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February 14 2000
Alas! Al- Mehdhar Left Us
Jalal Al-Sharabi 
Yemen Times 
On a gloomy day, the great Yemeni poet, Hussain Abu Bakr Al-Mehdhar left us for ever, leaving behind him millions of hearts, thirsty to his sincere and soft feelings. Al-Mehdhar, is no longer with us. How sad it is to feel that an author of hundreds of the sweetest songs has left us never intending to come back. 
He passed away on February 6, 2000, after a 70-year life full of singing. He sings for his country and its sands and seas, his city, beauty, love, mountains, etc. Yemen has lost a great man who is really, a unique phenomenon in the contemporary history of Yemen. 
He descends from a family that loves poetry. Readers of his poetry can feel his great love for his country in his portraits of Al-Shehir’s valleys, mountains, hills that decorate his poems. He gives us a true experience with true portraits of the time and place in all his poems. 
He was born in 1930. A poet is discovered in him while he is 14. At this age, the young poet walks confidently on Hadhramout seashores and in Tarim’s alleys singing the traditional poetry of Hadhramout, his city. 
He grows up in a mystical family. Being greatly influenced by that special atmosphere, he publishes his first book talking about Mohammed the Prophet, may peace and prayers be on him. The book is written in verse, or as known in Yemen by, ‘Mawlid.’ He studies for the first four years in Al-Shehir. After this he studies the Holy Quran. While a student, he reads all Arabic masterpieces. It is believed that studying the Holy Quran plays a great role in molding the passionate poet in him. He loves traveling and wherever he heads for, he reports the beauties he comes across in sweet verse. 
He marries two wives, who accompany him in his long poetical life, and is a father of a son and three daughters. 
In 1962, he publishes the first collection of poems, “Domooa al-Oshaq” (Lovers’ Tears.) The following three will carry similar titles; “Ibtisamat al-Oshaq” (Lovers’ Smiles) 87, “Anin al-Oshaq” (Lover’s Moans) 99, and “Hanin al-Oshaq” (Lovers’ Longings) 99. In these collections he portrays how lovers feel when they are overwhelmed with love and longings. Still, many of his sung operettas, sketches and national songs have not been published in a book. 
The first to sing Al-Mehdhar songs is Abu Bakr Balfaqiah who forms with the poet a great duet in the 60s when he records a number of songs in Beirut and some others to the Kuwait TV. Dr. Abdul Rab Edris, Mohammed Morshed Nagi, Abdul Rahman Al-Haddad, Mohammed Saad Abdullah, Karamah Mersal, Mohammed Hassan Atroosh, Mahfoudh Ben Bureik, Moftah Subeit Kindarah, Badwi Zubeir, Ali Abu Bakr Al-Attas, Abdullah Salem Farag, Hamad Salem Ben Shamekh and others, all contribute to the popularity of Al-Mehdhar’s songs. Among Arabs there are; Talal Maddah, Mohammed Abdu, Abdul Magid Abdullah, Abdullah Al-Rwaished and Walid Tawfiq. All these singers find his lyrical poetry easy to tackle and to sing. Moreover, many songs of his are ready to be sung, for he is not only a poet, but a composer as well, and this distinguishes him from many other poets. 
Al-Mehdhar also proves himself in the political life. Revolutions in the 60s and 70s, give another trend to his poetry. He never gives up fighting and encouraging Yemenis to fight until colonizers are driven out of the country. 
He holds a number of political posts before unification: a member of the Supreme Consultative Council, and then member of its presidency. He also represents his city in the parliament after the first parliamentary elections to give it, besides his emotion, all his efforts. 
Although he is famous, he is very simple and modest. He appears on many public occasions wearing simple and traditional dress of Hadhramout and speaking a simple language. A poem, for him is something like delivery. He says that he feels something like a burden on him and he never feels comfortable unless he gets rid of it. 
In all his life he never goes to Writers Union offices for personal aims. He never connects himself to an organization or a party. His only concern is to lead a peaceful life full of love, music and passionate words. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Culture ignores and neglects him, and he is not that kind of man that will knock its doors to get something like many others. 
He participates in local as well as international festivals in which he represents Yemen in a good way, and in return he finds nothing. He stays in Al-Shehir suffering from sickness and nobody to make him feel that he is really a great person for Yemen. This always reminds me of a common saying that Yemeni people always repeat on such occasions that we recognize people only after their death. 
He looks upon Yemen as a mother. He never stops singing for her, her beauty, mountains and wadies. He shows the nature of the real relationship that can ever exist between man and his homeland. 
It is not only the Yemeni culture that has lost a great man, but the Arab culture in general, too. 
Whatever is said about him, will never be enough to tell what really he is. I feel as if I can see Hadhramout eyes full of tears. I also feel that those young poets who used to meet him and spend a long time with him can not believe that he is no longer with them.