The poems in The Reign of Barbarism are built out of dense, unpunctuated phrases that seem to have been muttered into a wide silent space, an effect that comes out just as clearly in André Naffis-Sahely’s recent translation... There is nothing barbarous about Laâbi’s exacting, propulsive early verse. If anything, in Laâbi’s writing from The Reign of Barbarism to Le livre imprévu—and nowhere more than in the writing he produced from prison—it’s a sign of decency, humility, and civility to be able to unmake one’s language, to recognize one’s own spoken or written tongue as no less of a guttural, hissed-out, scraped together thing than any other. (At intervals in the early poems, Laâbi literally opens up holes in certain words by inserting a space between each of their letters.) Barbarism, in contrast, is to insist that one’s language is too sacred to suffer unmaking—and to silence violently anyone who tries to unmake it. Laâbi would watch Morocco successfully liberate itself from the rule of one such barbarous regime, then fall under the control of another.--The Paris Review.
Abdellatif Laâbi—La Règne de Barbarie