Anwar Mosque, Addis Adaba
Sophia Pandya has published an article entitled “Yemenis and Muwalladīn in Addis Ababa: Blood Purity and the
Opportunities of Hybridity” in the Journal of Arabian Studies: Arabia, the Gulf, and the Red Sea. Below is the abstract.
This is an analysis of the Yemeni Muslim community living in diaspora in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, through the ethnographic lens of the politics of religious and ethnic identity, with a particular focus on transnational and multiracial hybridity, and gender. Living in diaspora has created pressure both to identify as ‘Yemeni’ and to assimilate into Ethiopian society. Ethiopians and Yemenis in Ethiopia have discriminated against those considered not to be maintaining ‘pure’ ethnic or religious boundaries. The muwalladīn, in particular, experience degrees of discrimination in the Yemeni community, due to perceptions that they are not ‘pure-blooded Yemenis’ or that they are simply inferior because they are black. Does this hybridity also create a space in which exclusionary definitions of culture and religion can be rejected? This study examines the factors working for and against assimilation for the Yemeni (chiefly Ḥaḍramī) and muwallad community in Addis Ababa, and the social opportunities and implications of their migration (or that of their ancestors), considering socio-religious class distinctions, political and economic contexts, and gender. It explores the ways in which they have established themselves, reimagined community, and redefined their identities.
[Illustration, Guests in Turkey, from John Clark Ridpath, Ridpath’s History of the World (Cincinnati: The Jones Brothers Publishing Company, 1899), vol IV.]
[Note: Arthur John Byng Wavell (1882-1916) was a British soldier and adventurer who traveled in disguise to Mecca in 1908 and went on to Yemen in 1911 to witness fighting between the Zaydi imam’s troops and the Ottoman Turks. This account was originally published in 1912. For Part One of this series, click here.]
The hour was late and the smoking room almost deserted when the conversation about to be reported took place. My companion the Pasha was a tall, heavy man, on whose sunburned and lined countenance a long life in the open air and many hard-fought campaigns in tropical countries had left their traces. He had been a field marshal once, but that was in the days of Abdul Hamid, when as some one said after the American civil war, “you could not spit out the window without hitting a major-general.” It was to this latter rank that the reshuffle which followed hard on the constitution had reduced him…
The Pasha regarded me with some curiosity.
Continue reading Wavell in Yemen: #2
Today is the second day of the WOCMES (World Council on Middle East Studies) conference in Ankara, Turkey. There are two panels that focus on Yemen; both were organized by AIYS member, Dr. Najwa Adra. The first is entitled: Tribalism in the Middle East I: Tribe and Diatribe: Anthropology Meets Political Science
Moderator & Discussant: Lisa Anderson
Dawn Chatty : Syrian Tribes, National Politics and Transnationalism
Najwa Adra : Qabyila: Tribal Identity in Yemen
Daniel Varisco: Yemen’s Tribal Idiom: An Ethno-Historical Survey of Genealogical Models (read by Dr. Mohammed Sharafuddin)
The second panel is entitled: Tribalism in the Middle East II: Tribes in Yemen: the View from within
Moderator & Discussant: Saad Sowayan
Mohammed Sharafuddin : Poetry and Tribalism in Yemen
Adel Mujahid Al Shargabi : The Future Political Role of Yemeni Tribal Sheikhs in Light of the Expected Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference
Abdul Karim Alaug : Tribalism in the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference
Market in Lahj
[Note: Arthur John Byng Wavell (1882-1916) was a British soldier and adventurer who traveled in disguise to Mecca in 1908 and went on to Yemen in 1911 to witness fighting between the Zaydi imam’s troops and the Ottoman Turks. This account was originally published in 1912.]
The events in that country [Yemen] are worthy of a chapter in the history of these prosaic days. The counter-currents of human interest and activity that run up and down the Red Sea, linking the civilizations of the East and West, leave undisturbed this backwater. Western Europe knows little and cares less about what goes on there.
Yet for the last twenty years, while the Turks and Arabs have been struggling for the mastery, the history of the Yemen has been one of fire and sword. It is a record of battles and sieges, places taken by storm and garrisons starved into surrender; of savage massacres and fierce reprisals. Generals have made and lost great military reputations there. The campaign of 1911, with which this book deals, probably cost nearly as many lives as did the Boer War. Nor is this conflict over; it will be renewed and fought out to the end, for both sides mean to win.
Continue reading Wavell in Yemen: #1
The Pharrell Happy Tune phenomenon has spread all over Yemen, including the embattled town of Abyan. Here is a rather unique happy video. Be sure to watch it all the way through…
[These photos are from a post on the MBI Al Jaber Foundation Facebook Page.]
Some wonderful photographs from Julian Jansen van Rensburg’s talk at the 48th Seminar for Arabian Studies at the end of July. The rock paintings are from the Dahaisi Cave on Socotra, Yemen where the Socotra Karst Project (SKP) has been exploring, mapping and studying the cave systems of Socotra for over a decade.
One of the classic late 19th century travel books on Yemen was by the Italian Renzo Manzoni. In addition to an informative account of his trip to Sanaa, the illustrations are fantastic. The original Italian version, El Yèmen: Tre Anni nell’ Arabia Felice, was published in 1884 and is available as a pdf online at archive.org. Recently the Social Fund for Development has sponsored an Arabic version, also available for free in pdf online.
في حضرموت رقصة شعبية يسمونها ‘نعشة البقارة ‘ والبقارة تعنى العاملين على البقر، ولهؤلاء الفلاحين الذين يشقون الارض بطاقة أبقارهم رقصة خاصة تمثل هذا المزارع الذي يعيش طول وقته مع بهائمه ذكور البقر، الثيران والتى تمتاز عن الحيوانات الاخرى بجموحها الشديد، لهذا يحتفظ هؤلاء المزارعون بشعر رؤوسهم، فيبقى الشعر طويلا م،سدلا على اكتافهم، وفي كل عام يقام لهم موسم في 15 شعبان، اي موسم زيارة النبي هود، وهو موعد احد اسواق العرب المعروفة والتى تقام في حضرموت وتسمى سوق حضرموت…في هذا الموسم يسرح الفلاحون شعورهم وتطلى رقابهم بالزيت قبل عدة اسابيع لتكون لينة للرقصة التى هي عبارة عن حركة الرأس وذوائب الشعر المرسلة على الايقاع الذي يتكون من الطبلة والمرواس الصغير.
ويعتقد آخرون ان هذه الرقصة فريدة لا يوجد لها مثيل في اجزاء العالم الاخرى، لانها تعتمد على حركة الرأس فقط ولمدة طويلة، كأنما هي متأثرة بحركة رؤوس الثيران عند الحرث. ] (مقتبس من المصطلحات الزراعية والري في كتابات المسند، للدكتور جواد علي)
مع ان الاعتقاد القائل بأن هذه الرقصة تتواجد فقط في حضرموت اعتقاد خاطئ لان هذه الثقافة متواجدة لدى اهل السودان. والملفت للنظر ان الصورة اسفله تذكر بما ألفناه نحن المغاربة عن ”التحيار ‘ عندما تسدل المرأة شعرها للرقص بحركات رأس دائرية في الافراح المغربية
Photograph from Sula Siham via Dr. Mohammed Jarhoom
For anyone who is in the New York area, check out this extraordinary brazier made for al-Malik al-Muzaffar Yusuf, the second Rasulid sultan, who reigned from 1250-1295. This is brass inlaid with silver and is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, part of the Edward C. Moore collection.