The British traveler H. St. J. Philby is best known for his writings on Saudi Arabia, but he also visited the Hadramawt in the late 1930s, driving down from Najrān through the eastern extent of the Empty Quarter to Shabwa and then into the Ḥaḍramawt. It is a chatty text like an extended diary, with names of people met and places visited, including archaeological ruins with inscriptions. Philby has his bias, as is evident throughout, but the photographs are good documentation of life at the time.
Continue reading Philby in the Hadramawt
There is a Youtube channel with several animated films about life in the Hadramawt. Given all the suffering in Yemen, some humor is needed. In October, 2016, they published one on how to deal with cholera.
The traveler Stephen Gollan recently traveled to Yemen, despite the conflict there, and has provided a number of nice photographs about his trip. It is well worth perusing.
Here is how his article starts:
“What brings a traveler to places like this? Is it the desire to be so far from other travelers and achieve an authentic experience, or is it the thrill of stepping into the forbidden and unknown corners of the world?
When it comes to Yemen, I found my attraction drawn from its plethora of historical sights and its splendid natural beauty. But if I am to be one hundred percent honest with you the tremendous lure in coming to conflict areas like Yemen are the people. Yemen’s people are unlike anywhere I have ever been. Their hospitality is contagious, they smile even when there are airstrikes happening blocks away and no matter who you are, or what you believe in, they will be your lifelong friend.
This is what makes all the pain, all the danger, and all of the after effects worthwhile in venturing into finding the truth for yourself. This is Yemen, true Arabia.”
This new volume edited by Trevor Marchand will be of interest to a wide variety of people. It should be noted that some of the proceeds will go to UNHCR’s assistance to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. It can be ordered from the University of Chicago Press.
At the upcoming annual MESA conference in Washington, D.C., AIYS is sponsoring two panels on Yemen. The second panel is entitled “The South in the Yemeni Conflict” (P4744) and was organized by Charles Schmitz. This will take place Sunday, 11/19/17 at 10:30am. [For details on the first panel, click here.]
The panelists include:
• Noel Brehony ( Menas Associates )
“Regionalism and nationalism in South Yemen”
• Elisabeth Kendall ( Oxford University )
“What Does Eastern Yemen Want and What Is It Doing About It? The Voice of al-Mahra”
• Thanos Petouris (Independent Scholar)
“Southern Yemen after the Saudi Intervention: Political and Social Change”
• Charles P. Schmitz (Towson University)
“Salafism in the South”
Here is the Panel Abstract:
This panel will explore the new political and social developments in the south in order to chart the possible contours of the new southern Yemeni landscape. In 2007 the Hirak, or southern movement, emerged with a clear political agenda for political autonomy but without a coherent leadership. In 2012 following the fall of the Saleh regime, Hadi’s transitional government installed southerners in key leadership positions in Yemen’s government, but most southerners remained very wary of Hadi’s government and largely boycotted the National Dialogue Conference that created the proposed federal Yemeni state.
The Houthi coup in late 2014 and the military onslaught of the Houthi Saleh forces on Aden in the spring of 2015 dramatically transformed the southern political landscape. The emergence of the southern resistance brought new leaders to the fore, the Emirati reconstruction of the southern security apparatus is building the foundations of new leadership in the governorates, and the Hadi government in Aden is vying for legitimacy in the south for the national government. These developments have dramatically transformed the southern political landscape in yet unknown ways. The panel aims to clarify some of these new developments in the south.
Trevor Marchand has put together an exhibition entitled “Buildings That Fill My Eye” Architectural Heritage of Yemen for the Brunei Gallery at SOAS in London.
The exhibition and its planned public talks and educational events will explore the astonishing variety of building styles and traditions that have evolved over millennia in a region of diverse terrains, extreme climates and distinctive local histories. Generations of highly skilled masons, carpenters and craftspeople have deftly employed the materials-to-hand and indigenous technologies to create urban architectural assemblages, gardens and rural landscapes that dialogue harmoniously with the natural contours and conditions of southern Arabia. In turn, the place-making practices of Yemen’s builders have played a significant role in fostering tight-knit communities with a strong sense of pride and distinct cultural identities.
Continue reading Yemen Architecture Exhibition
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.
AIYS held two well-attended panels at MESA in Boston last week. Here are some of the photos from the panel organized by Dan Mahoney on the destruction of Yemen’s cultural heritage:
Dr. Lamya Khalidi, Dr. Krista Lewis and Dr. Dan Mahoney at MESA
Dr. McGuire Gibson at the heritage panel. Dr. Gibson was the founder of AIYS in 1978.
Dr. Lamya Khalidi, who also provided a video of Dr. al-Sayani, the current Director of the General Organization of Antiquities and Museums in Yemen.
And here are photos from the panel organized by Dr. Marieke Brandt:
Continue reading AIYS at MESA
صناعة محلية %100
الخُبَر … جمع خُبْرَة وهي لفظة مستعملة عند حرفيي حَضْرموت، وهي عبارةٌ عن زنِبيلٍ مصنوعٍ من السَعَف يستخدم لحفظ التمور في النخيل قبل قطعه. وتسمى عملية وضع التمر إذا بدت عليه علامات النضج في الخُبْرَة بعملية القَنَامة. وتتميز الخُبْرَة بشكلها الجميل الذي يشبه إلى حدٍ كبيرِ شكل الخُف أو قارب الصيد فهي تتكون من جناحين متجافيين, طرفها الأول مفتوح وطرفها الآخر بيضاوي الشكل، وتقسَّم الخُبَر حسب حجمها إلى خمسة أنواع رئيسيةٍ … العُقدة وهو أكبرها حجماً، يأتي بعده كبير الحُوطة، فكبير سيئون، ثم الرُّبع الشافي وأخيراً الربع الصغير. وتعد صناعة الخُبَر من الصناعات الخُوصية التي تحتاج إلى خبرةٍ في إعدادها، فهناك خطواتٌ عمليةٌ خاصةٌ تحتاج إلى فنٍ وإتقان.
courtesy of Dr. Mohammaed Jarhoom
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.