Mr. Eric Frager to Yemen Times”I have established an association and named it ” Le Cercle Franco-Yemenite”” [Archives:2004/750/Community]

June 28 2004

By Yahya Al-Olfi
For Yemen Times

Mr. Eric Frager aka Eric Yahya is a Frenchman deeply involved with Yemen. He has supervised some projects in Yemen, went through good and bad times and is married to a Yemeni lady. He goes by another Arab- French name “Eric Yahya”.
During the past few days I met Mr. Eric Frager aka Eric Yahya, who I was told was here to organize the Yemeni contribution to THE ARAB MUSIC FESTIVAL, which is sponsored by the Institute of the Arab World in Paris. Below are excerpts of the interview conducted with him, hours before his departure to Paris “The City Of Demons And Angels” as described by Ibrahim Nagi, a prominent Arab poet.

Q: Mr. Eric when was your first visit to Yemen?
A: I was here during the eighties of the past century and at the outset of the nineties, I have gone through good and bad moments in Yemen and promise you here to highlight them in another occasion if possible.

Q: We've heard that you are heading a cultural association interested in Yemeni culture; can you give us a glimpse of it?
A: Being deeply interested in Yemeni culture in general I have established an association and named it ” Le Cercle Franco-Yemenite”.

Q: Could you describe the cultural event that has necessitated this visit to Sana'a?
A: I am here to follow-up the participation of the Yemeni singer Al-Morshedi in a cultural event that is due to take place on 19 June 2004.

Q: Al-Morshedi alone?
A: Well, you know that Al-Morshedi is one of Yemen's most prominent living singers and of course he shall be accompanied by Mr. Rushdi Abduljalil and a band of musicians from Hadramaout, although I had hoped for the participation of others, who for one reason or another, will not be able to show up.

Q: Your association is solely involved in the preparation of this project, or there are others?
A: In addition to “Le Cercle Franco-Yemenite”, there is “CEFAS” headed by Mr. Jean Lambert. As for sponsors, there will be Yemenia and Tihama Tractors amongst others.

Q: Which areas will receive the revenue of this event?
A: Obviously there will be charity sales and the revenue will be allocated to assisting Yemeni students in France.

Q: Having visited Yemen in the early eighties, what are your current impressions?
A: Well, during the eighties Sana'a was less crowded and the people had a better standard of living. Nowadays I have noticed that it has grown larger and thus become more crowded. It lacks the urban services necessary for a city of such magnitude. Unfortunately, the utilities present are designed for the time being, not for the future. Projects should be sustainable and last for a long time to come. I hope that this aspect will receive more attention.

Q: So, Bon voyage! And we are awaiting your promise of a full interview about your experience in Hajja prison?
A: Well, O.K. d'accord.