Published On: Fri, Apr 24th, 2015

Cain slew Abel, the sons of Adam

dekker_0In the battle fields of Aden, Yemen, flowed blood, a lot of blood. The battle arena was full of fearless warriors, agrarians, coffee and khat farmers, on one side, and pastoral Arabs, with goats, camels and oil, on the other.

Who in the world does not know the rich Mocha coffee from the green mountains of South West Yemen, and khat, the local popular daily drug to millions, of a Horn of Africa flowery plant, that contains a monoamine alkaloid, cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant?

The scene was so very familiar to many Muslims, Jews and Christians. These battlefields were the very same fields where, according to religious myth, Cain, the agrarian son of Adam, the eldest son who tilted the earth, slew the pastoralist, the sheep herder, his younger brother Abil. The first fratricide repeated itself, year after year ever since.

The group named after their leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, launched an insurgency in 2004, to pressure the corrupt central government of Yemen for equal treatment. Once oil was discovered in the barren south, in Hadramaut and near Shabwa, the Green Yemen, the Arabia Felix, no longer mattered. The center of power shifted away from local chiefs who had engaged for countless generations in coffee and khat farming, to oil parvenus who were in all matters for sale.

Yemeni army forces killed Al-Houthi that very September of 2004. Led by his successor, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the group succeeded in a coup d'état in 2014–15 and again in April 2015. Proud Houthis were no longer ready to be humiliated by their oil-rich brethern of the south.

Eudaemon---meaning blissful, prosperous in Greek Antiquity---- , Anglicized to Aden, and once important to the West as a coal and water harbor for British steam ship from India to the Suez canal, became the blood soaked soil of fratricide.

And God said, “And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth” (Genesis 4:11-12). Abil’s grave may be lost in the fast wilderness surrounding Aden, but his blood is everywhere.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker, opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle.

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