A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Nation of stars

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 1, 2007

Sometimes I see graffiti that baffles me, like this one, which I noticed a few weeks ago but only got around to photographing this morning:


I see that in the meantime it has been tagged by the heart-bomb graffiti artist, who has been peppering Hamra with a new crop of February’s romantically explosive images.

Translated, the graffiti says:

the nation of stars

I am here

But what does it mean? And how to punctuate it? Should it read:

Nation of stars – I am here!


the nation of stars, and I am here

I thought it might be a quote (the omnipresent Fayrouz, perhaps?), but google searches in both Arabic and English have turned up nothing.

I have no idea what the correct punctuation should be (though eagerly await any suggestions!), but I love the way it looks on the wall.


I love it. I post this piece on the mysterious graffiti, turn off my computer and head off to meet K for lunch, and come back to find that H has not only identified the phrase – its the first line of a poem called “Watan al-Nujoum” but also provided a link to it. Its author is the early 20th century Lebanese poet Ilya (Elie) Abu Madi.

H says: you should hear little children sing it at school – its a huge performance, with hand gestures and all.

I can’t wait. I’m going to waylay some pre-schoolers and get them to perform this poem for me :P!


8 Responses to “Nation of stars”

  1. Dr. Robert Abu Madi said

    The poem “wataan il nujoom” was written when my father returned to Lebanon the first and only time. He wrote the poem while visiting his home town of Mohaydatheh while ta the home of his friend , Michel Tooma. He was reflecting on his long absence asking if his native land remembered him…..the appropriate phrase should be
    Nation of the stars – I am here….. do you remember me.

  2. Dr. Robert Abu Madi said

    I should add that the poem was published while he was on his visit. A special edition of his newspaper, As Sameer, was published in Beiirut at the time with the poem on its front page

  3. diala said

    watan el noujoumi is the bet poem ever but i’m not able to remember the last part what was it? 3asha el jamalou mousharadan fil 2ardi ?

  4. Starlyt said

    I was woundering if you have anyway that I Can see this poem in english. I really enjoy anything about other countries and I would love to read this poem…the graffiti is so beautiful that I would love to turn it into a tattoo! please if anyone can help me

  5. Ashlee said

    Hey, I would like to speak to you about the grafitti picture.


  6. robert madi said

    send me your address and i will forward an english translation

  7. Francesco Medici said

    Hi friends!
    I’m an italian scholar of the first arabic poets in the U.S.A. I’d need e-mail address of dr. Robert Abu Madi (Ilya Abu Madi’s son). Could You help me? Regards. Sincerely, Francesco Medici

  8. Francesco Medici said

    My e-mail address is framedici@libero.it

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