Yemen

21st May 2009: Strange Country

With a fist through the wall. Kamal Makrami, 48, still sometimes feels a little strange in the north. Photo: Klaus Heymach
With a fist through the wall. Kamal Makrami, 48, still sometimes feels a little strange in the north. Photo: Klaus Heymach
Whenever Kamal Makrami drives into the mountains from the sea, he still sometimes feels a little as though he is travelling to a different country. “The North and South were separated for so long that two different peoples came into being.” Some tribal traditions, the role of religion and the position of women in the north are still alien to a man from Aden today. Yet the artist often embarks on the trip to Sanaa.

“If I want to buy paint or canvas, I have to come to Sanaa. If I want to put on an exhibition, I have to apply for it in Sanaa. I grew up in an Aden that was the capital of the south. Today it feels like a small town.”

The socialists didn’t have better politics back then, says the 48 year-old. “But women didn’t have to go round shrouded like tents. Women and men were the same. A lot of things have changed for us – for the worse.” So much so that in the south now some people want to reverse the unification. While Sanaa celebrated the national holiday this year with a military parade, fireworks and a chorus of horns, people died in Aden when the security forces broke up a demonstration.

Will Yemen succeed in perfecting its unity? “There is only one way out”, Makrami is convinced. “The rulers must think about their country. They simply have to consider: What we’re doing – is it good for our country or just good for us? Then we’ll find the solution, I’m quite sure.”

    Travel Journal Jemen

    Klaus Heymach
    From 20th until 24th of May, journalist Klaus Heymach spent a few days with the bricks in Yemen, and wrote a travel journal on the artists, the design of the bricks and the country.

    Klaus Heymach works as a journalist in Berlin. In 2005 he went to Sanaa as a freelance correspondent, rented a house in the old town and learnt Arabic. Now he has had his book published – Post Box Sanaa. Ein Jahr im Jemen (Post Box Sanaa. A year in Yemen).

    20th May 2009: Sanaa
    21st May 2009: Sanaa
    22nd May 2009: Sanaa
    23rd May 2009: Sanaa
    24th May 2009: Sanaa