Category Archives: Arabic Language

Ahmed Qasim Dammaj: Obituary

aqdammaj
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

Yemen’s World Heritage in Venice

demaigret

Dr. Alessandro de Maigret (1943-2011)

Announcing an Exhibition and Conference

Yemen’s World Heritage. Archaeology, Art and Architecture
Museum of Oriental Art in Venice
October 20 – December 16, 2016

A joint initiative of:
Museums of the Veneto – Museum of Oriental Art , Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage, Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen, Monumenta Orientalia, Rome

The Oriental Art Museum, the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage and the Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen want to promote a series of events to make known in Venice’s the historic and artistic heritage of Yemen. Since March 2015 Yemen has been in a conflict in which the bombing violated numerous protected sites both nationally and internationally recognized, and destroyed museums and monuments of the rich cultural past of the country.
Recently, UNESCO reiterated its condemnation of the destruction perpetrated against the world heritage of Yemen and initiated a campaign # Unite4Heritage, the Yemeni Heritage Week: Museums United for Yemen for 2016, involving the major museums of Europe (the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, Hermitage, etc.).

From Prehistory to the present day the extreme tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has preserved unique features in the production of their material culture, whose forms are as native as the result of exchanges and synergies with Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean. Historians of Greek and Roman classicism used to talk about Yemen using the nickname Arabia Felix, as a land of prosperity and wealth, not only material but also geographical and territorial. Yemen was, in fact, at the center of an important caravan and maritime trade axis: here met traders from India and the Horn of Africa with those who would later traced to the north of the Peninsula to enrich the courts of the various empires in Mediterranean with products such as incense, myrrh, spices, pearls and precious stones.
The deep bond of man with the settlement territory is expressed in through the remains of south Arabian kingdoms – the most notable of which is the Kingdom of Sheba – which were already using the house typology commonly referred as Yemen “tower house”.
With the start of Islam then, the Yemeni architecture has been enhanced with new forms and stylistic paradigms, and many temples of the pagan tradition turned into mosques. Archaeological studies conducted in Yemen have shown a slow and lasting osmosis between pre-Islamic and Islamic civilization.

The initiative promoted at the Museum of Oriental Art in Venice will go right to investigate this union, to raise awareness of an almost unknown cultural heritage in the West, whose origins are lost in the often muffled contours of myth.

The initiative also wants to highlight some Italian experiences, namely that of the Italian Archaeological Mission in the Republic of Yemen (MAIRY), began in 1980 and that of the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage began in 2005. Both have as their purpose the protection and enhancement of Yemeni heritage and both have been accomplished in total synergy with local counterparts, thus becoming moments of much scientific as human enrichment.

A series of seminars and meetings, by national and international experts at the Oriental Art Museum, will bring the public closer to the peculiarities of the history and culture of the country. In the room which will host the conference there will be some photo-descriptive panels on display that will illustrate some aspects of archeology, art and architecture of Yemen as  direct testimony of both the Italian Archaeological Mission and  the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage.

Continue reading Yemen’s World Heritage in Venice

New film on Yemeni Music

salomon

Chers collègues et amis,

J’ai le plaisir de vous signaler la sortie récente du DVD “L’heure de Salomon”, film réalisé par Pascal Privet, et pour lequel j’ai assuré la traduction intégrale des textes chantés. Le film contient deux heures de musique, dans des cérémonies de mariage comme dans des salons de Sanaa :

https://dvd.filmsduparadoxe.com/index.php/catalogue/8-films/509-lheure-de-salomon

En espérant que ce travail permettra de conserver une partie de la mémoire de ce pays et de ce peuple martyrisés,

Bien amicalement,

Jean Lambert

AIYS at MESA 2016

mesa2016

The annual MESA conference will be held in Boston this year from November 17-20.

AIYS–American Institute for Yemeni Studies
Thursday, 11/17  Board Meeting, 4-6pm, Orleans (4)
The Board meeting is for AIYS board members.

Friday, 11/18  Business Meeting, 5:30-6:30pm, Brandeis (3)
The business meeting is open to anyone who is interested.

AIYS sponsored Panel:
[P4302] Yemen: From Zaydi Revivalism to Huthi Expansionism

Created by Marieke Brandt
Chair: Daniel Martin Varisco
Saturday, 11/19/16 10:00am
•    The Curriculum and channels of knowledge for contemporary Zaydi ‘ulama’ in the Yemeni highlands by Hollenberg, David B.
•    Itineraries of expansion: The Sa‘dah Wars revisited by Brandt, Marieke
•    Antiauthoritarianism, Outreach and Misdirection: Unpacking the Houthis’ March to Sana’a and Beyond by Salisbury, Peter
•    Strategic Implications of Huthi Expansionism, Perpetual Insecurity and Internal War in Yemen by Seitz, Adam
SUMMARY:
Zaydism is a branch of Shia Islam which can look back on a millennium of continuity in the northern parts of Yemen. Since Zaydism is regarded as a particularly tolerant form of Islam, its coexistence with Yemen’s other denominations was historically largely unproblematic. About 25 years ago, however, a development started which substantially undermined the coexistence of denominations in Yemen. The increasing spread of radical Sunnism (Salafism and Wahhabism) in Yemen, funded by neighboring Saudi Arabia, as well as the economic and political neglect of large sections of the Zaydi north by the Salih regime has led to the emergence of a Zaydi revivalism movement which was inspired by a deep sense of peril. As a result, previously unknown divisions and fault lines between Sunni and Shiite denominations began to arise in Yemen.
In 2001 a group known as Ansar Allah or Huthis, taking their name from the family of a noted Zaydi scholar, splintered off the nascent Zaydi revival movement by schism. In 2004 the Salih regime entered into a brutal six-year war against the Huthis, creating a martyr with the killing of Husayn al-Huthi, a prominent critic of Salih’s regime. After the resignation of President Salih in 2012, the Huthis were able to conquer large parts of northern Yemen including the capital Sana’a which they seized in 2014 with the assistance of army troops still loyal to Salih. The military campaign against the Huthis carried out by a Saudi-led international alliance of Sunni states, which began in 2015, has eventually turned Yemen into a central crisis zone and humanitarian disaster in today’s globalizing world. Although very much a proxy war in the expanding sectarian rhetoric between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the ongoing war has turned Yemen into an internal struggle for power between numerous groups and ideologies.
The panel aims at elucidating historical roots and current aspects of both Zaydi revivalism and Huthi expansionism by the means and tools of a number of scholarly disciplines (religious studies, social anthropology, political science, and strategic studies). The panel focuses on Huthi struggles to demarcate a Zaydi identity in the Modern Middle East; the impact of the so called “Sa’dah Wars” which the Yemeni state waged against the Huthis from 2004 to 2010; Huthi politics of political alliances since 2011; and strategic aspects of Huthi expansionist ambitions in Yemen. Through considering this wide array of aspects, the panel aims to shed light on the often opaque transformations and developments of previous years and decades and thus to achieve a better understanding of current conflict in Yemen.

Other Yemen Papers at MESA

[P4369-18299] The Southern Baptist Medical Mission to Yemen, 1964-2002 by Asher Orkaby (Sunday, 11/20/16 8:00am)

[P4627-19118] The State Crisis in Yemen. The Quest for the Republic of South Arabia, Other Statutory Solutions and the Fight for Power by Susanne Dahlgren (Friday, 11/18/16 8:00am)

[P4520-18781] “Ittassilli, ya Marina”: Friendship, Frustration and Despair in Yemen by Marina de Regt (Friday, 11/18/16 5:45pm)

Brandt on al-Ḥamdānī

Marieke Brandt

Heroic History, Disruptive Genealogy: al-Ḥasan al-Hamdānī and the Historical Formation of the Shākir Tribe (Wāʿilah and Dahm) in al-Jawf, Yemen

Medieval Worlds 3:116 – 145, 2016.

A pdf is available here.

Abstract:
Genealogies are emic forms of social representation among many tribes in the Arab world. The formability of these genealogies for the purposes of politics and alliances is a common phenomenon. It becomes particularly obvious if one looks at the case of the Shākir tribe and its main divisions Wāilah and Dahm in the region of al-Jawf in northernmost Yemen. A comparison of their tribal genealogies and settlement areas in the tenth century CE, as described by the Yemeni scholar and historian al-Ḥasan al-Hamdānī, with their tribal structures and territories in the twenty-first century shows the enormous extent of change to which the Shākir, especially Dahm, have been subject in the past millennium. These changes seem to reflect in part the continuous immigration of external tribal groups to which the fringes of the Rubʿ al-Khālī desert have historically been exposed, and their inclusion into the local societies and thus the evolving genealogy of Shākir. These elements of residential discontinuity and mobility contrast with the more general pattern of territorial continuity and stasis prevailing in the central areas of Yemen. Yet the genealogy of Shākir proved to be more open towards these intrusive groups than towards the original inhabitants of the area itself: in contemporary al-Jawf remain descendants of ancient groups who are considered the aboriginal inhabitants of the area and who were neither given equal status to Shākir nor included into the Shākir genealogy. Seen in this light, the genealogies and semi-legendary traditions of al-Hamdānī’s al-Iklīl also served to evoke a vision of community and of common identities among the heterogeneous societies of South Arabia and to legitimize them as heirs of a country and its history, which in parts was not inherently their own.

AIYS at MESA 2016

At the annual MESA conference, to be held in Boston from November 17-21 , AIYS has a sponsored panel as detailed below:

[P4302] Yemen: From Zaydi Revivalism to Huthi Expansionism

Created by Marieke Brandt
Saturday, 11/19/16 10:00am

SUMMARY:

Zaydism is a branch of Shia Islam which can look back on a millennium of continuity in the northern parts of Yemen. Since Zaydism is regarded as a particularly tolerant form of Islam, its coexistence with Yemen’s other denominations was historically largely unproblematic. About 25 years ago, however, a development started which substantially undermined the coexistence of denominations in Yemen. The increasing spread of radical Sunnism (Salafism and Wahhabism) in Yemen, funded by neighboring Saudi Arabia, as well as the economic and political neglect of large sections of the Zaydi north by the Salih regime has led to the emergence of a Zaydi revivalism movement which was inspired by a deep sense of peril. As a result, previously unknown divisions and fault lines between Sunni and Shiite denominations began to arise in Yemen.

In 2001 a group known as Ansar Allah or Huthis, taking their name from the family of a noted Zaydi scholar, splintered off the nascent Zaydi revival movement by schism. In 2004 the Salih regime entered into a brutal six-year war against the Huthis, creating a martyr with the killing of Husayn al-Huthi, a prominent critic of Salih’s regime. After the resignation of President Salih in 2012, the Huthis were able to conquer large parts of northern Yemen including the capital Sana’a which they seized in 2014 with the assistance of army troops still loyal to Salih. The military campaign against the Huthis carried out by a Saudi-led international alliance of Sunni states, which began in 2015, has eventually turned Yemen into a central crisis zone and humanitarian disaster in today’s globalizing world. Although very much a proxy war in the expanding sectarian rhetoric between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the ongoing war has turned Yemen into an internal struggle for power between numerous groups and ideologies.

The panel aims at elucidating historical roots and current aspects of both Zaydi revivalism and Huthi expansionism by the means and tools of a number of scholarly disciplines (religious studies, social anthropology, political science, and strategic studies). The panel focuses on Huthi struggles to demarcate a Zaydi identity in the Modern Middle East; the impact of the so called “Sa’dah Wars” which the Yemeni state waged against the Huthis from 2004 to 2010; Huthi politics of political alliances since 2011; and strategic aspects of Huthi expansionist ambitions in Yemen. Through considering this wide array of aspects, the panel aims to shed light on the often opaque transformations and developments of previous years and decades and thus to achieve a better understanding of current conflict in Yemen.

The panel will be chaired by Dan Varisco. Panelists are:

Jean Lambert on Yemeni Music

jean

La musique traditionnelle yéménite menacée par les bombardements

Un chef-d’œuvre du patrimoine oral de l’humanité

Depuis trente ans, Jean Lambert mène des recherches sur les sociétés et les musiques de tradition orale dans plusieurs pays du monde arabe. Mais c’est sans nul doute au Yémen que ce travail a été le plus marquant, avec des années passées sur le terrain. C’est dans ce berceau originel de la civilisation arabe, à la richesse culturelle sans égal chez ses voisins de la péninsule Arabique, qu’il est passé de l’anthropologie et de la musicologie à l’ethnomusicologie. «  J’y ai trouvé une chaleur, une sensualité et une sagesse qui, certainement, m’avaient manqué. Sans doute est-ce la raison pour laquelle j’ai fait le choix de la fidélité et d’une certaine persévérance dans mes objets de recherches qui, en retour, n’ont cessé de m’enrichir  ». Chaleur, sensualité, sagesse, autant de mots étonnants pour définir un pays trop souvent connu à travers les seules images réductrices que véhicule une actualité politique déformée par des médias avides de sensationnel et de clichés surfant sur les peurs.

Continue reading Jean Lambert on Yemeni Music

Passing of Mutahhar al-Iryani

mutahhar

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

Arabian Epigraphic Notes

leidencenter

Arabian Epigraphic Notes (AEN)

Volume 1, 2015 (download the entire volume or individual articles free of charge from our website: http://arabianepigraphicnotes.org/journal/).

In addition to the articles posted in 2015, the final volume contains two new contributions:

L. Nehmé: Strategoi in the Nabataean Kingdom: a Reflection of Central Places?

J. Lundberg: Prepositional Phrases in the Dadanitic Inscriptions

Table of Contents

M.C.A. Macdonald: On the use of writing in ancient Arabia and the role of palaeography in studying them (1-50)

A. Al-Jallad & A. al-Manaser: New Epigraphica from Jordan I: a pre-Islamic Arabic inscription in Greek letters and a Greek inscription from north-eastern Jordan (51-70)

S. Abbadi: New evidence of a conflict between the Nabataeans and the Ḥwlt in a Safaitic inscription from Wadi Ram (71-76)

A.Q. Al-Housan: A selection of Safaitic inscriptions from the Mafraq Antiquities Office and Museum (77-102)

L. Nehmé: Strategoi in the Nabataean Kingdom: a Reflection of Central Places? (103-122)

J. Lundberg: Prepositional Phrases in the Dadanitic Inscriptions (123-138)

__________________

Arabian Epigraphic Notes is a publication of the Leiden Center for the Study of Ancient Arabia.  It is a forum for the publication of epigraphic finds from the Arabian Peninsula and adjacent areas, and for the discussion of relevant historical and linguistic issues. The Arabian Peninsula is broadly defined as including the landmass between the Red Sea and the Arabo-Persian Gulf, and stretching northward into the Syrian Desert, Jordan, and adjacent cultural areas. In order to keep up with the rapid pace of discoveries, our online format will provide authors the ability to publish immediately following peer-review, and will make available for download high resolution, color photographs. The open-access format will ensure as wide a readership as possible.

For more information about the journal, visit:
http://www.arabianepigraphicnotes.org

For submission instructions:
http://www.arabianepigraphicnotes.org/authors/