Yemen

The Republic of Yemen ( before and after the unification ), has forever been a unique example of a genuine Arab country, geographically situated at the periphery of West Asia, looking back at long standing traditions reflected in the people and the history. Although twice exposed to Turkish occupations the country had never fallen a victim to Western colonialism (the British Protectorate only covered the South and never reached Taiz, the temporary former residence of the Imams, nor Sana´a, the present metropolis), had thus never been under the influence of Western lifestyles and languages. The Imams have become famous for their authoritative execution of power, vehemently objecting foreign ideas. This attitude substantially contributed to maintaining an unaltered, undiluted Arab way of living. The Yemeni people have remained an intrinsically Arab society dedicated to tradition: the women consider themselves as descendants of the Queen of Sheba with every third being named Bilquis, men have never stopped bearing the Jambiyya (curved dagger) although with a mobile phone now dangling next to it in the belt. Scholarships to American universities are eagerly accepted but graduates return home 100 percent Yemeni citizens. Female students having got accustomed to “free life” abroad, dress traditionally upon returning and smoothly resume the old behavioural patterns. All this combined with admirable tolerance and understanding for foreign guests and visitors who are most welcome everywhere but are never imitated.

The designation “Felix Arabia” had been chosen for this country by the Greek and/ or the Romans because of the mild climate and the fabulous abundance of spices and agricultural products. The expedition sent by Emperor Augustus to Felix Arabia met with disastrous consequences. A treacherous guide had led the troops astray, they reached South Arabia after groping their way through arid territory, completely exhausted, ill and discouraged. It is rumoured that researchers meet with similar deceptions nowadays if not entering the country with honest intentions. A Yemeni made fun of because of his backwardness will be delighted to give a conceited foreigner a runaround and entrust him with “Incredible” nonsensical facts readily adopted by the media …

A traditional myth reads: When God distributed wealth and resources on earth he completely forgot Yemen. When informed about this oversight he considered the matter for a long time before passing the following decision:” Your endowment will be a clear mind and ingenuity and you will enormously profit from this”.