A delightful poem on Yemeni dialects…
A delightful poem on Yemeni dialects…
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.
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.
See his art at http://www.nizar-art.com/index.html
These are photos on Youtube of the Haradh (حرض) peace conference in Yemen taken in May, 1965 by Richard Blalock. In attendance were Shaykh ‘Abd Allāh al-Aḥmar, Ustādh Nu‘mān and Qadi ‘Abd al-Raḥman al-Iryānī.
̇(Thanks to Charles Schmitz for forwarding this.)
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
In 2011, millions of Yemenis calling themselves the Peaceful Youth joyfully joined the “Arab Spring.” Four years later, popular aspirations for social justice and a serious attempt at national dialogue were thwarted by deadly domestic power struggles. When the pro-Saudi, US-supported government fled to Riyadh in April 2015, the Kingdom led a multinational military intervention inside Yemen. By December, daily bombardment had killed thousands of fighters and civilians, injured and displaced hundreds of thousands, and decimated homes and infrastructure. A naval blockade cut off access to fuel, medicine, and food for millions. In addition to this humanitarian catastrophe, the ensuing chaos emboldened al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and led the group ISIS to expand there.
Perfect for understanding the political economy, geopolitics and social relations of the region.Prof. Laleh Khalili, University of London, SOAS
Arabia Incognita helps readers understand this tragic misadventure by tracing the Arabian Peninsula’s modern history from Yemen’s strong anti-imperial movement of the 1960s through the present series of conflicts. The majority of the essays focus on Yemen’s colorful and complex internal socio-political dynamics; others draw attention to parallel, often inter-connected disharmonies inside the Gulf’s petro-kingdoms; wider regional upheavals and movements; and America’s deep, vast and very problematic security involvement in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula.
Photograph by Maarten de Wolf
“I am walking through Sana’a and can’t believe my eyes.
Does this still exist – lots of men in white dresses wearing daggers?”
In 2013 the photographer Maartin de Wolf published online a superb set of photographs about Yemen, highlighting the variety of dress old and new. Amidst the current destruction of all almost aspects of daily life in Yemen, it is good to remember the beauty of Yemen and its people. Check out the photographs for yourself.
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.
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 :
En espérant que ce travail permettra de conserver une partie de la mémoire de ce pays et de ce peuple martyrisés,
Medieval Worlds 3:116 – 145, 2016.
A pdf is available here.
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.