written on the walls

November 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm 1 comment

Here are some writings and drawings on some walls in Aden, Yemen 

I never saw anybody writing or drawing on walls, but I think it’s safe to assume that the authors and artists are children and teenagers.

Some of the drawings are very symbolic. I’ll leave the analyses to you.

Where possible, I have translated some of the Arabic words and phrases. Some don’t need translation.



The brick wall featured above is the outer wall of Qala’a Seera, or Seera Castle, an Ottoman (or Portuguese) fort perched on a small mountain. The fort looks over the Aden Gulf on one side and the Seera and Crater districts of Aden on another. Lots of young people come up here to chew qat and take in the view (and a few couples come up here despite the stares). 





Skull and crossbone stuff in Aden is more popular than you might imagine; air fresheners, t-shirts, jewelry, etc. The Arabic words written around the image are names of the artist(s) and their friends, I think. 





A Kalashnikov with bayonet on the right. The writing, from the top left and down, is hard to read, but a few words say: “al Jihad..Hamas…men of Palestine” and the name “Othman” in the bottom right corner.


The word ‘Gaza’ is written on the upper left, next to what appears to be a military helicopter. ‘The Arabs’ is written below and to the left of ‘Gaza’, near what looks like a faucet. 


Hey Arabic readers, can any of you decipher this?


Again, I had some trouble with the Arabic, but this is quite possibly a rendering of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Drawings of the Dome, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, appear on walls throughout the city. img_5990Here’s another example of the Dome of the Rock. The word ‘Palestine’ is written across the dome. 


These words are printed on a few walls across the street from a beach. It may be a private school or group. The word “Allah” is painted to the right.


Soccer is wildly popular in Yemen, but the Yemeni national club is nothing to write home about. According to embarrassed locals, the players chew too much Qat and chain smoke. European and South American clubs are very popular. On this wall, Arsenal gets a transcontinental shout out. 

 Kids and young adults play soccer just about anywhere it is possible to do so. One group of students I know practices on a ‘field’ that consists of two iron pipes at either end of a long, open dirt space covered with jagged rocks. The field sits atop a British-era landfill. 



Entry filed under: Mediascape, Yemen. Tags: , , .

Dear Prez-Elect

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Matt  |  February 5, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Ben,

    Great blog you have here? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you work with AMIDEAST? I have just been hired and I’m gathering from an e-mail I got from Nafisa and your site that we are going to be roommates. Drop me an e-mail when you get the chance: mattjd43@yahoo.com

    Take care!


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