The poet Ahmed Qasim Dammaj (center) with Dr. Abd al-Aziz al-Maqaleh (right)
Obituary : Ahmed Qasim Dammaj
by Salwa Dammaj, his daughter
The genius poet and much respected activist Ahmed Qasim Dammaj died aged 77. He passed way Tuesday morning January 4, 2017 in the Military Hospital in the capital Sana’a. His body was laid down in his final rest in the graveyard of the “Friday Dignity Martyrs” in Sana’a. In a huge funeral held Wednesday hundreds of mourners paid tribute. The mourners included high rank Yemeni officials, writers, authors, journalists, academics, politicians, activists, social dignitaries and ordinary people.
Yemen’s great poet and intellectual Dr Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh took part in the funeral. Dr Al-Maqaleh was Dammaj’s intimate friend and long standing fellow. He described Dammaj’s death as “a grave lose for creativity during these circumstances”. He had been a veteran freedom fighter who participated in the revolution of the 26 of September and 14 of October”, said Dr Al-Maqaleh.
Official authorities, political parties and trade unions all paid tributes to the late Ahmed Qasim Dammaj. Both the incumbent president Abd Rabu Hadi and the former president Ali Saleh mourned him in cables of condolences in which they highly praised the role Dammaj played in building up the political and trade union organizations in the country. Hadi’s statement read: “Ahmed Qasim Dammaj was a great patriotic figure, with noble values, virtues and very good track record. Our thoughts with his family”. For his part, the former president Saleh considered Dammaj a man of principles. “Few Yemeni intellectuals, like Ahmed Qasim Dammaj, had really held unalterable national convictions and principles. Dammaj had already set a good example as a patriotic activist and NGO leader. Our sympathy with his family”, Saleh said in his statement.
The Union of Yemeni Writers and Authors gave high praise to the departed Dammaj. A mourning statement issued by the union read: “With the death of the great poet and veteran freedom fighter, Ahmed Qasim Dammaj, Yemen has missed one of the most influential patriotic persons who had actively and effectively contributed toward establishing the NGO’s, on top of all the Union of the Yemeni Writers and Authors. The Union’s mourning statement went on saying: “Dammaj was one of the founders who played a key role in promoting Civil Society organizations and he had heralded the notion of the country’s reunion. The statement added: “It is a grave lose to miss the wisdom of this great man and it is saddening to miss his patriotic voice at this critical moment.”
Continue reading Ahmed Qasim Dammaj: Obituary
The much-respected historian, linguistic and poet Mutahhar bin Ali Al-Iryani passed away at 83 years. The Ministry of Culture announced his death on Tuesday, 9 February, 2016. On this sad occasion the American Institute for Yemeni Studies (AIYS) extends its heartfelt condolences to his family members.
The late scholar was one of the most celebrated historians and intellectuals in Yemen. He was really a man of great intellect and ingenuity. He had distinguished himself as a pioneer researcher and accomplished historian by his creative work on Yemen’s ancient inscriptions. He had made great efforts to decipher dozens of ancient inscriptions about Yemen’s history and civilization.
He also made substantial contribution to Yemen’s literature. He had authored several books most important of all: “Musnad Inscriptions and Comments”, in which he decoded old inscriptions written in Yemen’s old alphabetical letters known as Al-Musnad. His second significant book is: “The Yemeni Linguistic Lexicon”, which included thousands of vocabulary of different Yemeni dialects that can’t be found in other Arab dictionaries.
Al-Iryani also contributed along with the two professional historians Dr Yusif Mohammed Abdullah and Dr Husayn Al-Amri to verifying two famous Yemeni books. ” Shams Al-‘Ulum” by Nashwan ibn Sa’id Al-Himyari and “Feature of Yemen throughout ages, from 7th B.C. to 19th A.D”.
The late, Mutahar Al-Irayni has been very famous as a creative poet as well as a historian. He had composed dozens of poems and lyrics considered to be of first-class Yemeni modern poetry. A number of his patriotic and emotional lyrics were put into music by Yemen’s most popular singers. These include” Love and Coffee”, “Al-Balah” and ” He Stood up and Bid Farewell “.
Contributed by Dr. Salwa Dammaj
اليوم إنتقلت إلى رحمة الله “زوج الدكتور عبد الكريم الإرياني”قبل إنقضاء أربعين يوما على وفاتهجمعهما الله, وجمعنا معهما في عليين….
وهذه مرثاة شعرية قديمة جدا,كتبها “القاضي على بن يحيى” والد الدكتور عبد الكريم الإرياني.وقد كتبها قبل وفاته بمدة وجيزة وقيل أنها وجدت تحت مخدته بعد وفاته…
ياسر محمد حسن FACEBOOK.
الشاعر علي محمد لقمان في رثائه القمندان وعصره وكأنه يصف عصرنا هذا:
كوكب عز أن يلاقي المثيلا ضاق بالناس فاستطاب الأفولا
لا تلوموا فؤاد من بهر الأزمان إذ مزق البقاء الذليلا
ربما شاء غير ما زعم الناس من الخير فارتأى المستحيلا
ربما أبصر النعيم وريف ال ظل فأختار ما رَآه طليلا
طالما قام صاحب القلب فينا ودعا الناس فأستذموا الفضولا
آه مما يردد الناس عمن عاش يبغى إلى الإصلاح سبيلا
كل من همه صلاح البريا يجد الهم في العناء مهولا
إن من يجعل القلوب كبارا يجعل العبقري فينا رسولا
تتلوى السماء من جهل أهل الأر ض كالعلم إذ يصيب الجهولا
ما لنا نستريح في دنف الس قم ونلقى لهوله تعليلا
فشل حز في النفوس وعجز يرهب الناس إن أرادوا الجليلا
من فايسبوك دكتور محمد جرهوم
Here is my personal blog post on MENA Tidningen regarding the UNESCO meeting I attended a few days ago in Paris. AIYS was well represented at the meeting. I gave an introductory talk on Yemen’s history and culture the first day, followed by presentations on Yemen’s intangible and movable cultural heritage by AIYS associate and anthropologist Najwa Adra, ethnomusicologists Jean Lambert and Scheherazade Hassan, Anne Regourd (University of Copenhagen), Leila Aliaquil (jewelry expert), Alessandra Avanzini (University of Pisa) and St. John Simpson (British Museum). Speaking on Yemen’s archaeology were Iris Gerlach (DAI), Alexander Sedov (National Museum of Oriental Art, Russia), Sabina Antonini (Association Monumenta Orientalia), Michel Mouton (CEFAS), Zayd Zaydoon (AFSM) and Jean-François Breton. Yemen’s architecture and built heritage were discussed by Renzo Ravagnan and Massimo Khairallah (Instituto Veneto del Restauro), Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj (GIZ), Marylene Barret (Conservator) and Cristina Iamandi (architect and urban planner).
The meeting was opened and closed by H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Sayyad, Ambassador of Yemen to UNESCO. It was fortunate that Mohanad Ahmed Al Syani (Chairman of GOAMM) and Nagi Saleh (Chairman of GOPHCY) were able to make the arduous journey from war-torn Yemen to Paris and brief the delegates on the current damage to Yemen’s heritage and future needs for restoration.
Weep no more Land of Sheba
By Samira Ali BinDaair
Land of frankincense….
your blood’s resin is clotting;
forgotten episodes clinging to the dark edges of memory.
Dusty pages on neglected shelves …..
in extinct libraries.
Your soldiers? Scattered leaves lying….
in the midst of nonsense and commotion
Blown hither and thither ….
by the winds of circumstance…..
Who shall fight your battles? Who shall feed your young?
What surgeon mend the tear
In our hemorrhaging hearts?
What seamstress patch the broken lines of history?
Continue reading Weep no more Land of Sheba
Political crisis and Yemen’s literary resurgence
by Fareed Al-Homaid, Yemen Times, March 23, 2015
“I have sold hundreds of novels since last June—not world literature masterpieces, but ones written by Yemeni authors. Do you believe that?!” said Abduljabar Al-Attoani, owner of Abu Thaar Bookstore in the capital Sana’a.
Despite ongoing political and economic turmoil, national literature saw an unexpected surge in 2014. Twenty novels were published by Yemeni authors last year, and while that figure may seem insignificant in a regional or global context, it is considerably more than the eight books produced the previous year. Indeed, it is about ten percent of all the books ever published by Yemeni writers, and considering the hardships facing the country today it is an extraordinary achievement.
The Yemeni novel in history
Ahmed Al-Sakkaf’s Qarot’s Girl, published in 1927, is considered modern Yemen’s first work of fiction. Since then, a mere two-hundred books by Yemeni writers are thought to have been published. Until the publication of Mohammed Abdulwali’s celebrated work They Die Strangers in 1971, marking the beginning of popular literature in Yemen, just eight books were produced.
Continue reading Yemeni Novels
هذه المجموعة القصصية هي الثانية للشاعر والروائي همدان زيد دماج، وهو واحد من المبدعين اليمنيين الشبان متعددي المواهب، وإذا كانت مجموعته الأولى (الذبابة) قد مثلت القصة القصيرة جداً، فإنه في هذه المجموعة الجديدة يتجاوز الإيجاز، ويشعر بأن الومضة بتعبيرها السريع لم تعد كافية لتصوير المزيد من خلجات الروح واستقصاء هموم النفس وتصوراتها لنبضات الواقع المحيط بها وبالآخرين، لقد اتسعت مساحة القص هنا نسبياً، وصار في إمكان القصة أن تأخذ القارئ إلى أكثر من موقف في أسلوب سردي بالغ الرهافة والإمتاع، وسيلاحظ القارئ أن عدداً من قصص هذه المجموعة تمت كتابتها في مناخات تختلف عن أجواء اليمن وعن سياق حياة الناس فيها، إلا أنها لا تخلو من الإحساس بالوطن البعيد مكاناً، والقريب وجداناً وما يدور فيه من أحداث ومستجدات في الحياة العامة شديدة الخصوصية والإيحاء.