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Walking around the streets at night gives the feeling of travelling back in time, to a place where time has stopped.
The infrastructures here are few and the electricity is scarce – at night it is possible to see the stars on the horizon.
Mountains shield from the scorching desert wind and the muezzin’s chants from all the minarets strike you with strength and melancholy, reminding you that you are in a place where religion still dictates ordinary, everyday life.
Yemen is a Muslim country, a charming reality which goes un-noticed when reading about terrorism and kidnapping related chronicles in the newspaper.
During Ramadan, before dawn, you can still eat and smoke a cigarette on the misty tops of the Haratz mountains or in the Gulf of Aden, gazing at the red sea.
At sunrise everybody goes home to shelter from the heat. People stop chewing khat in order to halt the amphetamine intake, otherwise sleeping would be difficult.
At sunset, everybody gets together again – the streets are now filled with people. Jobs are few and staying at home means dealing with screaming kids and bossy elderly. It is more pleasant to be outside and meet someone to eat Salta with, or to chew khat, or to complain about the president.
When Ramadan ends, daytime activities return as do daily issues – young adults looking for employment to support their children and wife; wives walking miles to fetch non-existent water; a man going to the market to buy an AK-47, angry because things never change.
Lorenzo Meloni was born in 1983 in Rome, studied at the “Scuola Romana di Fotografia” for three years, focusing his interests on the Middle East and the Italian youth underground scenarios. H e has reported on major world issues such as those regarding Palestinan refugees and Yemen. Other works include retrospectives on the Italian techno-rave and hip-hop youth scenarios.