Albert Jabara

Albert M. Jabara was born in Lebanon on August 17, 1947, in a village directly opposite Mount Haramoon. He moved to Canada, where he held his first job at age 13 to support himself, his mother, and his younger brother and sister.

Mr. Jabara attended schools intermittently and believes self-education can produce equal results if will and power are applied. In all its ups and downs, life's classroom offers lessons in actions supported by results.

Training himself, he became reasonably read and became a poet and writer. A small Ottawa publisher published his first poetry collection in 1963. Also, local publishers published three additional poetry collections in the next ten years. For six years, he was a freelance columnist/journalist for Arab News and other publications. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he has had essays, short stories, columns and poems published on Aljazeera and other major websites.

"Crime Scene Collection" was translated into Arabic in May 2007. The transcripts spark a burning sensation in your mind and soul. Politically right or wrong, the readers decide the answer. 2008 "Crime Scene Transcripts: Who Terrorized First?" illuminates the rapid suffering, hunger and loss of lives through invasion and occupation.

In addition to the problematic lives most immigrants face, writing in another language adds hardship and raises the bar for literary accomplishment. Despite this, Mr. Jabara was a successful banker for 12 years. He left banking to begin his business in 1986, married and had four children and four grandchildren. Albert Jabara also has several other books almost ready for release. 

Hardly A Chapter Of An Autobiography

Nearly fifty years ago, I left my home in a small village in the tiny country of Lebanon. My home was for me like a fur coat that kept me warm on a cold, freezing day; it was a soothing breeze that kept me calm on a hot day; it was a heavenly feast that crushed my hunger; it was healing water that quenched my thirst. The air constantly circulated into my lungs, never tired or stopped. That was my home!

As a young boy, back then, I always felt that God gave us two sets of parents: the mortal parents who raised us, clothed us, fed us and educated us and will one day die, leaving us with our immortal parents, our home. That was my home!

I cannot say I remember my home from the moment I opened my eyes to the world, but I know I felt its presence inside, as I felt my soul when I made my first step. I felt that my mother truly delivered me from one womb to a more enormous womb. As I grew older, the enormous womb grew, and I continued to echo to myself, "That was my home!"

This natural connection you make as you grow your soul in your body. This connection proves your home is the large self in which you live; you carry it as it carries you. That is how my home and I reciprocated affection and love. It was not a castle or a mansion. We lived in a humble, three-room house. Nine members of my family slept on a concrete floor. But it was my home! 

The elementary school I attended in my village was just behind my house; as short a distance as it was, it always felt far to me. Whenever I was back in my home, I felt loved and safe. By the time I was 12 years old, I knew the connection between people and their homes was real, and the nightmare that scared me to death was whenever I imagined losing or departing from my home. 

My father passed away before I turned 13 years of age. With no source of income, my mother decided we should move to Canada and join my grandfather in Halifax. My older brothers and sisters were married and had moved on with their lives. Our fate is that we remain together, I with my mother, one younger brother, and one younger sister. We left Lebanon shortly after my father's death. Our journey to Halifax took more than one month by boat. The experience was like living sixty lives in hell. I felt fractured inside, amputated, and immersed in grief when we landed in Halifax and arrived at my grandfather's home. 

I was now separated from my home by seven seas and did not know how to swim. Barely 13 years old, with a family to support, I earned the rank of "man of the house." My grandmother was neither kind nor generous. She watched the pieces of toast we ate for breakfast and counted the french fries during lunch. 

After one week, I told Mom it was time to move on. We took the train to Ottawa without money; Grandfather paid for the train tickets. The train arrived in mid-morning. We walked from the station to a restaurant owned by my uncle, whose hospitality was chilly. We stayed in the restaurant for a few hours. I told Mom I was going for a walk. I strolled down the street and looked up at a sign that said, "Irving Avenue." I walked up the street and stared at another sign that said, "Apartment for rent." I knocked on the door. A lady opened the door and was very polite and pleasant. I shyly asked if the apartment was still available; she smiled, "Yes." Her husband came to the door, and both invited me in. We talked for some time about my nationality and why we left Lebanon. They were utterly shocked when I told them my age. The first question they asked was how I would pay the rent. I assured them I would find a job and work overtime to pay rent on time. The family came from Russia. They knew how tough things were for them when they arrived in Canada. They agreed to rent me the apartment on the second floor. They asked about furniture. I told them we did not have any but would purchase some. We shook hands, and I returned to the restaurant and broke the good news to Mom, who did not believe it until we both took a walk and met our new landlords.

My oldest brother was a well-known chef in a famous restaurant called "Le Bocage." Next door to this famous restaurant was Achbar Furniture, a store owned by a Jewish man named Ben. I asked my brother to introduce me to Ben, and he did. We walked into Ben's office, spoke about home furniture and long-term financing, and stated that Mom, two younger siblings, and I had just arrived in Ottawa and needed to furnish our new apartment. Ben looked at me and asked, "Who will sign the purchase agreement and make the monthly payments?'' I replied, "I will." Ben asked if I had a job. I assuredly stated I did not have a job but was searching for one. Ben laughed and asked my age. I told him I was thirteen. He rubbed his chin and shook his head several times before looking at me again and saying he would take the risk if I had this courage and responsibility towards my mother, sister, and brother. We selected the furniture that afternoon, and Ben got his movers to deliver them the same day. 

It only took two days to move into our new apartment. I found a job as a dishwasher and doubled my shift for a while. I ensured I would pay rent and make furniture payments on time.

I experienced a turning point in my character, and it helped me not miss home so much. I felt destiny brought us to a beautiful city, Ottawa. I found Ottawa clean and peaceful. 

The events that brought me to the Russian family and the Jewish furniture store owner changed my life forever. I honestly feel some invisible force had guided me to them. I also believed they were guided by some force, searching for people like us to rescue from a near-drowning situation. 

I wanted to become a missionary at this point in my life, but I needed to work hard and build some financial security to support my family and donate to good causes. I did not know how else to return the Russian family's kindness. I did not know how to repay Ben for understanding an actual rescue. I am not surprised, after nearly fifty years, that these memories are still as vivid and warm as they were then. 

I moved between jobs, made a lot of money, and made many mistakes. I became extremely disturbed by the compulsive thirst and hunger of the United States of America for control of the Free World; worse than that, the U.S. military, under orders of its Administration, used brutal aggression and invaded helpless countries. The Vietnam War opened my eyes to what the United States of America was doing. 

More than two million Vietnamese had perished, denied their rights to live and raise families. Then, I discovered the war machine that was driving Israel into wars against Palestinians and Arabs. 

I learned about the British occupation of most countries and how it ended, leaving horrific memories of war crimes and thefts of state resources and assets. In most cases, the humiliating defeat left a permanent reminder victims passed to their children, ensuring it continues to reach new and future generations. I learned what the French did in Lebanon and Syria and how a small group of resistance fighters kicked them out. The French colonizers exercised far worse oppression on victims. They were the first to use nuclear weapons and ethnic cleansing against Algerians and a score of other nations on a scary scale. I learned that Palestine was handed to European Jews by Britain and by the Arab rulers of that time. I felt the plight of the Vietnamese and Palestinians; the plight of others is too many to list.

I could not determine why the United States and Israel were waging wars. In the last seven years alone, more than one million Afghani and Iraqi civilians have died. 2006 invasion of Lebanon by the Israeli army destroyed well over three hundred villages, towns, and farms. Dec. 27/09 - Jan. 18/09 attack on Gaza was Israel's cruellest war. 

I tried to find Ben and the Russian family in all of this. I could not, but Ben and the Russian family became a symbol I will keep and cherish all my life. 

The older I got, the harder I could bear the burning yearning for my home. I developed acute anxiety filled with fear mixed with courage, hope, and determination. I never stopped imagining, "What if my home fell to the hands of occupiers?" I saw myself living in Vietnam under the vast clouds of Orange Agent. I saw myself living in Afghanistan between the tombstones of countless sisters, children, elders, and brothers. I saw myself in Iraq picking up human remains to give them a resting place.

It is true! Home is your immortal parents. Home is your people, your country with its mountains, trees, rivers, seas, and skies. Home is what you are. 

Will I be able to return home one day? I have asked myself this question since I was 15. Israel snatched more Arab and Muslim lands, and more Arabs and Muslims suffered through expulsion or simply killed. Angry and confused. I found myself boxed in a world that turned ugly and mean. Busy with sometimes two jobs to make ends meet for my small family, I still kept abreast of what America and Israel were doing to Arabs and Muslims. 

The one-hour documentary aired by Al-Jazeera grabbed my emotions and imprisoned my soul to the end. The hosts interviewed Palestinian families dispersed in various countries, from Australia to the Palestinian camp in South Lebanon. The saddest part of this documentary for me was the three scenes. The first frame showed a Palestinian in his mid-eighties who cried when he talked about his home. He showed the camera the key to his home, which he had kept for sixty years; he was never allowed to visit but could only see his home from a distance. The other two scenes were about two old ladies. One held a small bag of sand, the only memory she could take with her, and nothing else but the clothes covering her body. The second old lady held a tiny stone that looked like a marble. She saved this small keepsake as a young child when she escaped death with her parents.

While viewing this documentary, my wife stepped over to my side with a handkerchief and begged me to stop crying. I was in severe pain. I felt knives moving inside my stomach. I felt horrible and useless and could not control my tears for a long time. That was when I took my pen out of my pocket and, holding it above my head, swore on the graves of both my parents that I would dedicate my life and energy to research the wars and murder of innocent people. I then started writing this book, determined to finish it. "Crime Scene Collection" was conceived in 2007; "Crime Scene Transcripts: Who Terrorized First?" followed in 2008.


Copyright © 2009

Book Reviews:

Crime Scene Transcripts: Who Terrorized First?

Author: Albert M. Jabara
Hardcover 227 pages ISBN 978-0-9782296-5-8 SRP: $68.95
Softcover 227 pages ISBN 978-0-9782296-6-5 SRP: $38.95
Mirath Publishing Inc., 2008

True North Perspective, Rosaleen Leslie Dickson, author, critique and journalist

Answering the question on the cover of his book, Albert M. Jabara's anger permeates his explosive diatribe against the evil events that stole his childhood, uprooting him from his home and everything he valued. His outrage contends that one's home is an intrinsic part of one's self, and its cruel and forceful amputation is the ultimate inhumanity.

From his hurt at this personal tragedy, he tells us in simple words about the nine million Palestinians, more than two million Afghanis and well over five million Iraqis who today suffer from cruel dispersion and similar separation from their vital roots.

As a 12-year-old Lebanese child, the sole support of his widowed mother and young siblings, this author found himself in Canada, a startlingly foreign environment with diametrically different folkways, mores, and language. Now a respected author, poet, and prominent Ottawa businessman, Jabara's latest book explains that blame for the collapse of the world as he knew it cannot all be heaped on any person or nation.

Still infuriated by massive worldwide inhumanities, his intransigence on the guilt of the perpetrators of evil around the world pervades. Explicitly describing the several forces involved in setting the stage for the crimes of our times, this book well expresses the author's anger towards them all.

There is no ambiguity in Jabara's message. Following an explanation of his immigrant boyhood and a brief outline of his career in Canada thus far, he plunges the reader into the transcripts, wherein lie answers to the title question. Included are long outpourings of fury against George W. Bush and quotes from the Holy Qu'ran, interlocked with history and information about terrorism today.

"Germany, France, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and even Iran sat back and watched the U.S. and its co-conspirators bomb Baghdad; they endorsed the invasion and stamped it 'legal.' They betrayed the popular opinion of their people."

After many railings about these atrocities, the author calls on journalists, writers, scholars, and researchers to "wake up" and "expose war criminals and find ways to stop them." About halfway through his book, Jabara states that only a few honest journalists continue to gather evidence revealing the truth about 9/11 and its connection to the war on terrorism "as ordered by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Israel." The 14 individual Crime Scene Transcripts contain accounts of atrocities, nuggets of ancient and recent history, anecdotes and poems, along with unremitting expressions of anger against Israel and the U.S. This book goes to great lengths to answer its question and provides a great deal of detail to substantiate its conclusion.

Crime Scene Collection

Author: Albert M. Jabara
Hardcover 191 pages ISBN 978-0-9782296-1-0 SRP: $59.95
Softcover 191 pages ISBN 978-0-9782296-2-7 SRP: $35.95
Mirath Publishing Inc., 2007

Muhammad Mujahid Syed | Arab News

"Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom," says Robert Frost. But while going through the "Crime Scene Collection" of Albert M. Jabara, one shouldn't expect delight because it's not a recollection of thoughts in tranquillity. There is wisdom bred by deep pain. Jabara was born in a little village directly opposite Mount Haramoon in Lebanon in 1947. He immigrated to Canada at the age of 12. He is now a Canadian national, a prolific writer and a born poet with a sensitive soul. Jabara had seen death and hunger that breed madness and make an ordered life impossible. Man's cruelty to man, open injustice, and the death of the world's conscience fill Jabara's heart with a sense of loss, anguish, and anger that flows through his poems. See these lines of his poem "Eye and Pen Good Enough for Me."

My pen consumes my brain.
Wars eat Arabia and Moslems.
You ask for light poems.
Filled with romance and mysteries
Leave me be!….
You ask for light poems.
To please your Yankee friends
Laughs don't come from seas of sorrow…
A heavy poem, my friend
It is a golden treasure
It is a pain that cures pain
Every time you read it
It is the poem that first originated
In Arabia, it was first read
By an Arabian knight to his horse
Every culture has a beginning
Measured by time
My Dad taught me
The first chapter on my culture,
Minutes after my birthday
When he touched my forehead
And said, "Your religion is Islam,
Arabic is your culture
Poetry is your sword…
Use it; don't use deadly force
Humans grow old and die,
Cultures wear many skins;
Beneath each skin
There's always a new poem.

Arnold Toynbee talks about an encounter between civilizations; Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington are concerned about the clash of civilizations, but Jabara believes there are many skins beneath each skin of culture. He knows about these different layers of cultures. Skin is necessary to save human or animal flesh and bones, as different layers give them depth and save them from the scorching sun of hostile human attitudes and inclinations. Here is the wisdom derived from the ancient Arab culture that was the cradle of great poetry for centuries. In the above stanzas, there are references to that great age, especially in this stanza when he says:

A heavy poem, my friend
It is a golden treasure
It is a pain that cures pain
Every time you read it
It is the poem that first originated
In Arabia, it was first read
By an Arabian knight to his horse

The reference to the Seven Suspended Odes (Saba'a Muallaqat) of pre-Islamic tradition is quite evident in this stanza.

When Jabara writes about Iraq or Palestine, he seems to be carried away by emotions and sometimes overwhelmed by grief, seeing the rivers of blood flowing in these ancient lands that have taught religion, morality, and civilization to the whole world. Without mincing words, he criticizes George Bush, Tony Blair, and Ariel Sharon for their part in the atrocities that continue in Iraq and Palestine.

The Iraqi people's pathetic condition is quite visible in this poem. See some lines of his poem "Iraq, Don't Die Before Me."

Each grain they touch
Turns into blood
Then, it returns to the soil
Their loved ones are mixed with the earth
This is the memory killers left behind
Arabia bleeds for Iraq
Baghdad's funeral
Will not end until Bush and Blair leave
America's crime is an Arab shame
Arabs forgot Iraq.

His heart melts away in his poem

Palestine, Eternal Mother
Palestine, rise from your ashes!
Hell released its reservoir.
Only days ago!
Lava flows, pure like honey…
Guided to reach bloody hands
Killers of your people, trees, and fields
Have no place to hide —
Lava's flames
Destined to burn their hearts
And prolong their lives and pains
Killers of your people, trees and fields,
Their final places in zones unknown:
They shall burn their rot but not die…

There are many heart-rending poems in this book. "Crime Scene Collection" was translated into Arabic in May 2007. The reader should take this collection of poems as the anguished cry of an honest soul.

Crime Scene Collection / Arabic Translation

Author: Albert M. Jabara
Hardcover 219 pages ISBN 978-0-9782296-3-4 SRP: $59.95
Softcover 219 pages ISBN 978-0-9782296-4-1 SRP: $35.95
Mirath Publishing Inc., 2007

Thoughts Fall Like Rain.

Author: Albert M. Jabara
Hardcover 93 pages ISBN 0-920575-00-5 SRP: $45.95
Softcover 93 pages ISBN 0-920575-01-3 SRP: $29.95
Wisdom House, 1984


Time and again, his Oriental heritage shines through his words and imagery, a sort of verbal luminosity which at once distinguishes his work from most Canadian poetry... Jabara's words illuminate the many paths of life like candles. 


Albert Jabara bravely explores his deepest feelings and thoughts in his latest book of poetry, A Life Of Many Paths. It is a quest to capture in words the feelings, fears, and regrets that, for most people, remain buried, emerging only in dreams or perhaps under psychoanalysis. 

Arabia, The World Islamic Review, Abdul Khatib

The vigour one finds in his work is, in a way, representative of his culture and individuality. Some of his poems are so powerful that they touch one's heart immediately.

A Life of Many Paths

Books by Albert M. Jabara:

  • Born To Write, 1967 Marquardt Press
  • The Sonnet Gate And The Poem Cell, 1974 October Gull
  • A Life of Many Paths, 1983 Jerusalem Publishing
  • Thoughts Fall Like Rain, 1984 Wisdom House
  • Crime Scene Collection, 2007 Mirath
  • Crime Scene Collection, (Arabic Translation), 2008 Mirath
  • Crime Scene Transcripts: Who Terrorized First? 2008 Mirath
  • Prophecy on Ice, 2012 Mirath
  • Love Moments Don't Rust With Age, 2018 Mirath
  • Romance with Death, 2018 Mirath
  • The Paradise, ALLAH Downsized To A Womb, 2019 Mirath
  • Where Martyrs Rise, Snowflakes Don't Fall, 2021 Mirath
  • Assadiq al-watan lughet al-Um (Arabic), 2013 Mirath,
  • Intended Terror (Arabic), 2023 release Mirath
  • Lest we forget (Arabic), the 2023 release Mirath
  • Pens of Fire and Water (Arabic), 2023 release Mirath
  • A Story In Istanbul (Arabic), scheduled for release in 2024
City: Ottawa, Province/Territory: Ontario
English and Arabic
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