Al-Fadool: A Silver Lining in the Dark Past Decades of Yemen [Archives:1999/49/Culture]

December 6 1999

Saleh Abdulbaqi
Cultural Editor
Talking about literary figures and poets is an awe-inspiring matter, for when we talk about the lives, footsteps and heritage of these cream of the society we find ourselves unable to give them their due right. However, it is our duty to shed some light on their works and achievements. What I want to put on display in this article is a multidimensional genius who left conspicuous imprints in the history of our literature. He was the great literary figure Abdullah Abdul Wahab “Al-Fadool” who was considered to be among the very few who held top places among Yemeni literary figures.
He made clearcut marks in the history of Yemeni songs and poetry. He had the power to translate his sincere passions and emotions into words.
It is a commonly held belief that literature is the mirror of life and what literary men do is to reflect some events of our practical life in an artistic and magnificent way. Al-Fadool sung about all aspects of Yemeni life. He, along with Ayoob Tarish Absi, committed themselves to excel in this field. They have formed an unrivaled couple that could never be matched. One used to write poems and the other set them to haunting melodies, the most famous being the national anthem. Their work met with grand success.
Al-Fadool was quite instrumental during the 1960s. He was considered to be one of those few who contributed a lot and played a crucial role to the Yemeni National Freedom Movement. He was the sensitive poet, active and sarcastic journalist, and the ordinary person who was very much concerned with everything taking place around him.
He was born in Al-Hogariah district, Taiz in 1917. He was brought up there and received his primary schooling there. Then, he moved to Sana’a and Zabid, which were very famous for science during that time, to complete his studies. After he completed his studies he went to Aden and started his career as a journalist. He established his own newspaper and named it after himself; “Al-Fadool.” The paper was established at a dark time both in the South where the British colonization was taking control and in the North where the tyrant Imam reigned. This paper gave him great publicity. He had neither an office nor an editorial staff in Aden. He was the one and only working staff. He used to carry everything in his bag which he never abandoned. He used to call his bag as “Al-Fadool Saddle” which was his movable administration through which he could do much to criticize the terrible despotic tyranny of both reigns. He used to mingle comic with somberness. However, the British authority gave orders to close it as a result of its critical attitude.
After the declaration of the Republic in the North on September 26, 1962 opened a new era for Yemeni society, he held high positions including the Ministry of Media in Sana’a.
He had contributed considerably to the social, political, traditional, religious, and economic dimensions of Yemeni society. He then gave up being a journalist saying that we had to admit that our role was over. He felt that he found himself more in poetry. Al-Fadool started his literary career specifically in 1968. He devoted his whole life to writing modern poetry. As mentioned earlier he was accompanied most by Ayoob Tarish. They worked in perfect harmony and complemented each other well. They had the same way of thinking and the profound love for their homeland. Al-Fadool used to write poems that had a profound impact. Their ideas were brought from far-fetched sources which were often mixed with Yemeni features. Listening to these poems will make anyone sit up and take note. His poems were considered to be the source of the Yemenis’ hopes and ambitions throughout the 1970s. They were crowned by the reunification declared in 1990.
To cap it off, Abdullah Abdul Wahab “Al-Fadool” was one of the outstanding figures who has left clear footsteps in the history of our literature. He has had a strong impact on all the dimensions of the Yemeni people. He was quite instrumental in emancipating Yemen from the dark decades of oppression and illiteracy. He was honored and was given the literature and arts medal. He passed away in 1982 at the age of 65. What we hope is that the Ministry of Culture will move and do something to collect all his work and compile them in a book so as to give him his due right, at least after his death.