Poet Fatima Maizi tells women’s resistance in her zejel poems

Poet Fatima Maizi writes and reads zejel poems, known as an old Arabic poetic form, about women’s resistance in the Moroccan Nationalist Movement against French colonialism.


Morocco- Zejel is known as an old Arabic poetic form. They are about the suffering and heroism of the people. These poems have been passed down to the next generations because they are easy to memorize and read in a rhythm. Fatima Maizi is a Moroccan poet writing and reading zejel poems. In her poems, she tells women's participation in the Moroccan Nationalist Movement and their resistance against French colonialism.

Her mother inspired her

Fatima Maizi’s mother was also a poet and she learned how to write poems from her mother. Her mother wrote and read praise poems and inspired her to write and read poems. Speaking about her poetic journey, Fatima Maizi said:

“My mother used to read poems for us when we were children. I first heard zejel poems during a festival in the city of Youssoufia. Men and women read zejel poems at the festival. When I first heard the zejel poems, I began to be interested in this poetic form. During special days, my mother read praise poems for us while baking cakes. After returning to Marrakech from Youssoufia, I wrote my first zejel poem by being inspired by the cultural heritage left by my mother. Then, I published my first poetry book entitled ‘The Braids of Lalla’.

She tells women’s resistance in her poems

Defining poetry as “a kind of exquisite linguistic embroidery”, Fatima Maizi said, “Women can write extraordinary and creative poems as they braid their hair.” Fatima Maizi is very impressed by her parents who supported the Moroccan national resistance against French colonialism.

“In my poems, I tell the resistance of Moroccan women against dictatorships and their life stories.”

Fatima Maizi tells the stories of women in anti-colonial resistance such as Kharboucha, a Moroccan singer who used her voice against Aissa Ben Omar. “She was one of the pioneers of aita through her songs that depict Moroccan women's lives, anti-colonial resistance she was arrested, tortured and killed by Aissa Ben Omar.”

Fatima Maizi recently published a novel untitled, “Remains of the Ashes of Memory”. She thinks that preserving zejel poems is the preservation of Moroccan culture.

“Although women have already proved themselves in writing poems, stories and novels, they are still ignored by men. Women should be supported and their rights should be recognized so that they can reveal their creativity. More awareness-raising activities should be carried out to preserve Moroccan culture and heritage.”