Cultural Institutions and Yemeni Intellectual -III [Archives:2000/50/Culture]

December 11 2000

Under total absence of the Ministry of Culture role in encouraging writers, Dr. Abdul-Aziz Al-Maqaleh was the very person encouraging and supporting innovative them.
The 90s period has seen an unusual shift in Yemeni culture. Many young Men of letters ranging between poetry, short story, plastic art and theater have appeared. In addition to that some Cultural institutions have been founded in various Yemeni cities, mainly in Sanaa, encouraging talented writers, the most famous of which is Al-Afif Institution.
In Taiz there are two cultural foundations, namely, Al-Saeed for Science and Culture and the Yemeni League for Culture and Art (TAIF) founded in March,1995.
Yemen Times Taiz Office has interviewed head of the League Abdul-Malek Al-Shaibani, Chairman of the Yemeni Union for Culture and Arts (TAIF)

Q: Could you possibly give us a brief idea about the Union and its objectives?
A: The Yemeni Union for Culture and Arts (TAIF) is a foundation established according to a permit from the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs in Taiz.
One of our most important objectives is to be a comprehensive cultural frame that involves uniting scattered literary and cultural potentials, providing appropriate creativity atmospheres to adopt encouraging talented youth and participating in shaping the cultural scene of Yemen.
Q: What relationship is there between TAIF and other governmental cultural foundations?
A: It is supposed to be good but unfortunately it is not so at present. There isnt the least contact between us and we hope this gap between governmental and non-governmental foundations will be bridged. Governmental foundations must renew their relationship with the non-governmental ones.
Q: Why non-governmental in particular?
A: A characteristic of democratic societies and democratic practice is that cultural and creative foundations should not be monopolized by the state under its official frame. Another thing is that promoting creativity and culture must not be the responsibility of the state only. Society must participate effectively in shaping awareness, culture and trends through appropriate means, too. Thus, creativity must be cared for by the whole nation.
Q: Why does the Union still have limited activities and why is it developing slowly?
A: There is a long way between ambitions and fulfilling them, between hopes and practice for many reasons, the most important of which is financial stringency. Thus, the several cultural activities TAIF offered and presented during the last period were a great achievement in comparison to the small financial facilities.
Q: Does partisan affiliation have a role in cultural activity?
A: Cultural activity is not governed by partisan criteria whatsoever stand that party takes towards those responsible for cultural activity. This is because it biases nobody. You may notice that with us in TAIF there are active and proficient members from different parties, but cultural concerns unite us all. I want to clarify that the cultural foundations existing in Yemen and in other countries which are directed by known partisans. We can not say that those foundations are affiliated to any party as long as membership in them is open for all.
Q: How do you see the future of literature in Yemen? What does Yemeni talent need today?
A: I think the present cultural scene in Yemen is progressing. The future of literature in Yemen can be invigorated by cooperation of all cultured people working honestly for cultural concerns and cooperation of governmental and non-governmental foundations. The Yemeni talented youth need to be given the chance to be distinguished.
Q: What are your concerns and ambitions?
A: Our concerns and ambitions are those of the Union TAIF as a cultural foundation. We hope that we enter this century with an effective working plan banishing favoritism, boredom and discouragement. We hope our women and our country have a strong cultural presence. On our part, we participated in this by electing two female members for the administrative committee in TAIF, Mrs. Olfat Al-Dubaee and Afrah Al-Az-azi.
Al-Ibda Foundation For Culture and Arts
Abdulwali Al-Shamiri, Chairman
It is a private foundation I established in 1995 after meetings and consultations with many writers, poets and concerned people to activate culture in its general concept.
Although the foundation was not officially inaugurated, many writers and sophisticated people work in it diligently and from now and then their efforts yield some literary publications considered as a step in a long way and a contribution of the foundation to enhance the movement of culture and literature.
The foundation has objectives we try to achieve according to available facilities. Among these objectives is reading, activating and presenting the cultural heritage by examining and printing manuscripts. In this respect, I would like to say that we deal with culture with great eclecticism for not all the heritage books must be printed. In this connection, the foundation has published two hereditary poetic editions considered to be souvenirs of our Yemeni literary heritage: Anthology of Poet Al-Qasem Bin Ali Bin Hataimel and Anthology of Poet Abdul-Rahman Al-Anesi.
Among our objectives are spreading cultural awareness and creative cultural and literary works, encouraging unknown talents, interacting with the other cultural foundations inside or outside Yemen, reviving the Arabic Language and preserving it from estrangement.
The foundation welcomes all writers and poets who have the originality values of literature and culture. We hope to make this foundation a good place for all those who like and have interest in culture, literature and art.
The foundation has assigned a publishing committee specialized in selecting the published works according to restrictions such as the edition should be good and beautiful and has a serious content.
The foundation has published seven editions:
– Dorer Al-Tahawor Anthology of Ibn Hataimel a study and analysis by Dr. Abdulawali Al-Shamiri.
– Anaqid Fi Al-Adab Wa Al-Fan in two editions by Mr. Abdul-Rahman Baaker.
– Al-Onmothag Al-Faeq Anthology by Poet Abdul-Rahman Al-Anesi
– Miraat Qalb Anthology by Ab Abdul-Qader Taib Al-Hadrami.
– Qabl Al-Raheel Anthology by Mr. Yousof Aledham.
– Khalagat Al-Qalb Anthology by Mr. Abdullah Al-Dhahawi.
– Osarat Al-Ayyam Anthology by Abdul-Rahman Al-Sharif.
The foundation has got many literary works to publish in the future most of which is an encyclopedia about the Yemeni distinguished personalities since early civilizations until today. It is a project of which the foundation has achieved about 7% so far and it is expected to be published hopefully soon.
We will also work on issuing a literary magazine specialized in publishing different literary works like creativity, criticism so to mobilize the cultural and literary movement.
Generally, I think the effective role that the foundations must play is to support the young talented people who have creative minds in literature and arts. Such support would enable them to devote more time and energy.