Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
Plagiarism and Robbery at the Writers Union
Iraqi singer Kadim Al Saher performs at the citadel of Damascus on Aug. 5, 2008, at a musical event to honor Syria's late poet Nizar Qabbani. (Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)

Plagiarism and Robbery at the Writers Union

Akhbar Al-Youm, Egypt, February 13

Last week, news came out that an alleged poet who applied for membership in Egypt’s Writers Union had plagiarized a famous piece of work published by renowned Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani in his application. What is worse than the actual act of plagiarism is that the applicant was actually approved as a member of the Writers Union. The man — Mustafa Abu Zaid — took an existing poem that is known across the entire Arab world, written by the person who is widely cited as Syria’s national poet, and published a verbatim copy of it under his name. Yet, the men and women sitting on the review committee of the Writers Union didn’t even notice the stolen work presented to them. They read it and approved the application. Yes, the very same people who claim to promote and protect our cultural national treasures couldn’t even recognize a famous piece of work published decades and decades ago. It is true that the Writers Union is investigating the incident, in preparation for revoking Mustafa Abu Zaid’s membership, after the incident was revealed. The union is also investigating how the review board approved the publication of Abu Zaid’s book. But the issue goes well beyond the issue of stealing a poem. Abu Zaid chose a poem written by Nizar Qabbani in 1970. This poem was composed and sung by famous Iraqi singer and songwriter Kadim Al Sahir, doubling the poem’s prominence and spread. Yet Abu Zaid somehow managed to “steal” a notable poem written by one of the most famous Arab poets and sung by one of the most prolific Arab singers, and publish it in his own book titled “Letters of Love,” which was submitted to the Writers Union to obtain membership. There, the book passed the examination of the review committee and the registration committee without a single person noticing the theft and raising a red flag. Consequently, Abu Zaid was accredited as poet and welcomed into the union’s ranks. This is a case of both extreme ignorance and extreme corruption. Above all, it begs the question of how many other cases of plagiarized works passed the union’s review committee undetected. Indeed, a thorough investigation of all members and all applicants must be carried out immediately, in order to ensure that all work submitted to the union is legitimate and authentic. –Abla Al-Ruwaini (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.