Socotra: The diachronic value of multi-cultural societies (1-2) [Archives:2004/783/Last Page]

October 21 2004

By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
The importance of Socotra according to the Periplus of the Red Sea, and considerations of the groundbreaking role Yemen can play in the Global World of Education
In a series of previous articles, we insisted on the importance of historical culture preservation, on the stimulation given to the national development by the Humanities, on eventual breakthroughs in the Yemenite educational system, and on ways of seeking cultural authenticity and creative historicity.
The current globalization is an excellent opportunity for many countries left behind, and this is because, whereas in the colonial world only some parts of the earth matter, in the global world all parts matter. This is the great difference between reactionary Europe and progressive America.
France needs Algeria engulfed in civil war, Syria interfering in Lebanon, Iran ruined by the Ayatollahs, and Abyssinia plunged into disastrous totalitarianism and oppression of most of its peoples.
America on the contrary wants to release the real, great forces of the peripheral countries of Asia and Africa, Europe and Oceania. Liberal deregulated post-Reagan America does not view the world as a static cake for which one fights to strip the other of the portion the other owns. Particularly in the 90s, after the collapse of the opposite, Marxist – Leninist, ideology, America gave us excellent proofs that the American method to address the global needs for genuine Growth and ultimate Development is the vision of the dynamic cake.
Briefly, the American way is the following: “You will not try to extirpate my 30% portion of the global cake, and I will not attempt to deprive you of your 10% share; we will work together to increase the entire, global, cake from 100% to 500%. It will be a fivefold increase for you and the same for me! Why fighting against each other and registering loss, since we all can record a great augmentation of our wealth?”
One may find the method as quantitative, but it has a qualitative dimension as well! Peace, global cooperation, and mutual understanding, authentic respect for the other are all there! We have full proof that the developments go towards this direction. Afro-centrism was born in American universities; Black Athena of Martin Bernal emanated from the American university milieus; Eduard Said, the famous Palestinian scholar who contributed a lot to our understanding of Cultural Colonialism thanks to his renowned 'Orientalism', is – truly speaking – 'prohibited bibliography' in Europe. Whereas America came up with all these vital steps of progress in the direction of a more holistic understanding of the History of the Mankind, Europe persists in its divisive policies of colonial and racist character, sticks to the erroneous and obsolete Greco-Romano-centrism, and – turning even worse – expresses, through the mouth of Valerie Giscard d' Estaing, a total rejection of Turkey's future adhesion to the European Union.
What can a positive action of the Muslim World, of the Third World, of the Orient and/or of the South be? In this article, we will continue our effort to delve in the Ancient History of Yemen by means of the text of the Periplus of the Red Sea, and we will then examine what the target of a national Yemenite effort in the sector of Higher Education should be.
Completing the entire narratives about Yemen, at the end of the description of the Hadhramawti state of the 'Frankincense – bearing Country', the Alexandrian Egyptian author of the Periplus of the Red Sea refers to the island of Socotra, the Island of Dioskourides as he does name it (in Greek: Dioscouridou Nesos). Quite interestingly, the text does not mention at all the other islands of the Socotran Archipelago, Abdel Kuri, Samha, and Darsa.