This sitara decorated our wall in Sana'a, then Tunis and now Lille. It desperately needs to be washed but I don't want to lose the bukhoor scent of a 'once upon a time' qat--filled room. I'm afraid that if the smell disappears or the colors lose their vibrancy, then I would be deprived of a lifeline to a place I had called home.
Proudly showcasing this cultural heritage is my way of saying: Yemen is beautiful no matter what ugly things human beings do to it. Yemen will survive. I can't control anything that's happening in Yemen, but I can make sure to keep Yemen's heritage alive, one piece of dirty old fabric at a time.
Atiaf Z. Alwazir is a researcher and university lecturer by day and writer by night. She considers herself a world citizen, but her world is currently focused on Yemen. She resides in Lille, France. Many will know her from her personal blog Woman From Yemen. She co-founded the media advocacy group @SupportYemen and has written in Foreign Policy, the Arab Reform Initiative, Project on Middle East Democracy, Jadaliyya, Al-Akhbar, openDemocracy, and the Fair Observer, in which she wrote her well-known piece, "It's not a Sunni-Shiite Conflict, Dummy."