Roland Barthes describes language as a social institution and a system of values at the same time, and the expression of discourse, as used by Hisham Sharabi, comprehends the objective facts of language that Barthes emphasized (1). These facts refer to real-world issues, such as the multiple levels or stages of social formation: political power, social class, and institutions, as well as reality itself.
In his album, titled by the song "Laish Al-Nakhit" (which means: Why all this arrogance and snobbery?), the artist, Ali Hanash, talks about a one-sided love story, which seems to be a usual occurrence in Arabic singing and which owes its existence to monogamous love and failed love stories. However, the repulsion in the song does not reveal an emotional failure as much as it reveals the social division that produced the language of arrogance and poisoned human relations. In the song, he repeats, "I will attack you at night while you are sleeping, and I will kiss your cheeks and lips". Moreover, we discern a social injustice in a later song entitled "Ala Aish Al-Kebr", which means (Why are you so arrogant?) and in which he says: "You drive a luxury car as if you own all of the Maghreb". Despite his many revelations to society and power, the song "Why Al-Nakhit" has become a refrain that Yemenis repeat for the discontent contained in it.
In a related context, the professor Ahmed Mohammed Noman mentions in his memoirs that arrogance does not mean the high pitch of the voice, i.e., screaming and anger, but rather the tone of the voice, which detracts from the person you are speaking to (2). Thus, screaming is an exaltation of the individual's self, while arrogance is an abolition of the other's self. So, the first one indicates a temporary emotion, in contrast to the second, which indicates sexual, racial, and class differentiation, which refers, in one way or another, to social division. Consequently, screaming, as an instantaneous reaction, represents a healthy state in the end, according to the expressions of psychology, but arrogance, as vanity and contempt, perpetuates the pathological self and tears the social body apart in its relationship with mutual respect and equal citizenship.
Likewise, Al-Baradouni refers in his book on folklore to another phenomenon in the context of social division related to rural songs, which are dominated by class discontent. Therefore, the city tried, intentionally or unintentionally, to be convinced of reality, no matter how bitter it was, and expressed this attempt in several ways, such as its condition for the lover to be able and affordable.
Moreover, the Imamate Rule practiced racial discrimination for nearly half a century in Yemen. In which Imam Yahya established a system of social segregation among Yemenis. He established the "Scientific School" for the sons of the Hashemites and the judges and the "Orphans Office" school for the sons of the tailors, coal sellers, woodcutters, and craftsmen such as trade and blacksmithing. As for the sons of the barbers and butchers, they were citizens of the tenth class of society. Later, the terms "Ibn nass"—sons of a high family—and "Ibn sooq—sons of a low family—were introduced, according to Mohammed Ahmed Noman (4). The arrogance was reflected in the social centers and in the language of discourse, where the use of the term "my master" was common in the north of Yemen. The language of arrogance and superiority among the society has not vanished despite the realization of the Republic and the end of the Imamate structures, systems, and mentality. Furthermore, the principle of shame continued to erode the structure of Yemeni society. So that education, art, or trade were no longer the guarantors of social advancement but rather other considerations related to prestige and lineage.
The consequences of social division do not stop at the limits of human relations between individuals alone but also society as a whole. Therefore, shame, disgrace, contempt, and prohibition are part of a whole system. It is not surprising that exclusionary practices are based on arrogant rhetoric and racist language that slowly and steadily rise in society.
Subsequently, two decades after the end of the Mutawakkili era, the singing, which was forbidden in North Yemen, had spread, but it remained a shame for women. Besides, trade also got rid of the burden of shame, but many professions remained despised. In the 1980s, the imam mentality, which prohibited singing and classified the singer as a lower degree in the social hierarchy, united with the fundamentalist mentality that took over education at the time and taught in its curricula that a woman’s voice is a shame, which prompted the artist "Maisa Al-Katef," for example, to permanently retire from singing.
On the other hand, the consequences of social division do not stop at the limits of human relations between individuals alone but also affect society as a whole. Therefore, shame, disgrace, contempt, and prohibition are part of a whole system. It is not surprising that exclusionary practices are based on arrogant rhetoric and racist language that slowly and steadily rise in society. While the language and social relations are determined according to the logic of the ruling authority. Thus, with every new arrest or abuse, we find a view that deliberately disparages or degrades the status of individuals, groups, or parties.
Today, in Sana'a, the delusions of ethnic and religious superiority, exclusion, and arrogant language are gathering, spreading like cancer day after day. As the Houthi emphasis on Hashemite superiority in curricula, institutions, and events increases. This is accompanied by the detention of artists, contempt for women, the division of Yemenis into "sons of Ali" and "sons of Bilal", and the arrest of the voices that do not emanate from their principles or do not believe in their delusions. At a time when the word "master" lost its scandalous meaning, laden with errors in the English language, whose meaning took on other dimensions, such as expert and professional, it still acquires its meaning through the duality of "the slave and the master", in the nature of the relationship of power with the individual in Sana'a.
In the story "A Seller from Barat" by the writer Zaid Muti Dammaj, when the hero "Ibn Thawaba" makes his own way towards a life of stability, despite the contempt of his family and society towards those who work in trade, describing them as "scum without origin or lineage", the disaster occurs and he dies as a victim of a tribal disagreement. In the aftermath of this tragic end to the hero of the story, the late poet Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh wrote in his introduction to the collection of stories, surprisingly: The truth is that it is the truest ending that stems from reality and still continues to express it, not because his death is an accurate symbol of social division or of tribalism’s victory over everything, but rather because the language of arrogance and racist mentality from which the societies do not recover until after the disappearance of a generation or two at least. The disaster is that no sooner had sufficient time passed for recovery (or perhaps it had not yet begun) than a new imamist version took control in Sana'a, which today, in its Houthi image, is approaching a model worse than Nazism.