Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Sheikh returns

(Sheikh al-Ahmar and the Clintons)

Al-Sahwa net is reporting that Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar returned to Sana'a today from his recent medical trip to Saudi Arabia - this should put to rest those unfounded rumors reported by Phillips in a MERIP piece about al-Ahmar saying he was leaving Yemen to President Salih and his sons. It also gives me an excuse to post one of the many pictures from al-Ahmar's photo gallery. (I think I've chosen a dandy - but what is now Senator Clinton doing?)

The Yemeni writers are preparing to recognize the 33rd anniversary of the death of Muhammad Abd al-Wali, one of my favorite Yemeni writers. 'Abd al-Wali was killed in a plane crash in 1973 in South Yemen, but his shadow and influence still hangs over Yemeni politics. In 2000, the weekly paper al-Thaqafiyya - which used to be much better than it is now - re-serialized one of his novels, Sana'a: Medina maftuhah, or Sana'a: An Open City. Unfortunately, al-Nawadir's favorite sheikh, 'Abd al-Majid al-Zindani, issued a fatwa declaring that both the publisher and 'Abd al-Wali were infidels because of one of the lines in the book that says God is unfair.

There was a big crisis that eventually resulted in his books being banned, which I can attest is still the case. However, with some perseverance and a bit of luck one can still find copies of Sana'a: An Open City in a certain bookstore in Sana'a, just like I did not too long ago. 'Abd al-Wali is now available to readers of English in this translation, which I highly recommend.

In other news from Yemen: it is sending 16 terror suspects to Saudi Arabia. Here is an English brief on it here, and one from al-Sharq al-Awsat here.


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