BEIRUT: Lebanese poet and writer Said Akl was honored on his 100th birthday during an official mass in Bkirki Monday.
During the service, President of Notre Dame University-Louaize, Father Walid Moussa, said that students and faculty at NDU were proud to have been influenced by Akl.
“Our students are the students of Said Akl, our professors have been blessed by being Akl’s colleagues and our priests have been praying to keep Akl the beacon of their faith,” said Moussa.
Moussa described the mass as a unique opportunity to honor a prominent writer’s 100th birthday.
“It’s a unique phenomenon to have Akl celebrate his 100th birthday … I do not know and I have not read about a writer who lived 100 years and kept his grace,” he said.
According to Moussa, Akl’s creative work does not belong to a city, family or a group of people, but to Lebanon and humanity.
Born in 1911 in the Bekaa town of Zahle, Akl, a staunch advocate of Lebanese nationalism and the Lebanese language, is the most prominent modern Lebanese poet.
After publishing his first theatrical work in Arabic in 1935, Akl wrote plays, epics, song lyrics and poetry.
Following Moussa’s speech, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai led the mass and praised Akl. “Akl is a man of wisdom who reached his pinnacle through his poetry and prose,” he said.
According to Rai, Akl’s religious beliefs strengthened his writings: “He went deeper into discovering God and he loved the beauty of it.”
Akl also took part in politics. He joined the Syrian Social Nationalist Party but was later expelled due to ideological conflict between him and the party’s leadership.