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Daniel Martin Varisco is President of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies.

National Geographic on Shibam

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On April 3, National Geographic online published an article on the historic Yemeni city of Shibam.

In the heart of Yemen’s Wadi Hadramaut, a cluster of ancient mud skyscrapers soars above the desert floor—a beacon of mankind’s adaptability to the most formidable of environments.

At the edge of a desolate expanse of desert known as the Empty Quarter, the 16th-century Walled City of Shibam remains the oldest metropolis in the world to use vertical construction. Once a significant caravan stop on the spice and incense route across the southern Arabian plateau, British explorer Freya Stark dubbed the mud city “the Manhattan of the desert” in the 1930s.

Every aspect of Shibam’s design is strategic. Perched upon on a rocky spur and surrounded by a giant flood wadi, its elevated position shields it from flooding while maintaining proximity to its primary source of water and agriculture. The city was built on a rectangular grid behind a fortified wall—a defensive arrangement that protected its inhabitants from rival tribes and offered a high vantage point from which enemies would be seen approaching.

For the full story click here.

في قرية من جبال اليمن.. مزاريب الذكريات

في قرية من جبال اليمن.. مزاريب الذكريات

rayma

كان الشّتاء هو صوت المطر ليلاً حين ينهمر من المزراب الذي في السّطح ويصب في الحمام الملصق بجسد الدار كالبثرة. يبدو شرح هذا صعباً، لكن هذا المزراب كان طبيعياً يوصل بين السطح والأرض الفلاء، وبعدها أحتاج جدي لأن يضيف بطريقة ما حماماً صغيراً للطوارئ، فألصق الحمام في منطقة المزراب. لذا كنا نعرف المطر: ينهمر من المزراب المرتفع عن الأرض حوالي متراً واحداً، يصب على أرضية الحمام ذات البلاط الأبيض! ولأن مطر صيفاً غالباً ما يكون هادراً سريعاً وراعداً، فلم نكن نميز صوت مياهه في المزراب، لكن شتاءنا كان ضبابياً كثيفاً، وكانت أمطاره وادعة، ديمة كما في الأغاني، تظل طوال الليل تنقر على الأرض.

لمواصلة القراءة

Mazher Nizar, Yemeni Artist

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Divided between two cultures, it has been two decades ago since I came from India back to Yemen. Yemen has always inspired me  since 1985 especially the old city of Sanaa where I have been painting views and veiled women. The rich history and culture of Yemen allowed me to work with Queens and women of this beautiful country.

Since I studied arts in the “Government College of Art and Craft” in Calcutta,  India still remains my first love as I have been among the contemporary Indian artists who inspired me, to name a few Ganesh Pyne, Ganesh Haloi, Sunil Das, M.F. Husain and many others. My works are influenced by the “Kolkutta Modern Art Group”.

There is still so much to do and I am always feeling that I am still at the beginning. I have worked with several mediums like oil-acrylic, mixed media and water colour. I work as an eclectic artist and  I don´t like to stick on one medium for a longer time. Since Yemen has only a hand full of artists and not much has been done here yet in Contemporary Art, I am still working with different mediums and techniques to create varieties of artworks.

These are my recent works on canvas, mostly untitled, but women remain the major subject in my abstract compositions, sometimes combined with fragments from the old city of Sanaa.

Mazher Nizar

See his art at http://www.nizar-art.com/index.html

International Women’s Day 2017

drivingIn celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, the Middle East Program, the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, and Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center collected essays from 33 women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the United States, and elsewhere to mark the occasion. We bring together their responses—which cover a wide geographic region and a wide range of views—in this publication. The full publication is available here.

Amatalalim Alsoswa, former Yemeni Minister For Human Rights, and founder of Yemeni Women National Committee (Yemen)

Unfortunately, the United Nation’s attempts to establish a ceasefire in Yemen to stop the war that began on March 26, 2015 have been unsuccessful, because of the intransigence of the involved parties.

According to the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan, in 2017, 18.8 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and 10.3 million people are in “acute” need of humanitarian aid. Health care, educational services, and the public treasury are collapsing, and famine has become widespread. Many people are unable to send their children to school because so many people have stopped working, there is a shortage of textbooks, and the costs of studying in government and private schools are high.

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Poets against Prejudice: Yemeni Style

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A Film Directed by Faiza Almontaser

Faiza Almontaser is a 17-year-old senior attending the Brooklyn International High School. In 2006 Faiza immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, NY from a small farming town in Yemen. Raised as a religious Muslim, she often struggles to reconcile her cultural background with the realities she meets as a high school student in one of New York City’s most socially dynamic neighborhoods.

At age 10, Faiza enrolled in the sixth grade as the only Muslim in her school. She had high hopes for her new education, but was soon discouraged by her minimal understanding of English and the anti-Islamic fervor she encountered among her classmates. Without the knowledge of language to defend herself, Faiza spent her first few months suffering in silence.

Determined to find her voice, she spent six months learning enough English to begin speaking out against the discrimination faced by Muslims in her community. Now in high school she works as a peer trainer with the Anti-Defamation League, teaching her classmates the dangers and repercussions of racism. Faiza also works to combat her struggle with the written word; through poems and essays she challenges common misconceptions of Islamic culture, and expresses her visions for change and equality.

Continue reading Poets against Prejudice: Yemeni Style