Youthful Art in Yemen

A boy rides past a graffiti on his bicycle in Sanaa

Larissa Alles has published “Voicing Grievances and Hope through Art: Yemen’s Youth Empower Themselves” in Ethnopolitics Papers, Vol. 5.  It can be downloaded here.  The abstract is attached below:

With a reputation for terrorism and state failure, for many Yemen is not the first place that comes to mind when speaking about a new art scene in the Middle East. Yet, in the course of the Arab uprisings, Yemen’s youth used various forms of art as a medium to voice their demands and spread messages of resilience and peace. Carving out a new space in civil society, they continue to lobby for peaceful coexistence at times of violent elite struggles and political bargaining that does not accommodate the ordinary Yemenis’ needs or the 2011 youth protesters’ demands. Although quietly, this counter-movement takes on various forms, ranging from music and theatre to photography, filming and graffiti. A key aspect in most of these zero-budget projects is the participation of the ordinary population. Murad Subay’s much-respected graffiti campaigns turned the capital Sana‘a into an open-air studio for many who might not have touched a brush or spray can ever before, but discovered the powerful voice of art as a means to express both discontent with the current situation in Yemen and hopes for the future. The media collective #SupportYemen gives a voice to neglected issues through their videos that are available to everybody inside and outside the country. Yemen’s very own TEDx events give a platform for artists to present their work and activists to spread the messages of their campaigns. This paper sheds light on these three cases of a new civic entrepreneurship in Yemen and demonstrates the inclusiveness of their working mechanisms and the emanation their work has in the country and abroad.

New Book on Yemen’s Arab Spring


Yémen : morceaux choisis d’une révolution : mars 2011-février 2012

Maggy Grabundzija, L’Harmattan. Collection Comprendre le Moyen-Orient, 2015

Début 2011, la révolution éclate au Yémen. L’auteure suit la révolte pendant une année et tient un journal des événements et des débats qui agitent Sana’a, la capitale. La «Place du changement» est occupée en permanence par les révolutionnaires, décidés à en découdre avec la dictature de Ali Abdellah Saleh qui sévit depuis plus de 30 ans. Les morceaux choisis des billets que l’auteure écrit au quotidien, décrivent de l’intérieur les événements clés qui ont marqué la révolution tout en offrant la parole aux acteurs et actrices de cette révolte. Ainsi, ce journal dresse un portrait unique de la révolution yéménite, et dessine les contours de la société yéménite d’aujourd’hui.

Rencontres Sabéennes

Dear Colleagues,
We are pleased to announce that the 19th annual meeting Rencontres Sabéennes will be held at the University of Pisa from Thursday 18 June to Saturday 20 June 2015. The topic of Rencontres Sabéennes 19 is identity. In line with this, submissions dealing with aspects related to the homogeneity and diversity of the languages and cultures of pre-Islamic South Arabia and its neighbouring civilizations are very welcomed. We also encourage the submission of joint papers, to foster the exploration of the topics from different perspectives (historical, epigraphic, archaeological etc.).

Besides, this year too Rencontres Sabéennes offers a venue for the presentation of the latest academic researches and the fieldwork projects that are currently underway.  We will also make every effort to prepare the publication of the conference proceedings.

Please submit the abstract (preferably in English and not exceeding 300 words) via EasyChair system [] by March 22nd 2015. In order to establish the program on time, we are sorry but we will not be able to consider late submissions.  Feel also free to extend the invitation for poster submission to your team’s younger researchers and students.

Rencontres Sabéennes 19 will be hosted at the Aula Magna of the department of “Filologia, Letteratura e Linguistica” of the University of Pisa, piazza Torricelli 2.  Registration is already open. Please register at Eventbrite [] if you wish to attend the conference as an auditor.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Alessia Prioletta, Alexia Pavan
Annamaria de Santis
Meeting planning and communication

Weep no more Land of Sheba


Weep no more Land of Sheba

By Samira Ali BinDaair

Land of frankincense….
your blood’s resin is clotting;
forgotten episodes clinging to the dark edges of memory.
Dusty pages on neglected shelves …..
in extinct libraries.
Your soldiers? Scattered leaves lying….
in the midst of nonsense and commotion
Blown hither and thither ….
by the winds of circumstance…..
and greed
Who shall fight your battles? Who shall feed your young?
What surgeon mend the tear
In our hemorrhaging  hearts?
What seamstress patch the broken lines of history?

Continue reading Weep no more Land of Sheba