The Yemeni Center for Studies held a symposium on “Yemen’s Identity and History of the State” yesterday evening, Saturday, via the . platform ZOOMAs part of the launch of the center’s cultural and program map for this year 2022 AD, which is devoted to discussing the state and its concepts in Yemen, the symposium included recommendations, the most important of which was inviting researchers and interested people to contribute, participate and carry out the research process in Yemeni political history in various Yemeni eras, documenting these stages and coming up with conclusions that can be used in the answer. On the question of the state, drawing the features of the future, as well as focusing on the issue of identity on the basis of which the state is built, in addition to focusing on the state and its concepts in the various political trends in Yemen, and coming up with concepts that reconcile everyone, and the recommendations included inviting active community movements to build bridges of cultural convergence with The various cultural and social sectors in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, to remove and dissolve the sectarian and racist barriers that some are trying to put between the components of a single society.
The symposium included two main axes, the first was entitled (History and Identity in Old Yemen) presented by Professor Arif Ahmed Al-Mikhlafi, Professor of History of the Ancient East and the Arabian Peninsula at the Universities of Sana’a and Umm Al-Qura, in which he touched on identity in the ancient Yemeni state, and said that it transcends generations and eras, and has not changed with change. Circumstances and passions, the diverse geography between the plains, mountains, coasts and deserts, as well as the environment and climatic diversity helped in the formation of identity. integration and the necessity of coexistence, adding that this coexistence has transferred experiences, bounties, simulation and learning throughout Yemen.
Professor Al-Mikhlafi pointed out the similarity between the systems of governance in ancient Yemen, “it is a unified system in all the kingdoms of ancient Yemen” and the reason is due to the unity of identity, culture, human being, society, thought and religion, pointing to the existence of a distinction between those systems in the methods of administration and governance, the system of governance was a participatory hereditary system , there is a king and the same word is given to his brother or son who will rule after him, there was no crown prince, there was no first man and a second man, but they are in the same place, which facilitated the sharing of rule and its smooth transition, and this is a system that was unique and shared by kingdoms In ancient Yemen, the regimes of government were characterized by shura. There are shura councils called; The mullah, the masoud, the muthamah, the cohabitation, each kingdom has an advisory council, and the reason for this is due to the ties of identity, culture and one thought. The local government controls, there is an integrated system in terms of consultations, security control, and the management and control of the state’s economic resources, and the local council represents the people. The systems of government in the Yemeni kingdoms were based on hierarchy, harmony, and integrated precision, and all of this came through societal integration.
The professor of ancient history stressed that the ancient kingdoms in Yemen knew the systems of legislation, enactment of laws, and informing the community of them, by publishing them in places of population centers and markets, so that they would be known by society, as was the case in the Kingdom of Qataban, and each king had a special employee called (Maud), who is Nadim or the king’s friend and special advisor, and each Yemeni kingdom was distinguished by its own works that distinguished it from others; The Kingdom of Ma’in was characterized by the development of the economic system, as it developed new economic settlements outside its geographical borders, and reached the establishment of a settlement in Dedan in Al-Ula and on the island (Delos) in Greece, while the Kingdom of Sheba was distinguished in building dams and unifying the state, and the Kingdom of Qataban was characterized by enacting laws, organizing the economy and establishing The markets, and the distinction of the Kingdom of Hadhramaut with the regulation of ports and the improvement of frankincense and incense production farms, adding that the economic aspect has strengthened the identity aspect in Yemeni society and made it trans-generational. A kingdom prevents another from commercial traffic through its lands, as the economy is a common pillar for all.
Dr. Aref said that the vocabulary of the inscriptions was the same in the various Yemeni kingdoms, with different dialects, the terms of trade and agriculture are also the same, as well as the administrative nomenclature and the job are unified in the various Yemeni political systems, meaning there is a unified thought and one identity for all, and the same Yemeni identity was noted in arts and fashion, Sculpture is also the same forms, and social life with its collective memory is made up of the simplest particles of daily life, expands to colleges, takes root in minds and forms the collective identity of all people, just as the line of the Musnad with its one writing was not different in different kingdoms, the literary and social texts are one and the same culture, in addition to The customs and traditions were close and there was no difference between them, the political names were nothing but a distinction of the political systems, but the society maintained its unity and identity, despite the occurrence of some wars between the ancient Yemeni kingdoms that led to the weakening of the state, but the identity restored society to its strength, and the strong state was rebuilt. After the stage of weakness, and the royal title in the era of the Kingdom of Sheba and Dhi Raydan represents the collector of the names of all the Yemeni kingdoms in a way that does not mean control as much as it means belonging to All the names that are in it, (King of Sheba, Dhu Raydan, Hadramawt, Yamant, and their Arabs in the heights and Altahim).
The professor of ancient history added that religion in ancient Yemen reinforced identity, as the names of deities appeared next to the name of God in the inscriptions, meaning that religion was not one of the factors of conflict in Yemeni society, but rather one of the factors of coexistence among the ancient Yemenis.
In it, he will tell us about the one societal, cultural and civilized component in this part of the world, which defined the state, federation, and shura, not to mention trade, agriculture, and the political history of southern Arabia.
The second topic was entitled (The Yemeni State We Want) presented by Professor Nabil Al-Bukiri, writer and researcher in political thought, democracy issues and studies of the Middle East and North Africa. He noted that the idea of the state in Yemen is an old idea that was linked to the presence of Yemenis and their ancient activities from trade to agriculture, adding that the idea of the modern state arose in the thirties of the last century when free people formulated concepts of national action through their declared blocs, which were formed in Cairo and Aden, where they put The new concept of the homeland and the national state, the national movement at that stage was seeking the existence of a national state in its modern sense, adding that the February 17, 1948 revolution created the idea of the constitution, which was not an easy idea that clashed with the idea of the Imamate and the divine right to rule, so the Imamate distorted the idea of the constitution and rumored that it was an abbreviation of the Qur’an And the idea of the constitution was later developed by the free people while they were in Hajjah prison, and they came up with the idea of the republic in 1956 AD, which is a new formula for the future regime.
The researcher Al-Bukairy pointed out that the state exists in the thought of the Yemenis in its popular, mass and participatory concept, and the term “people” appeared in the ancient Yemeni inscriptions. The concept of the state has become entrenched in the contemporary time among Yemenis, and the reason is due to the failure of the ruling elites to consolidate the concepts of the state and the republic. He stressed that the most appropriate system for the Yemeni situation today is represented in the discussions about the concept of the republic that began in the middle of the last century until this moment, indicating that there is no alternative to the republic in Yemen. In his rule, a family or a family, and this has not happened since ancient times, meaning that the republic is the epitome of a great national struggle, in addition to democracy, which is the essence of the republican system in Yemen. There is no republic without democracy.
Al-Bukiri added that the failure of the political elite that came to power in the formation of the state has negatively affected the Yemeni unity, and that the idea of a pluralistic democratic national state is a core idea, and the failure of the ruling elites in the last stage does not mean the failure of this core idea, and today’s talk about any reconciliation and national peace Among the Yemenis should not exceed republic, democracy and unity.
The head of the Yemeni Center for Studies had initially welcomed the symposium’s guests, academics, researchers and interested participants, and indicated that the center during the coming period will work to answer the state’s question with many seminars and discussion panels to reach conclusions that serve to frame and control the concept of the Yemeni state, and how to benefit from The Yemeni heritage accumulated through the ages in this field, explaining that there is no fear for the Yemeni identity despite everything that is being plotted against it. Economic and agricultural systems should not be called this term, which may pertain to a specific stage, and may refer to certain small groups, and does not mean Yemen and its civilization that extends throughout history.
The symposium was presented by the writer, poet Majid Al-Sami’i, and technically moderated by director Ali Al-Hussam.