He had told me to turn left in the hallway, to walk up the stairs to the first floor and to meet him in his sitting room. He apologized for this - as he felt - rather unsuitable way to welcome a guest, but after he had been hit by a motorbike and been severely injured, he found it difficult to get up and down the stairs. This attack on him had happended about a month before I met him at his house in the Yemeni capital Sana'a in April 2012. He had stepped out into the street after a meeting, it was dark, but the guy on the motorbike aimed deliberately at him and run him down. The guy on the motorbike was never identified. In that night, however, Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil, then 73, managed to escape death.
When I came up to the masraf, the sitting room, the sun was just breaking through the colored glass window turning the rows of books on the shelf beneath into a shimmering light.
I remember that I was surprised how quiet it was. There were no generators humming. Electricity must have been on again. Dr. Mohammed Al-Mutawakil sat crouched on the cushions on the floor.