A spotlight on Yemen
Far beyond international attention the war in Yemen is entering its fourth year. It's a multi-layered war in which national as well as regional actors are hopelessly entangled, the Saudi military coalition being one of the driving forces. Tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed and a famine of epic dimensions is lingering. The famine is not only due to the lack of food but also of the lack of means to buy food as government employees haven't received any salaries for over two years. That's the layer of economic warfare. So far there is no political will to push for peace negotiations.
And in the midst of this all there are civilians fighting for survival, hope and dignity. One of them is Abdo Ramadan, father of five, manager of a big company in Sana'a. He goes to work every day, even if there is hardly any work to be done. He and his wife struggle desperately to send their kids to school and to uphold the routines of everyday life. To ease his despair Abdo Ramadan seeks refuge in poetry, its rhythms and rhymes. He wrote two poems to publish here and frames them with pictures of his youngest daughters as for him and his wife they are symbols of hope - and of the future of their country.
Aseel (7) is getting ready to face the day. Photo: Abdo Ramadan
SURVIVORS IN HELL
A smile emerges from the lips of
the flames, but
Under the sunlight there is only
Though many doors for entering
There is no out gate.
Starving got bored of being
Too long with no plate.
My sky got freed of shining stars
People no more tolerate.
In my land, peace is
Buried, blood dominates.
Perhaps God has forgotten
My home pains and terminates.
Life will continue
Hope always comes late.
Survival is our destiny
Struggles vanishing have no date.
These pictures were take from the car on the way to work. They show an endless queue of gas cylinders in the middle of a road in the Yemeni capital Sana'a. 1liter gasoline costs 2 US$. Photos: Abdo Ramadan
BUSY DOING NOTHING
We miss being tired of work.
We are eager to get busy doing things
that carries value into our lives.
Fingerprints, punch in and out,
duty hours, weekly offs, leaves,
policies and rules have become
Staff come in regularly and
the violation book is full of dust.
In spite of less value of the income,
the absence of incentives and bonus,
workers insure their attendance,
the only motivation to report for
duty is to have two meals to
lighten the food burden on the
family back home.
No one cares or is interested
to listen or look at Yemenis.
civilisation can't assist in matters
like politics and economy.
No need to feel proud of our past
any more. There are no more visitors
to see our past and grant us the
sense of pride of something related
to our country and nation.
We have fallen into the
globaliszation's complications when
we are still not ready.
When we finally found the loaf and
pencil, corruption fighters started
with stealing that loaf and pencil.
No mercy, no consideration, no
The rabbit is surrounded by the lion,
tiger and wolf, what will be its
Here are only the tears on the left
Here is only the empty stomach
singing the hunger poems.
Here is only the infant, crying beacuse of
less food and milk.
Here is only a dark fate, less fortune
and finally - a blocked tunnel.
All we need is a GAP.
Aseel on her way to school. She is fortunate to still get a piece of bread to get her through the morning. Before the war 1 kg flour cost 80 Yemeni Rial, today it costs 350. 10kg of rice used to cost 3500 Yemeni Rial, ca. 5 US $, nowadays 10 kg cost 10500.
Aseel and her sister Ghaida (10) have great academic and artistic skills. So do their two older sisters. Their brother (2) is still too young to join them to school but is already running around the house like a champion. Photos: Abdo Ramadan