Category Archives: Environment

Bless the bees


A report in al-Masdar Online notes that Yemen has officially exported 50,000 tons of honey in the past year, in addition to other ways in which it has been distributed.  There may be as many as 100,000 beekeepers producing honey in an estimated 1.28 million hives.  Honey has long been an important product in Yemen.  The Rasulid almanac of al-Malik al-Ashraf ‘Umar mentioned several varieties of honey based on the main flowering plants of the season.  One of the most famous areas for honey in Yemen is Wadi Daw‘an.  One of the best articles on beekeeping in Yemen is by Giovanni Canova, originally published in 2001 in Yemen Update and online here.

Drawing Yemeni Flora


Drawing of a Yemeni primula plant by Hugo Haig-Thomas

Hugo Haig-Thomas–A Biography of a Special Artist
Painter and Diplomat of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. of Great Britain

By John Gilbert Bodenstein,
President of The European Art Foundation

It is a pleasure to read the biography of Hugo Haig-Thomas, a special artist of our time. Some artists combine their creative activity with a normal career. In Germany Johann Wolfgang Goethe, for example, produced some of his literary works whilst holding an appointment which occupied him during the day. In France the German writer Rainer Maria Rilke was secretary to the sculptor Auguste Rodin. And the famous European author Ernst Juenger was an officer in both World Wars.

Haig-Thomas likewise was for a number of years a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, but throughout his service he continued to paint and draw.

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Socotra Film


One of the remaining marvels off the east coast of Africa is the island archipelago of Socotra, historically associated with Yemen, the nation which it belongs to. Socotra is a preserve of biodiversity with a local population not yet catapulted into the under-development pains of the 21st century. There is a fascinating film about the need to protect Socotra’s unique environment and its people from the devastating impact of uncontrolled “development.” Among the individuals speaking is Dutch ecologist Paul Scholte, who has extensive research experience both in Yemen and Africa. Check out both parts of the film here and here. There are a number of Youtube videos on Socotra, but most are tourist oriented and do not match the information level of this film.