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Born in 1956, Ziad Rahbani is one of the most prominent artistic figures in the Arab world in general and in modern Lebanon in particular through his major influence on society, and particularly on the youth.
He is a composer, a pianist and a great dramatist whose works have spread far and wide since the 1970s. He has composed a wide variety of instrumental music and written songs (mostly for his mother Fairuz) and plays that deal with all aspects of contemporary Lebanese society.
Apart from his artistic work, Rahbani is a convinced Marxist, believing in the inevitability of socialism and need for communism for the sake of the survival and development of humanity. In this respect he has made major contributions in journalism and broadcasting, starting with a satirical radio programme in 1976 and continuing till 2015, when his last articles appeared in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.
Throughout his various articles and radio programmes, Ziad Rahbani has dealt with a number of subjects, from local, regional and international politics to economics, sociology, psychology and ethics. Often he has approached these topics through very simple features of everyday life, ranging from black humour and sarcasm to lighter jokes and wordplay. He is known to possess the secret of a sense of humour that can make people laugh in the midst of their own sufferings.
Excerpted from the portrait of Ziad Rahbani written by Bachir Sfeir for Banipal 56 – Generation '56