By Tamjid Alkohali
No doubt that Yemen is a rich country with its culture and arts since the ancient history. It has different arts, traditional songs, folk crafts, dances, and popular fashion.
However, unfortunately, Yemeni culture today in all its kind have become surrounded by darkness after it was prominent for all world. In case it wants to appear, it faces a plenty of difficulties and obstacles, which makes it return back to the old dark days again.
The cultural heritage along with old traditions and customs are about to be forgotten by all people Yemen. The same case is applied for theaters and cinemas which become deserted and new singers chant only the songs of the past.
So, What has changed? What are the difficulties that face artists, actors, and creators, and who is the responsible of these difficulties? what are the solutions?.
All these question and more were answered through the first cultural and art conference (CAC) which was held between October 28th to 30th with the participation of more than 30 cultural people of actors, artists, singers, writers and so on.
In first day of the conference, some of the Prominent figures in the cultural field gave their opinions about the current cultural situation in Yemen.
Fuad Al-shargabi, the composer and music distributor, considered this cultural and art conference as an excellent chance to reproduce the outputs of the National Dialogue Conference(NDC).
“the outputs of NDC included many sides of the political, economic, and social issues for about ten months. However, the culture and arts didn’t have a suitable presence in the conference agenda.
Al-Shargabi talked about, the importance of the conference which give it an important role for intellectuals and artists in the coming period. “this importance increases when the political leaders forget the past and look forward the future led by the intellectuals who have the will and dream to change.”
Al-Shargabi said, intellectuals should work away from politicians and they should have a big area of freedom, freedom of thought and freedom of speech also the right to express without fear of violence and blasphemy.
In the same context, searcher Essam Al-Qaisi said that usually the free cultured person faces two kinds of obstructions in the Yemeni society, political and doctrinal .
” I said a doctrinal obstruction not religious because it’s impossible that the religion stands as a obstruction in front of the human’s freedom. However the owners of the doctrines (religion scholars) feel danger when they are criticized, so they start attacking the intellectuals through accusing them with infidelity and distorting the religion.” Al-Qaisi explained.
Regarding to the political obstruction Al-Qaisi said that there is a long history of conflict between the free intellectual and the despotic and corrupt power.
“the free cultured person is as the person who has flashlight to reveal the works of the ruler that are implementing in the dark.”
According to Al-Qaisi, there are measures taken by the ruler against the free cultured person, such as the policy of marginalization, deprivation of employment opportunities and media lights.
Al-Qaisi added that these unjust measures led to deteriorate the culture and make the cultured person just a voice without audience, where the audience was divided into supporters for parties and political figures.
Recently, The Yemeni cultured suffers from the lack of attention and support. The cultural activities hold rarely where they became as the seasonal need.
Dr. Ibtisam al-Mutawakkil, a member in the cultural and art conference, said that the cultural events are considered a tangible proof for the existence of cultural institutions and their interaction with the environment.
” Cultural institutions must be non-profit so, they depend on the voluntary work and volunteers. in fact, those volunteers are rare in a society, big number of them are unemployed.” She continued, ” in case there are volunteers, unfortunately they are not qualified as well as they don’t have experiences in the cultural field.”
Al-Mutawakkil added that the cultural events are seasonal, they are for media promotion and achieving the aims without realizing that culture is a bridge for crossing towards social and economic and political issues.
after the four groups, who represented all concerned ministries and organizations in culture, have discussed the problems of culture in Yemen , they have offered recommendations and solutions to these problems, wishing a thriving culture in future as it was in the past.