By Tamjid Alkohali
After long suffering from an inability to distribute their works, the communications revolution has opened many doors for Yemeni artists, writers, and visionaries.
Yemeni poet Laila Elhan said that she still remembers the difficulties which she faced upon publishing her first book in Jordan.
“That was more than fifteen years ago. It wasn’t an easy thing. I offered my poems, along with poems of many poets. But the committee chose a few poems to place inside books for publication, though the other poems weren’t less beautiful.”
Elhan added that she was writing a lot of poems, including one in al-Thawra newspaper every week, but it was also difficult to attend cultural events. This meant that she didn’t get read in the mainstream for quite some time.
However, it has gotten easier with social networking and other technologies.
“The best social networking site for me is Twitter for it includes selection from great writers and prominent personalities. Through Twitter, I receive letters of thanks and criticisms from participants and known people. I take advantage of their experiences and their participation.”
Elhan spoke happily about communications revolution, emphasizing that it has many advantages despite the lack of oversight.
“In social networking sites there isn’t oversight, but this isn’t dangerous for me, because I believe that the style of the poet doesn’t disappear.”
Novelist and playwright Monir Talal confirmed the importance of the communications revolution and also social networking sites, saying that the sites have bypassed the previous difficulties of access and attendance.
“Contact sites such as literary sites, forums, groups, and social networking sites have facilitated active participation in literary texts, poetry, and narratives, as well as wider attendance, especially outside cultural events which are difficult for some writers to attend due to several obstacles.”
“They also have facilitated the process of communication between members of the same society and other societies, improving writers and refine their talents.”
On other hand, Talal says that despite the advantages of the communications revolution, it has led to change in style and meaning, in which there has emerged similarity in ideas and visions.
“The writings today whether in poems, stories, or a plays aim to discuss the social problems in an overly simple way, adding to the disappearance of many rules and laws of writing, which has led to the emergence of thousands of young writers.”
Talal emphasized that if there are disadvantages, though, they pale in comparison to the many advantages. Poet and critic Ibrahim Talha said that the communications revolution has limitless advantages, especially in bypassing printing and traditional media which is affected by political conflicts.
Poet Nabil Alqans says that through the new technologies, writers can find a new scene and connect with their audience in new terms.
“All these things encourage the writer to give more and to continue their creative career.”
Writer and critic Ali Ahmed Abdo Kassem is more critical, saying that writers often don’t take advantage of the technologies because they steal time, effort, and creative energy.
“The writer who wants to make his mark forever should stick to books, because networking sites won’t document their writing.”
Kassem adds that many writers lose their creative works because of random publications that don’t credit them, adding to the lack of monetary assistance and support from Yemeni society and institutions.