Faces &TracesA notable Hadrami political and social short story writerBawazir, Abdulla S. [Archives:2009/1224/Culture]

January 12 2009
Photo from archived article: photos/1224/culture2_1
Photo from archived article: photos/1224/culture2_1
Eyad N. Al-Samman
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

Bawazir, Abdulla Salim (1938-2004), Yemeni short-story writer, novelist, playwright, and painter. Bawazir was born in March 30, 1938, in Ghayl Ba-Wazir (Al-Ghayl), city located in Hadramaut governorate. He joined “Al-Hisn Al-Azhar Primary School” in 1945 and then continued his study in “Basharahil Primary School” in Al-Ghayl. In 1949, he moved to “Al-Namothajiya School” of Al-Salihiya located out of Al-Ghayl. Concurrently, he started reading different magazines, novels, and children's books in his uncle's library and extremely enjoyed reading “The Thousand and One Nights” book. By mid-1950, Bawazir enrolled at the “Religious Institute” in Al-Ghayl to be graduated eventually in 1954. Due to his father's illness and the poverty-stricken economic circumstances his family was suffering from, he migrated to Aden to work in 1954. Bawazir worked in Aden as a clerk in several commercial stores and also later as a foreman. He stayed in Aden for several years before he moved to Al-Mukalla City in Hadramaut to work in Al-Taliya'a Newspaper's House in early 1962. Bawazir lived in Al-Mukalla for one year and a half and again went back to Aden in the mid-1963 to work as a manager of a famous commercial store for the next 33 years. In another station of his numerous works, Bawazir left Aden to Al-Mukalla in 1997 and opened a commercial store there and after two years he returned for the last time to Aden and settled down there.

Bawazir is considered one of the renowned short-story writers in Yemen with his distinct literary and cultural works. His diverse oeuvre includes collections of short stories, novels, articles, dramas, children's books, and autobiographic books.

In the 1950s, Bawazir started writing a prosaic column entitled “A Message” in “Angham” (Melodies) magazine in which he addressed a social critique for a specific class in the society. His first tries in writing short stories appeared on the pages of the newspaper “Al-Taliya'a” (The Front) issued in Al-Mukalla under the pen name Abdou. His first short story entitled “Hikaya” (A Tale) was published in November 1961. Among his other published short stories in Al-Taliya'a the story entitled “The Devil's Tree” which narrates the suffering of Al-Ghayl's farmers because of planting the tobacco's crops. This short story was shortly included in the curriculum of the preparatory educational stage. Bawazir's last published short story in the same newspaper was entitled “The Sneakers” (1963) in which he derived its events from the 1962 revolution against the Imamate in Yemen. His first penned drama was entitled “Al-Muhakama” (The Trial) and published in Al-Taliya'a newspaper in 1962. This political and sarcastic drama narrated the story of a nationalist youth who was accused of calling for liberty and equality. His other political and social dramas were published on the pages of the same Hadrami newspaper such as “The Victim” and “The Peace's Victory.”

Bawazir's first published collection of short stories was published in 1965 and entitled “Al-Rimal Al-Thahabiya” (The Golden Sands). This collection included penned short stories and dramas for the writer published in several local Yemeni newspapers like Al-Taliya'a in Al-Mukalla, “Al-Ghad” (The Tomorrow), and “Al-Amal” (The Hope) in Aden. His second collection of short stories was entitled “Thawrat Al-Burkan” (The Eruption, 1968) which comprised stories drawn from political and social daily life as “Three Days in the Prison” and “Nasser.” In the late 1971, Bawazir started publishing serially his collection entitled “Safynat Noah” (Noah's Ark) on the pages of the magazine “Al-Fonoon” (The Arts) which was published by the Ministry of Culture in Aden. In 1981, the “Noah's Ark” was published entirely in one book in which Bawazir derived its stories from the apartment's characters that he lived with at his first arrival to Aden. Other published short stories for Bawazir include “Spare Parts for Ladies” (1972) published in the Egyptian newspaper “Sabah Al-Khair” (Good Morning) and “Al-Kanz” (The Treasure) published in “Al-Hikma Al-Yamaniya” (The Yemeni Wisdom) newspaper in 1979. Among his other collections of short stories is “Al-Hitha'a” (The Shoes, 1987) which consists of short stories such as “Black and White” and “Kids and Mice.” The collection entitled “Breakdown of the Wooden Bird” published in 1991 included 16 short stories in which Bawazir predicted of collapsing the totalitarian regime in Yemen. Bawazir last collection of short stories was entitled “A Try for Assassinating a Dream” and was published in 1999.

His novel entitled “Yaa Talia'a Al-Fadha” (O! Ascender to the Space, 1995) tackled politically and ironically several aspects in the Yemeni society. Bawazir's book entitled “Ahwal Al-Nas” (The People's Situations, 2004) comprises many critical articles regarding social and political situations in Yemen published in the newspaper 14th of October during the 1990s. Among Bawazir's other literary books “Days in Mumbai” (1998), “Fools but very funny” (2003), and “Dish with No Launch” (2003) which contains a collection of dramas. His autobiography entitled “Me and The Life” was published posthumously in 2007 and consisted of three parts: “Recalling the Missing Time”, “Aden; A Revolution and An Innovation”, and “Characters in my Life.” In 2004, Bawazir published his last work for children entitled “A Ceremony in the Moon's Light” which comprised several plays performed by animals.

Bawazir passed away on October 7, 2004, at the age of 66 and was buried in Aden. Bawazir, the fictional distinguished writer, became an exemplary model in writing social, political, and romantic short stories with his brilliant literary style. This style was used by the writer for a social tackling of the characters and events of his fictional world full of elaborate and thought-provoking details.