22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Aboud Saeed

Portrait Aboud Saeed
© Hartwig Klappert

Aboud Saeed was born in 1983 in Syria and grew up in Manbij, a small town situated on the Turkish border and near Aleppo. Instead of attending senior level at high school to gain his university entry qualifications for one of Syria’s four universities, Saeed decided to first work as a blacksmith and welder. While working, he gained his A-level equivalent, but had to break off his subsequent studies in economics when his university stopped its teaching activities due to the politically tense situation.Although Saeed already had a profile on Facebook in 2009, the social network did not play any significant role in his life until after the outbreak of war in Syria, when it became »the only outlet« where it was possible to share his view of the situation uncensored and unfiltered. His daily status updates contain a mixture of the private and the revolutionary, clever considerations and anarchist vulgarities as well as the everyday and the absurd, thus reflecting the state of emergency in his divided country. Over time, they gained an increasing number of followers who contacted the author and his work directly through comments and likes: »Never before have we been so close while reading to an ›author of our times‹. Right up close, like at a concert« (»Skug. Journal für Musik«). In 2012, Lebanese daily newspaper »Annahar« ultimately praised Saeed’s digital prose bytes, which are marked by anger and longing, with the words: »Going onto Facebook without making the acquaintance of Aboud Saeed is like travelling to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.« A selection of his status updates can now finally be read outside of the Arabic language area, both as an e-book and in print, under the title »The Smartest Guy On Facebook« (2013). Saeed’s tales, infused with black humour and dealing with »freedom and air raids«, his mother, religion, sex and the war, moved critics to compare him with Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller. 2013 saw »Der klügste Mensch im Facebook« turned into a two-part audio play by German radio broadcaster Südwestrundfunk. In the same year, Saeed’s Facebook posts formed the basis for ten mini audio broadcasts aired by Deutschlandradio. During the season 2014/15 the theatre Ballhaus Naunynstraße in Berlin will show a stage version of his first publication.The author now lives in Berlin and is working on his second book, excerpts of which he already presented at a reading in May 2014 titled »Eins zu null für mich gegen alle« (tr. One-nil for me against everyone). »In these stories, the times and locations overlap, Syria is all of a sudden on the banks of the Spree or on a Berlin balcony onto which you have been sent out to smoke a cigarette« (Heimathafen Neukölln).