Literary CornerAbdullah Humran, his life and his poetry [Archives:2005/856/Culture]

July 4 2005

By Abu Alkalmah Al-Tayyibah

Subject Book: Abdullah Humran, His Life and His Poetry

Author: Ahmed Saleh Al-Khourabi

Language: Arabic

Publisher: Dar Al-Fikr Printing, Distribution and Publishing

Year Published: (1st) 1988

Oh pity to whoever passes his life without having

A goal to eternalize him over the ages.

Ahmed Al-Mu'alimy

This is what the late literary personality, Ahmed Al-Mu'alimy said in his long poetic eulogy to one of the few patriots of Yemen, who is given the recognition he is for his important contributions to both the nationalist movement in Yemen and to Yemeni literature. Abdullah Hamoud Humran was known for his modesty, sensitivity and uncompromising loyalty to Yemen. Moreover, Abdullah Humran was quick to lament when he saw any developments wherein he saw the Yemeni people not being given their due share of concern and their rights subjected to transgression. Many people thought that his death at an early age aside from the physical illness was also due to the heavy hearted feelings of disappointment and despair at the challenges that the Revolution, which he and so many other sincere patriots sacrificed or were ready to sacrifice their lives for, saw had become confronted with – a feeling of helplessness, as forces they had no control over held sway in the country they had longed hoped for to be the model democracy of the Arab World.

He was born a country boy in 1939 in the town of Al-Haimah Al-Dakhiliayh where he had obtained his preliminary education in traditional village schools. When his father died, his mother moved him to Sana'a where he entered the Scholastic Institute, the output of which produced most of the civil servants of the government in pre-Revolution times. There he learned the traditional religious and Arabic studies that formed the basis for his literary capacity. In 1956, he joined the Radio Station, where he prepared and broadcast programs that were inciting for rebellion against British colonialism of the Southern part of the Governorates. He secretly joined the secret cells that were planning for the overthrow of the monarchy and his voice was among the earliest voices announcing the Revolution and ushering in a new era for Yemen. He was soon designated the Director General of the Radio Station and later assigned to his first diplomatic post as first Secretary of the Yemen Embassy in the Sudan. He returned to Yemen after 1967 to be reassigned as Director General of the Radio Station. Later he became Vice Minister of Information and eventually became Minister. He also held the positions of Information and Political Advisor to the Presidency of the Republic, Minister of Unification and Personal Representative of the President of the Republican Council and of the Chairman of the Command Council until 1977. In 1977, he returned to Khartoum as Ambassador. In 1981, he returned to Sana'a. In addition Mr. Humran had a dynamic social record and he was well in touch with most of the prominent literary personalities, who maintained affectionate relationships with him throughout his life. His house was considered a forum for literary personalities to meet and discuss the latest cultural and literary developments. He worked hard in trying to fulfill the unification of Yemen and laid much of the groundwork that eventually led to its successful conclusion in 1990. His published output was very little as he was always busy with his executive, political and diplomatic assignments. He produced one book of poetry soon after his second return from Khartoum, which was titled: “I and My Heart”. As he was about to produce his second volume of poetry, when his illness became acute and finally took his life in 21 April 1982.

The book being analyzed here is a collection of poems and articles written about Mr. Humran following his premature death and consists of a great collection of the masters of Yemeni literature at the time, as well as the condolences of the leading political and social dignitaries of the time. In addition, it includes many of the poems in his published book as well as some unpublished ones.

The famous literary personality Dr. Abdul-Aziz Al-Maqalih suggests that the poetic work of Mr. Humran all move around four pillars:

I) The Homeland; II) Away From Home; III) Dialogue With Friends and Loved Ones; IV) Grief for Friends Who Have Gone.

What is paramount in the poetry of Abdullah Humran is his relentless love and attachment to Yemen. From as early as 1953 his poetry was devoted to Yemen, north and south and never did he accept in his mind that Yemen should ever be a divided state:

For the noble unity of Yemen, have I

Endowed my poetry in rebellion, and all my words

An appointment have I with the unity of my homeland,

And for taking my revenge from the Colonialist and the Imam.

Impossible, my future that you should meet with

Me with failed dreams and lost hopes.

The last pillar of his journey in poetry reflect the kind of man that Mr. Humran was: true and loyal to his friends and colleagues even after they have passed away. In such poetry he always starts off by expressing his condolences to the nation:

My homeland, you are more than me entitled to sorrow,

As I think of all those we miss, who have gone.

Finally, to get a feel of the predicament the poet is confronted with, as he sees death take one of his friends after another, he says of the killing of Mohammed Ahmed Nu'uman (Former Foreign Minister of Yemen killed in Beirut in 1974) in eulogy to his father the late Professor Ahmed Nu'uman:

Death is the destiny of us all, but not a right

Of the criminal perpetrators to set for it its moment!