a way appropriate to the known forms of Arab songs. For example, he introduced in 1941 in his song Al Gondol the Waltz rhythm, and in 1957, he introduced the rock and roll rhythm in Abdel Halim Hafez’s song Ya Albi Ya Khali.

Abdel Wahab played oud before the Prince of Poets, Ahmed Shawqi. Abdel Wahab acted in several movies. He composed 10 songs for Umm Kulthum. He was the first Egyptian singer to move from silent-era acting to singing. He died in the year of 1991 and was born in the yea of 1907. He died of heart failure.

Abou-Al-kacem Echebbi ( 24. February 1909 - 9 October 1934) was a Tunisian poet. He is probably best known for writing the final two verses of the current National Anthem of Tunisia, Himat Al Hima (Defenders of the Homeland), that was written originally by the Egyptian poet Mustafa Sadik el-Rafii.

Echebbi was born in Tozeur, Tunisia, on 24 February 1909, the son of a judge. He obtained his attatoui diploma (the equivalent of the baccalauréat) in 1928. In 1930, he obtained a law diploma from the University of Ez-Zitouna. The same year, he married and subsequently had two sons, Mohamed Sadok, who became a colonel in the Tunisian army, and Jelal, who later became an engineer.

He was very interested in modern literature, in particular, translated romantic literature, as well as old Arab literature. His poetic talent manifested itself at an early age and this poetry covered numerous topics, from the description of nature to patriotism. His poems appeared in the most prestigious Tunisian and Middle-Eastern reviews.

Echebbi died on 9 October 1934 at the Habib-Thameur Hospital in Tunis, Tunisia following a long history of cardiac disorders. His portrait is on the current 30 DT note.

The stamp issued in Egypt in 1991 above features Wahab, the anthem composer and Echebbi, the lyricist issued in 1995.