Written By: Ahmed al-Hasani For Yemen Observer
Article Date: Feb 11, 2012 - 7:15:19 PM
The trip from the enchanting Green Capital of Yemen, Ibb, will not take you long since Odain city lies only 30 kilometers away. You will venture with pleasure through Ibb winding roads, getting lost in the shades of greens and the splendor of the scenery unfolding before your eyes.
As nature is celebrating April and the rebirth of nature, you will soon reach the nightingales of “Wadi al-Door”.
You can enter Odain from the love gate, because it is a town that is guarded by sparrows and fraught by songs. Odain is aYemen’s ultimate romantic city with its history filled with the remnants writings of long gone poets, forever reciting their verses to the wind. And if many say that love is the Universal language it is certainly Odain favored mean of expression.
Only those who fear having malaria shots or those insolent enough to remain unmoved by beauty and poetry are advised to stay away. Like its ever changing climate, Odain peruses in the maze of its feelings, lost in the snow or lavishly enjoying the warmth of the new sun, chanting, its chants and love poems echoed by surrounding birds.
A jewel of nature, Odain is like no other town in Yemen, nestled in between hills and plateaus, this marvel is full of surprises. The plantation also varies from forests to small shrubs. Queen Arwa Bint Ahmed al-Sulihia, actually transferred the wood for building her palace in her capital Jibla, as it is stated in the tourist guide book. The fruits and crops also have their share in variation. There are two products that are only found in Odain, the Tamr Hindi “tamarind” and sugar cane.
One visit to Odain and you can say that you know the whole ofYemen. There you will experience the cold of Thamar, the heat of the coastal areas, the terraces of al-Mahwait and Haja, the superb nature of Otmah, the palms of Hadramout. Like nature the people’s life also varies. In the buildings you will find the thatched houses and the palaces that are surrounded with high walls, that predominated by the architecture of Central areas, with their stone buildings and wooden qamarias (semi cirular arched windows,) or the stony ones which are semi circular or cylindrical.
They differ in their external arabesque and their horizontal projections. They contain the square, the rectangular, the U,T and L shapes. There are also the big villages and the scattered houses. You may not notice the different economic activities, but you may see people who graze animals, manufacturers as well as cultivation, fishing as you see those who make baskets from the straw and those who practice trading and one with a fishing line in Wadi Annah, which is a tributary of Wadi Zabid. One cannot say that he finds all human races but he may meet Caucasians with Asian features, white European with negro features.
What you can be sure of, is that all the characteristics of the Yemeni society, classes, customs, traditions, cultures and religions lived in Odain. There are Jews, Muslims, Ismailis, Hanafis, Ash›ari, Hanablh and Sufis . People here knew how to live in peace.
At the gate of the city you will find the cemetery of Saint Ali Bin Omer which contains the graves of Muslims, Jews and Bonian. Between the grand mosque and the School mosque there use to be al-Habis area where the Jews use to live. In the year 1307h, Sheik Ibrahim Bin Mohsin bought the house of Daud Bin Ishhaq al-Zemi (none Muslim,).
He lived surrounded by the zemis. The house of Musa al-Zemi next to their school which is next to the mosque has also been bought by Mohammed Abdo al-Hozifi, the goldsmith, who despite his old age tells you with a smile of how he learnt his occupation from the Jews, who used to monopolize it in Odain and his memories with them.
He doesn’t believe that one of the Jews who had been in Odain could be a member of the Likud Party. “Inside me I wished that the nationality of those Jews who are protesting against the settlement policy of Sharon would be from the sons of Semho, Zahra Bint Shokr or the other people who used to live in al-Habs area in Odain, which would make this old man very happy.”
They may include Rahil al-Odainia who used to mourn her husband “Samana” gratefully that he died without committing a sin on Saturday. Not far from al-Habs area to the south west there is al-Musha’ra area in which the Muslims and Jews used to live together.
The angry old men say that the graves of the Jews and Banians are under their buildings, which they had hired from the endowment. The hiring of the cemeteries is not a gesture of discrimination against minorities, but it comes within a culture that says the living has the preference to the dead. Jew wedding memories will be one of our next stations with the Jews in the land of (Nightingales)
• Yemen fifty years of diplomacy
• Yemen faces severe food insecurity, says international report
• FEWS warns of severe food insecurity and malnutrition in Yemen
• Yemen southern activists at risk say Amnesty International
• Yemen’s General People’s Congress 30th – Overview of the Ruling Party