Tahar Ben Jelloun Quotes

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.

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

Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare – and precious as a pearl.

Beauty is first and foremost an emotion.

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.

Poetry is a form of mathematics, a highly rigorous relationship with words.

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.

We must stop posing as victims of the West and behaving negatively towards the West. We must participate with the West on an equal footing in the reconstruction of the world.

I read a poem every night, as others read a prayer.

Be vigilant, for nothing one achieves lasts forever.

It is through accepting other people in our own countries that we shall come to respect our neighbours and be respected in our turn.

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.

My sensibility steers me toward writers who are out on their own.

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.

I write about wounds, the eternal treasons of life. It’s not very funny, but it’s sincere. My commitment is to sincerity.

For me, poetry is a situation – a state of being, a way of facing life and facing history.

There is an important erotic element in A Thousand and One Nights, which is one of the keys to understanding the Orient.

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.

Religion has to stay in the heart, not in politics. It is private.

Intellectuals try to keep going. But their situation is very difficult. Those who have had the courage to voice their opposition have often paid a very high price.

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.

Emigration is no longer a solution; it’s a defeat. People are risking death, drowning every day, but they’re knocking on doors that are not open.

I love life in spite of all that mars it. I love friendship, jokes and laughter.

A modern civilization is only possible when it is accepted that singular beings exist and express themselves freely.