Who is the Hadhrami? Exploring Ba'amer's Al-Mukalla through Hall's Identity Lens
Rasha Saeed Badurais

Hadhrami identity in literature has not yet been tackled in depth through academic endeavor. Therefore, this article aims to investigate a significant Hadhrami literary work, Ba'amer's Al-Mukalla, to explore the features of Hadhrami identity employing the axioms of Stuart Hall's concepts of identity. The novel has attracted much thorough analyses chiefly considering its ideological and spatial semiotic dimensions without highlighting the focal issues in the present article. The major Hadhrami identity traits have been traced through Salem, the protagonist, and other background characters within the lens of Hall's concepts of identity: the enlightenment subject, the sociological subject (these two I call the core identity), and the postmodern subject. The study is limited to the Hadhrami's of Al-Mukalla context as represented in the novel during a period of the last four decades of the twentieth century. Ba'amer's Al-Mukalla spontaneously reflects multidimensional aspects of the Hadhramis' identity that begins and ends in the land as suggested by the title, and the implications of the novel's final remarks. When the external circumstances are unstable: contradictory ideologies, poverty, blind expansion of the cement blocks over the natural sources of beauty and livelihood, the subjects consequently become unstable. Nevertheless, the Hadhrami's attachment to a firm center, the beloved (&) land, to Al-Mukalla (with all its components physical, emotional, human, cultural) functions as a safety valve to find a way back to stability regardless of the demanding distracting post-modern context. To sum, yes, the Hadhrami may be passive and submissive, may be shattered by the vortex-like modern conditions, but the core is genuine and guarantees a return. Finally, more studies are strongly recommended to explore Hadhrami identity in different parts of Hadhramout and in several fields, literary and non-literary, to document our identity peculiarities by answering “Who is the Hadhrami?”

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v10n1a2