This ambivalence has been evident in the poet’s response to the crisis which has embroiled Syria since the beginning of the Arab Spring in early 2011. He has come under criticism for his response to the escalating violence which has engulfed Syria, with some suggesting that he has not done enough to speak out against the Assad regime. Adonis has responded by declaring that he has been in direct opposition to the regime for more than fifty years and that his support of the Syrian protest movement is total, declaring only that he would prefer non-violent methods of protest.
Adonis’ obstinate refusal to bow to the pressures of popular opinion, both in the Arab world and in the West, means that he will never be seen as a figurehead for any movement. However, this refusal to compromise is central to his poetry, and is the reason why his thought-provoking works continue to garner such an audience.
Adonis was celebrated in A Tribute to Adonis at London’s Mosaic Rooms in 2012. The exhibition featured over 100 of Adonis’ paintings as well as an array of literary events.