Abdulmajeed Al-Qadhi “As for the subject of my writings I always condemned the bad habits, traditions and circumstances” [Archives:2000/10/Interview]

March 6 2000

Every human is born with a certain talent though not necessarily in art or in literature. This talent may develop along with the human’s growth and his mental and intellectual development and may die in its bud. Environmental influences and readiness of one’s own self are the factors of development of such talents. Yemen is full of such talents that have to be explored and nurtured. One of such Yemeni talents is. the writer and story-teller Mr. Abdulmajeed Al-Qadhi. Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf of Yemen Times interviewed him and filed the following.
Q: How was your start in story and play writing?
A: During my childhood, I had a strong tendency towards listening to stories and evening tales. Fortunately, my mother was good storyteller so she would often tell me lots of stories which, on most occasions, talk about human tragedies. Although these tragedies were fictional, I believed them and was impressed by them and in many cases I even shed tears. In addition, I was a dreamer myself. You would find me daydreaming for long hours, building castles in the air out of my reveries. In doing this, I did not know that these were accumulating deep inside my subconscious. I should not also forget to mention that one of the factors that made me to develop into a story writer, is that my mother was very strict with me and would punish me for the slightest causes. Therefore, I started making different sorts of excuses in the shape of stories hoping I would escape her punishment. Moreover, I grew up in an educated environment. My father was legal judge and a prominent leader of the Alawiyah and poetry relater. My mother was also an educated woman from a highly cultured family. As soon as my father discovered my ability to read, he provided me with lots of stories on the prophets and messengers of God. Thenceforward I adored reading stories of all kinds and reading became my only concern. All these facts developed a liking in me for story writing and this made me what I am now.
Q: Do you think that you have succeeded in communicating your ideas and the matters you have raised in your stories and plays?
A: All the matters and ideas dealt with in my writings were originally inspired by the people and in the end these thoughts would go to them. In other words, I have talked about people’s tragedies and flaws because I have been brought up among these tragedies. Furthermore, I use clear, right and understandable Arabic language and it never happened that I wrote puzzle or a crosswords or said complicated or ambiguous phrases.

Q: Could you give us an idea of what style you follow in your writings?
A: In my opinion adhering to certain school of thought is no longer the necessary characteristic of success. We now live in an age where there are no restraints. I frankly say I am not the classic type who adheres to the sublimity and aristocracy of personalities and I don’t believe in super natural things or the intervention of the Greek gods in our fates nor am I the romantic whose only concern is targeted to his subjectivity or flying in the sky with wings made of flowers. I am not also that naturalist carrying his camera to take a snapshot of a nude woman and present it as a picture of nature. I blend all these schools, deriving and producing out of them what is acceptable and approved by the mind, logic and beauty.
Q: What are the features of form and content in you writings?
A: In my opinion the features are only certain aspects of the picture or of the form or of the form and the content together. I usually write stories of both simple and compound plot. However, I do not let the events go in one straight direction leading to a flat ending. In addition, I use descriptive style, sometimes ironic and sometimes critical and in most cases tear-shedding description and I normally write tragedy and melodrama plays. As for the subject of my writings I always condemned the bad habits, traditions and circumstances and one can see that clear in my story ” Geya’a Fi Al-Janah” which was released in 1965 as well as the other stories that came after.
Q: Beginning from your first plays and stories up to now, what is the development that you have noticed in your writings in terms of shape and subject? Tell us briefly of the order of this development and whether it was a result of suffering or education or both.
A: Literary works are just like industry. They usually begin with a try followed by an experiment then mastering. This latter is not the end of the line; it is just a starting- point for other better works. I always read all that is new and keep in developing my work and this has become my policy. For example, in stories I consider ” Al-Dareeh Al-Mafkoud” a try, “Al-Moutalkah Al-Hayerah” an experiment and “Kabr Fi Al-Hadika” a masterpiece and all that is after a development.
Q: What is your most important play? And what peculiarity distinguishes it from your other plays?
A: Everyone of my plays has its own significance but the play (Bint Al-Dawdahi) has a special importance to me not just because it is realistic but also because it condemns the tyrant. In this story the tyrant is an old Sheikh who fell in love with Hayfa Bint Al-Dawdahi and tried to rape her. When he failed, he asked the hand of the girl from her father who refused his offer because she was almost engaged to her cousin Mujahid since their early childhood. At this point, the Sheikh, who was powerful landlord, threatened to take away the lands from Al-Dawdahi and give them to others. So in fear of losing everything they yielded to his wish. Hayfa, in her turn, ran away to meet her cousin but unfortunately was followed by this Sheik’s men and was brought to the village to be punished for committing adultery. Of course, this was nothing but a lie and then Hayfa threw herself in a well and her cousin was put in jail. The Sheik did not stop at this point but he also called singers and taught them foul songs about Bayt Al-Dawdahi which spread at their time.
Q: We can observe that portraying reality stands out in your plays production. However, the solutions you use at the end of your plays are not complete in the dialectic term. Is the reason behind this the conditions in which you wrote them or because what you write does not exceed realism?
A: As for realism, I have mentioned above that I try to tackle solve the society’s tragedies, flaws and bad habits. These all are real events but still I use realism as a raw material and this yet requires purification, melting and hammering or otherwise it would not be the shape you can see now. I would not have had a main goal like fighting colonization for example. Contrary to what you said, my plays have all reasonable endings which are either dramatic or melodramatic
Q: In children’s literature, could tell us briefly why did you decide to write in this difficult field?
A: Children’s literature has drawn my attention because there was no one who had previously written in this field in Yemen. So I started writing in this field and as soon as I released my first work, the Ministry of Education in Aden-before the reunification-set a prize for those who would write children’s stories. Many writers started writing children’s stories and songs to participate in this competition and then some stopped and I would rather not mention any names.

Q: We have known you as a writer of multi-interest and aspects, could you tell us about your most important works in all these fields?
A: In short stories I have published a collection of 20 stories titled ” Hamamah Fi Esh Sakr”, a collection of 4 stories titled “Geya’a Fi Al-Janah”, a collection of 21 stories “Wakoud Al-Sholah Al-Hamra’a”, and “Al-Sawt Al-Mosafir”, a collection of 15 stories. There are also other collections under publication which are: “Fi Sama’a Beirut Hamamah Hayerah” 20 stories, “Al-Shorouk” 15 stories, “Al-Kahl Al-A’aed” 15 stories and “Aboud bayn Al-Wiladah Wal Istishad” which talks about the Yemeni fighter against the British colonization in the south. In children’s literature I published “A’an Al-Masrah Al-Yamani” and a play under the title “Al-Nahlah That Al-Tawk Al-Ahmar”. I also published a youngsters’ novel named “Sira’a Fi Jazeerat Al-Thahab”. As for plays, I wrote for TV 32 plays which were all screened since the 60s except for “Bidayah Wa Nihayah”, Dima’a Wa Domo’o”, “Hayfa’a”, “Koblat Al-E’etiraf” and “Bariseyah Min Dar Sa’ad”. In addition, I released two books titled “Bint Al-Dawdahi” and “Al-Fata Mansour Al-Mansour”. As for the field of study I published a book on the study of Children’s literature named “Adb Al-Tifl Min Ayn Wa Ela Ayn” and this was praised by many foreign journalists. Moreover, I wrote about the armed fighting in two books titled “Wamathat Min Nar” and “Al-Mantikah Al-Wosta Rafth Wa Thawrah”.
Finally, I still have a large number of short stories which I hope would attract the attention of the concerned authorities to be published.