The Hidden Yemeni Beauty


Open a new window now and google “Socotra” – one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been to. Socotri people are not only as hospitable as the mainland people but also very open.

Seeing me approaching with a male tour guide, this girl in the picture stood up to her feet, came rushing to stop us on the road and started talking with both her hands and her body. She then wanted to send my tour guide back to the camp site so she could invite me home. Later on my tour guide told me he was actually……well,…scared. He has realized that with the revolution girls have turned somewhat less conservative. He has never seen someone that open before.

After months of traveling in the Middle East, I have learned that the black veil can easily mislead our opinions. Until now I still can not get used to the fact that all my Yemeni girl friends came to visit me like a big shadow devoid of identity. The moment they step inside, black abayas are taken off and they turn out to be very modern young people with perfect English. They know the lines of most MTV hits, they sometimes swear like a rapper, dance like Beyoncé and at the same time they can engage in serious debates and discussion of the most sensitive topics such as homosexuality and prostitution. The youth that started the revolution in Yemen may look like oppressed women according to Western perceptions, but they are exceptionally brave. Look at what they have achieved: A transition to new power without violence – the only peaceful Arab spring so far in the region.

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Thank you for following me here on the Cultural Detective blog! I am a proud member of this team, and co-author of Cultural Detective Vietnam. I am in the midst of a journey that traces the path of Islam, from its origins as it spread outward around our planet. You can follow my journey daily in Facebook or via my blog.

One thought on “The Hidden Yemeni Beauty

  1. Pingback: The “Veil” in Tunisia | Cultural Detective Blog

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