Traveling Round The World for Peace [Archives:2000/19/Culture]
On 8 April 2000, Yemeni travelers Ahmed Al-Kasimi and Ali Al-Kadi arrived in New Delhi, capital of India from Pakistan as a part of their journey around the world.
One might ask about the goal behind such a journey, who supports it, why they chose camels as their means of transportetc. To answer all these questions the Yemen Times had the following interview with the Yemeni travelers:
Q: Why did you decide to make such a journey?
A: We chose to make this journey after we have made a serious plan and studied all information based on previous travels. Our first journey was to Sultanate of Oman on foot. The second was around the Arab World in 1994 & 1995 where we rode on camels and, finally, this which is our third journey. I would like to mention here that we are the Yemen track and field champions and have represented Yemen international events more than once. As for the goal of this journey, we wanted to revive travel traditions of our ancestors who had made several journeys and propagated the message of Islam. In our turn, we carry a message of the Yemeni people in an attempt to make the world recognize its civilization and history.
Q: Who is financing this journey? And is it enough?
A: This journey is personal and it is more of a hobby that we have been practicing for a long time. However, after planning, printing brochures and flags and buying the camels, the Yemeni government, represented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, supported us. We have also received some help from President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh. They supported us because they knew that the journey has humanitarian and national goals and that it would portray an excellent image of Yemen in other countries. Therefore, if we face some difficulties in our journey, we are confident that they would be there to help us because we represent all Yemenis and Arabs.
Q: What places have you visited until now and where are you heading for next?
A: Our journey starts from Saudi Arabia and will include Kuwait, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore before it ends in Sydney, Australia, where the 2000 Olympics will be held. We plan to arrive there on camels to attract people’s attention who would see the spectacular end of this journey through every channel that covers this international sports event.
As far as the difficulties we faced, they were many. For example, Iran refused to grant us permission to enter with the camels more than once, so we had to change the route of our journey to Pakistan. In addition, we experienced hard times in finding ships to carry our camels during our sea voyage and were asked to pay large sums of money, causing a lot of frustration. However, we were able to bear all these hurdles and pains. Moreover, there have been many attempts to rob us of our possessions. We had also a traffic accident in India. Fortunately, we had few bruises and we were treated in the hospital. Anyway, we continued our journey and our embassy in India encouraged us greatly. We have given several interviews to some newspapers and TV channels such as MBC.
Concerning our protection, we ask God for protection. We carry a first-aid kit with us besides some torches, daggers, axes and our camels. We consider our camels the best weapon that we have because all wild animals fear it.
We have chosen camels because our ancestors used them and they symbolize our heritage. Furthermore, we wear traditional clothes during press interviews such as “Al-Maktab”, “Al-Wishah”, “Al-Lohafah” and “Al-Aseeb”.
In addition to all that, we carry ordinary and video cameras which we use to shoot interesting scenes in villages, cities, deserts or forests that we pass through. We have also been taking notes of what we saw during our journey and we are thinking of publishing a small book talking about our experience. Finally, we hope, if God wills, that our journey would break the world record for journeys in the contemporary history.