Updated: Aug 17
Mohammed Murshed is a Yemeni American Visual Artist that investigates colonialism, imperialism, sexism, and racism. He tries to capture his memories in Yemen. Using different mediums encouraged him to push his experience to a different level without being labeled a political activist. Telling his narrative made him an activist. He uses art as a tool to visualize his trauma by creating art in different mediums to heal his PTSD from the mental wounds that he inherited due to war.
Murshed quote, "The didactic of war showed us that war doesn't discriminate. Often affected by war are women and children."
The Exile of Mawza.
The Exile of Yemenite Jews from 1679–1680.
It's the most traumatic event experienced collectively by the Jews of Yemen. Jews were living in nearly all cities and towns throughout Yemen.
Then they were banished by decree of the king, Imam al-Mahdi Ahmad, and sent to a dry area of the country named Mawzaʻ to face their fate or to die.
In 1949-50 "Operation Magic Carpet" brought the majority of the Jews of Yemen to Israel through secret co-operation between the Imam of Yemen, the British colonial rulers of Aden, the Israeli Government, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). During June 1949 and September 1950, they brought 49,000 Yemenite Jews to the new state of Israel.
Operation Magic Carpet 1949-50
Man who witnessed these events, Shalem 'Ashri, also wrote a poem about the Exile of Mawzaʻ, now preserved in the Yemenite Diwān.
Poem: "I Shall Shed My Tears"
"I shall shed my tears – like rain they shall pour down / over all the pleasant sons who have gone forth into exile. They have forgotten what pertains to their happiness, and have also been diminished. / They journeyed in haste; along the parched ground they trod. On the day when 'Uzal (i.e. Sana'a) went into exile, they took up his burden. The sun and the moon were extinguished at their departure! A multitude of the handmaid's sons have ruled over them. / Wrath, and also jealousy, they've poured out upon them. So that they have inherited all of the glory, even their sublime honour! Whilst the dwelling place of God's glory, they have been given power to destroy! Midrash, as also the Talmud and the Torah, they have abolished. / Constable and elder were, both, drawn away by their hands. Orion and Pleiades, as well as the crescent moon, have become dim! / Even all the luminous lights, their light has turned into darkness! The beauty of their homes and their money they had entirely looted. / Every oppressor and every governor have prepared their bow for shooting. Preserve, O Master of the universe, those who are your peculiar friends, / Hadoram (i.e. Dhamar) God's congregation, have been drawn after you! The heads of their academies have borne patiently the exile, / to do even the will of God, having valued the commandments. Redeem, O Master of the universe, your friends who have inherited / the Divine Law and sound wisdom, by which they have been blest! For the honour due to the writing of thine own hand on the day when they were gathered,/ may you call to remembrance and deliver them during the time of their flight. My name is Shalem; 'tis written in the locked rhyme. / Rejoice in God's Divine Law, and bless His name!"
אזיל דמעותי כמטר יזלו / על כל בני חמדה בגלות הלכו. נשו לטובתם וגם נתדלדלו / נסעו בחפזון בציה דרכו. יום גלתה אוזל וסבלו סבלו / שמש וירח בצאתם נדעכו. שפעת בני אמה עליהם משלו / חמה וגם קנאה עליהם שפכו. לכלל יקר הדרת כבודם נחלו / ומעון כבוד האל להחריב נמלכו. מדרש וגם תלמוד ותורה בטלו / שוטר וגם זקן ידיהם משכו. עיש וגם כימה וסהר אפלו / גם כל מאורי אור מאורם חשכו. את כל נאות ביתם וכספם שללו / כל צר וכל מושל לקשתם דרכו. שמרה אדון עולם ידידים נסגלו / הדורם עדת האל אחריך נמשכו. ראשי ישיבתם לגלות סבלו / לעשות רצון האל ומצות ערכו. יגאל אדון עולם ידידים נחלו / תורה ותושיה ובה נתברכו. לכבוד כתב ידך ביום שנקהלו / תזכר ותצילם בעת יתהלכו. שלם שמי כתוב בחרוזים ננעלו / שמחו בתורת אל ולשמו ברכו.
JDC Emigration Service Index Cards: Warsaw Office, 1945 https://www.jri-poland.org/jdc-emigration-service-index-cards-warsaw-office.htm
Gargush - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargush.
Mawza Exile. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://thereaderwiki.com/en/Mawza_Exile
Ministry of immigrant absorption, Israel: “On Eagles’ Wings” – Aliyah from Yemen (1949).
Operation Magic Carpet (Yemen). (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Operation_Magic_Carpet_(Yemen)
PNCA: Events: Time to draw the line. https://cal.pnca.edu/e/2902
Sefer Hashirim Hagadol – The Large Song Book,Shalom Shabazi(ed. Yosef Hasid), Jerusalem 1976, p. 51, s.v. אזיל דמעותי כמטר יזלו (Hebrew)
Yehudah Ratzaby, Galut Mawzaʻ, Sefunot (Volume Five), Ben-Zvi Institute: Jerusalem 1961, p. 79 (Hebrew).
Yosef Yuval Tobi, "Attitude of the Muslim Authority in Yemen to the Jewish Messianic Movements," in: Ascending the Palm Tree – An Anthology of the Yemenite Jewish Heritage, Rachel Yedid & Danny Bar-Maoz (ed.), E'ele BeTamar: Rehovot 2018, p. 135