أغنية حب لجزيرة سقطرى

A Love Song to Socotra Island

Amira Al-Sharif

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A Love Song to Socotra Island grew from a search for inspiring and pioneering women who are making their own way in life while confronting the traditions and customs of a male dominated society. This work pays tribute to these women, and to the inner beauty, wisdom, and generosity they emanate in spite of the harsh realities of their lives. Through their courage, we see the strong beauty of their femininity and the key roles they play in our society.

Women in Yemeni society have traditionally had much less power than men. The combination of statutory law, sharia, and traditional tribal practices leave women vulnerable to discrimination and continue to prevent them from obtaining equal rights to men. Socotra Island, a part of Yemen, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean.

Socotra Island, Yemen

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. June 15, 2014 - Every two weeks, Sadiya collects garbage and burns it. She does this to protect her trees and to help keep Detwah Lagoon clean.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 8, 2014 - Little Fish jump out of the water where Sadiya goes fishing. Sadiya walks for more than an hour to reach a good fishing spot. She usually wakes up at four o’clock in the morning to fish and shepherd her goats, returning home hours later around eight or nine to cook and make tea.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 19, 2014 – Sadiya walks barefoot through the shallow waters of the Lagoon to reach her goats in the mountains near her house.

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AHRER WADI, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. June 3, 2014 - Socotrain kids play in Ahrer Wadi in Socotra Island.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 8, 2014 – Sadiya holds a fish that she caught for family to eat for lunch.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 30, 2014 – Sadiya cooks fish in an open-air fire.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 19, 2014 - At midday, Sadiya washes herself in the Arabian Sea. Fresh water is scarce around the lagoon, so Sadiya and her children shower and clean their clothes in the salty water of a well next to their home.

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QARA’A, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. November 8, 2014 - Every weekend, kids from Qara’a play at a beach in a natural harbor on the Indian Ocean.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 7, 2014 – One of Sadiya's birds flies into a tree after eating food off the ground. Two blackbirds come to Sadiya’s house every day for food and follow her wherever she goes.

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QADEEB, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. June 12, 2014 - The ground is bloodstained after 100 goats were slaughtered for a wedding celebration.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 8, 2014 - Sadiya holds a sea creature in the coral reef. Sadiya says that Chinese tourists use this creature as medicine.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. June 16, 2014 - Sadiya feeds her goats wheat every day at the same location. She calls them with a distinct ‘Heeg’ sound and they come running. Every other day she goes to the mountain to feed her other herd that lives further away.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 24, 2014 - After collecting wood for the birthday party of a Dutch tourist, Sadiya’s elder son Fathi kisses her hand as a sign of respect.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. January 21, 2015 - Bottle tree, on the mountain above Detwah Lagoon.

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QADEEB, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. November 14, 2014 - As a part of the custom of slaughtering goats, Socotrain people remove the animal’s eyes. Socotrain traditions differ from those of the mainland.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 7, 2014 - Sadiya’s daughter Fahima plays with a little goat called Tofahah in front of her home. Sadiya has two herds of goats: domestic goats that live near her home and wild goats that live on the mountain.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 22, 2014 - Sadiya feeds dates to her blackbird. Sadiya’s two birds follow her wherever she goes.

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QAISO, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. June 20, 2014 - Sadiya collects dates from Qaiso near Qalansiya. Dates are one of the few fruits that locals grow and harvest on the island.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 8, 2014 - Sadiya walks an hour to Bab Al Khor to fish for her family.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 28, 2014 – Sadiya’s bird and goat in the early morning.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. January 23, 2015 - Sadiya’s son Fahim plays with a crab he caught in the lagoon. He has set up a net in the lagoon to catch fish and crabs.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 21, 2014 - Sadiya teaches her daughter to swim in the lagoon.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. January 23, 2015 - Sadiya’s son Fahmi prepares seashells for lunch. The family regularly eats seafood and fish that they catch themselves.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 30, 2014 - Sadiya has an early dinner with her kids after a couple of hours working to clear land on the hill above her home.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 19, 2014 - Sadiya picks up a piece of coral from Detwah Lagoon, which calls a white rose.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 25, 2014 - Sadiya prepares mussels for lunch.

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QADEEB, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. October 28, 2014 - Fishermen help pull a boat onto the beach after fishing. Lending help to others is a part of the island’s traditions inherited from the elders.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 26, 2014 - A sea turtle in Detwah Lagoon.

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DETWAH LAGOON, SOCOTRA, YEMEN. May 19, 2014 - Sadiya sits on an eroded fish cage that she used to catch fish when she was young. “This is my metal basket for fishing. What remains is just its structure –now it is just a memory. The fishermen wanted to take it out of the sea, but I prevented them. It is like a marker in the sea; if you put something under it, you know where to find it.”

Amira Al-Sharif

Yemen

Amira Al-Sharif was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Yemen. Working as a female documentary photographer in Yemen, where the majority of photographers are male, she continues to push cultural and societal boundaries. She works as a freelance photojournalist for English newspapers and magazines in Yemen and abroad. Her work is published in international newspapers and by humanitarian and development organizations in both English and Arabic.

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