Culture and the revolution in Yemen (5) [Archives:2007/1058/Culture]

June 11 2007

In trying to analyze Yemen's culture from a revolutionary standpoint, Abdullah Baraddooni understands that, as in all assessments on human intangibles, currents or movements, one must find trhe deciphering objective path that will in the end bring about an understanding of the inherent traits of such movements. Moreover, looking at a revolution through reliance on emotional biases or even erroneous presuppositions laid down by dictates of the prevailing political mood, especially of the ruling establishment is neither useful to the Revolution or those how associate themselves with such inclinations.

Baraddooni then suggests that the overthrow of an existing regime or order (e.g., monarchy to republic, colony to independent statehood), as suggested by the track records of most of the “Revolutions” that took place in many of the revolts of the second half of the Twentieth Century, especially in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, would necessarily a major cultural enhancement (as opposed to cultural change, which is almost inevitable anyway). Baraddooni, in this context, emphasizes time and again throughout the book, that revolution (by overthrow) is not in itself the dynamic force necessary for effecting dynamic change in a society that vibrant and leads to a significant enhancement in the way of life for the people. Moreover, he wishes the reader to realize that it is quite easy to have convinced the Yemeni people that change was inevitable, given the obvious backwardness in which Yemen was lurking. However, for Revolution to be meaningful the people, who are all that matter when talking in a Revolutionary context, must grasp the outcome of Revolution in their very lives and not just be satisfied by the daily or seasonal ceremonial Propaganda that one must listen to almost by force on the government media channels.

On the other hand the blind author (blind in vision but not in heart)1, underscores the point that most of the books written by many a participant in the Patriotic Movements, which in the Eighties so a lively effort by many of these patriots to get their memories on record before they pass away or their memories be afflicted with the pitiful mindboggling symptoms of senility and emotional prejudice. Actually this period saw a flourishing of cultural efforts all aimed at satisfying the ego and trying to make up for the fading of importance to which many of these prominent figures were noticing as their prominence became somewhat fading, since they have been removed from positions of not only power but influence as well.

Baraddooni continuously stresses that the Revolution somehow lost touch with the general public because it failed to realize what they really wanted out of it: a halfway decent life that did not prevent them from exercising all their potentials for bringing about dynamic change to the country; a chance to release their energies and intellect to be good productive citizens.

The author also points out that many of those who were able to rise to the helms, by virtue of the liberty and equal opportunity brought about by trhe Revolution, had forgotten themselves and their own background and thus saw their rise to power and grandeur as a God delivered gift to them to exploit to the maximum limit to enrich themselves and to actually partake in the very things that the Revolution had come to get rid of. He brings back the simile in the history of this great Moslem nation when the Prophet Mohammed had come to deliver mankind from all forms of oppression and transgression. Soon after his passing away except for the first thirty years hence, Islamic history went on reverse gear the caliphate or the temporal leadership that succeeded Mohammed father the first four Caliphs, was turned into a monarchy exercising the most cruel and oppressive attributes of any autocratic regime; i.e., the very anathema of Islam. In such a venue over time the culture of Revolution in its dynamic form becomes plastic and lacking in resourcefulness. All the efforts of culture are then geared to raise the status of the rulers into the living deities that those who surround them try to show them to be for their own economic and psychological well-beings, berceuse these latter demons of the society have no other means of fulfilling their egotistical desires except by making share that they have their share of the booties that the rulers have made themselves the heirs of as they have wrested control of all the resources of the land to be used only for the safeguarding of their thrones and the plunder of the state treasury.

This book is an exemplary product of a patriotic philosopher, historian, literary genius that Baraddooni has become for all Yemenis who love to see how this man of great perception and broad horizons from a social context analyzes our social fabric in all its manifestations and brings our positive and negatives to our simplified outlook on life and makes us realize that there is a lot more hidden than meets the eye.

The loss of Baraddooni was perhaps one of the greatest cultural losses that to this day remains irreplaceable, notwithstanding the greater productive means we have at our disposal and the rapid advances in communications we now take for granted.

1 The Holy Qur'an states: It is the hearts that go blind and not the eyes.

Subject Book: Culture and the Revolution in Yemen

Author: Abdullah Al-Baraddooni

Language: Arabic

Publisher: Arab Writer's Press

Year Published: 1991 AD

No. of Pages: 574