My hope is that countries like Morocco will have investment to create work, so people don't have to leave.
The mistake we make is to attribute to religions the errors and fanaticism of human beings.
I am a guest of the French language. My poems in French are born of my interaction with the French language, which is not the same as that of a French poet.
Beauty is first and foremost an emotion.
Religion has to stay in the heart, not in politics. It is private.
I came to poetry through the urgent need to denounce injustice, exploitation, humiliation. I know that's not enough to change the world. But to remain silent would have been a kind of intolerable complicity.
Most of those who died did not die of hunger but of hatred. Feeling hatred diminishes you. It eats at your from within and attacks the immune system. When you have hatred inside you, it always crushes you in the end.
My sensibility steers me toward writers who are out on their own.
We have no Arab intellectuals of international stature because we live in a state of generalized mediocrity. We are suspended in the pit without touching the bottom.
People must insist on the right to say no, to be alone, to stand out from the herd. Creative artists can say all this in their own way and in their own field, by hard, rigorous work.
Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare - and precious as a pearl.
Poetry is a form of mathematics, a highly rigorous relationship with words.
The power of the word in Morocco belonged to men and to the authorities. No one asked the point of view of poor people or women.
Our steps invent the path as we proceed; behind us they leave no trace, only the void. So we shall always look ahead and trust our feet. They will take us as far as our minds will go... -- Tahar ben Jelloun
Be vigilant, for nothing one achieves lasts forever.
There is an important erotic element in A Thousand and One Nights, which is one of the keys to understanding the Orient.
I read a poem every night, as others read a prayer.
What have we achieved since the end of the Second World War? We have allowed petty, bourgeois regimes in which everything is average, mediocre.
To lead a country, you must periodically hold a national consultation in which people representing different programmes can make a bid for power.
In the '70s I was in exile; every time I went back I wondered if they'd take my passport away.
I love life in spite of all that mars it. I love friendship, jokes and laughter.
In the Arab world, there is no link between the cultural habits of peoples and the ways of thinking and creating of modern intellectuals. They are two separate worlds.
In Morocco, it's possible to see the Atlantic and the Mediterranean at the same time.
I do not use the language of my people. I can take liberties with certain themes which the Arabic language would not allow me to take.
We must have our say, not through violence, aggression or fear. We must speak out calmly and forcefully. We shall only be able to enter the new world era if we agree to engage in dialogue with the other side.
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