Category Archives: Photographing Yemen

Change Square

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In February 2011, protesters set up tents outside the gates of Sana’a University, demanding “an end to the regime”. Day after day, the tents multiplied and the areas they occupied throughout Yemen became known as Change and Freedom Squares.

This photo book (also available for free as a PDF by going to this website) recalls a time in Sana’a’s Change Square when people dared to dream, a time when they did extraordinary things because they believed in their own strengths, talents, creativity, and resilience.

The preservation of this collective consciousness is essential not only for an accurate portrayal of history, but also to sustain hope and inspire future generations. Just as the 2011 revolution was an extension of previous acts of resistance, the future will surely build on the shared memories of that year.

The following photos were taken over a one-year period, beginning in February 2011 and ending in February 2012. Without any manipulation of the photographs, the images were selected primarily based on their ability to capture a range of activities inside the square, rather than their artistic qualities or technical composition.

To illustrate life inside the three-kilometer area, the photos are organized around two main themes: tent city and peaceful demonstrations.

Atiaf Z. Alwazir & Benjamin Wiacek

Download the photobook in English

Monkey Business in Yemen

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I know that there has been a lot of monkey business lately in Yemen, but here are some monkeys that have a longer history in Yemen than anyone else, even the Himyarites.  The baboon (Papio hamadryas) came over from East Africa.  For those who are interested, there is an open access article on the introduction of baboons (rubah) to Arabia. Here is the abstract of the article:

Many species of Arabian mammals are considered to be of Afrotropical origin and for most of them the Red Sea has constituted an obstacle for dispersal since the Miocene–Pliocene transition. There are two possible routes, the ‘northern’ and the ‘southern’, for terrestrial mammals (including humans) to move between Africa and Arabia. The ‘northern route’, crossing the Sinai Peninsula, is confirmed for several taxa by an extensive fossil record, especially from northern Egypt and the Levant, whereas the ‘southern route’, across the Bab-el-Mandab Strait, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, is more controversial, although post-Pliocene terrestrial crossings of the Red Sea might have been possible during glacial maxima when sea levels were low.

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Trailing Yemen’s last leopards

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Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Road Trip through Yemen (Part V – Final Installment)

by Gaar Adams, Beaconreader.com, January 9

Overview

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Click here for the article

Rediscover archeologist Wendell Phillips

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Wendell Phillips stands with Yemeni men, including Sheik Al-Barhi (center), a leader of the Bal Harith tribe. (Courtesy American Foundation for the Study of Man)

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/10/243044_rediscover-archeologist-wendell.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

By Tish Wells, McClatchy Washington Bureau, October 10, 2014

— Wendell Phillips was a real-life Indiana Jones crossed with Lawrence of Arabia digging in the desert sands of history just after World War II.

The discoveries of some of those post-war adventures are now on display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington.

“Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips,” running Oct. 11 through June 7, 2015, examines the excavations that Wendell Phillips carried out in 1950 and 1951 in Saudi Arabia, which is today Yemen, said Massumeh Farhad, the gallery’s Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art.

During Phillips’ expeditions, he and his archeologists discovered two cities lost under the rock and sands of time — Timna, the capital of Qataban kingdom, and Marib, the reputed home of the Queen of Sheba. They unearthed a pair of bronze statues of snarling lions ridden by smiling cherubs, alabaster funeral stele, layers of pottery that proved centuries of occupation, and more.

“Unearthing Arabia” tells a tale of commerce, riches and influence that stretched up and down the coast of the Red Sea between Yemen and the Mediterranean powerhouse empires of Egypt and Rome.

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