Rebels Turn To Poetry In Battle For Yemeni Hearts

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are increasingly traditional poetry to call for support in a “soft war” against the Saudi-backed government, as strict interpretations of Islam have outlawed most forms of music. I’m looking at.

A short form of poetry, known as zawamil, is a highly beloved part of the Yemeni tribal heritage and is performed or performed at weddings and other social occasions.

By the hands of the Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sana’a and much of the north, they have become a means of military band and publicity to the government’s Gulf Arab and Western supporters.

Zawamil is popular throughout Yemen-in the south owned by the government and in the north owned by the rebels.

However, Sana’a’s rebel government has put a lot of effort into producing it for promotional purposes and has increased it in recent months.

Six years after Saudi-led military intervention forced poor Yemen into a protracted attrition warfare, ground warfare intensified in a bloody battle over the city of Malibu, the government’s last important base in the north.

Iran-backed rebels believe that occupying the city and its surrounding oil fields will give it essential power in negotiations to end the war.

As the number of casualties increased, so did the production of patriotism-themed Zawamil rebels, bringing supporters forward.

Earlier this year, they released a song called “Maribisours” composed by one of the most famous poets, Issa al-Laith, and recorded by their production company.

“Malibu is ours, not the hypocrites who sold your religion and country for (Saudi) Riyal,” the lyrics say.

A similar hymn that accuses the government of being a puppet of Yemen’s wealthy Gulf Arab nations dominates radio waves in rebel-controlled areas.

In addition to millions of views on YouTube and SoundCloud, such compositions are regularly performed at weddings and traditional afternoon gatherings where Yemeni men chew drugs and talk about politics.

According to Ahmed al-Alami, secretary-general of the Arabian Felix Research Center, the Houthi is “the only musical form that the Houthi can tolerate.”

With more casualties on a bloody drive in the strategic northern city of Malibu, Yemeni-backed rebels look to lyric poetry, a form of music they allow to evoke patriotism. I turned it.
AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS

Since the outbreak of the current conflict in 2014, rebels have occupied a large part of the country, which imposes strict rules on clothing, sex separation and entertainment.

The Houthis is a minority follower of the Zaidi faith, a Shiite Islamic branch that incorporates elements of Sunni jurisprudence, and bans all other forms of music as non-Islamic.

“This form of art is largely similar in role and purpose to the energetic national anthems of common jihadist and Muslim groups such as Hezbollah (Lebanon), al-Qaeda, and Hamas (Palestinian Muslim group). “It is,” Alami said.

Many composers and singers in the rebel capital refused to tell AFP about their poetry.

However, the advertising value of Zawamil has not been lost to rebels. A long article posted on the website of their Armasila television station described a short poem as an “intercontinental weapon” in their “soft war” against the government and its allies.

“Thousands of Beethoven couldn’t come up with Sonnet’s word (Zawamil), which Thousands of Shakespeare couldn’t think of,” he said.

In their lyrics, rebel poets take up the cause of Arab popularity, like the revered Al-Axa Mosque, where Palestinians claim East Jerusalem and are the third holy place in Islam. Is often.

In the song “Malibu is ours,” the vocalist urges listeners to “protect the west and eastern lands and free Al-Aqsa from the (Israeli) occupation.”

Until recently, Washington has been a frequent target of poet anger for providing surveillance and refueling assistance to Saudi-led bombing campaigns against rebel-controlled areas.

“Who supported the home strike outside the United States?” Asks a popular poem.

“Who else rang the war bell? How often has it fought us with signals and remote controls, and today it comes to us with the Arabs as its guards.”

Arami said their achievements were less organized than the rebels, but government supporters responded in their own way.

Their national anthem, “Free People in Malibu,” released late last year, also appeals to Yemeni nationalism, but rebels are portrayed as unpatriotized by taking control of the ideology from Iran. ..

It calls the rebels the “grandchildren” of Iran’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and promises that the Yemeni army will “teach them lessons.”

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