Two Novels about the Information War in Yemen on the Eve of the Revolution of 2011

Research output


Around the mid–1990s, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime in Yemen began to realize the rapid decline in its popularity among the citizens. Total corruption, unemployment, unprece-dented poverty growth, stagnation of all social services — all this turned the lives of thousands of Yemenis into daily struggle for survival. In the conditions of Yemeni population’s growing discontent, one of the regime’s instruments to keep control over the situation was the state media which implemented all means of propaganda to improve the image of the government in the eyes of the citizens. At the same time, printed and electronic publications of the op-position movements confronted the state media by revealing their lies and explaining to the readers the authoritarian and corrupt nature of the ruling regime. This information war which lasted until the fall of the regime in 2011 became the main theme of two Yemeni novels: Wa r under the Skin (2010) by Aḥmad Zayn (Zein) and Happy Land of Intrigues (2018) by Wajdī al-Ahdal. Aḥmad Zayn concentrates on the inner world of his protagonist, a journalist working for the regime, and shows how he gradually comes to the understanding of his negative role in the information war. Wajdī al-Ahdal’s protagonist, also a journalist working for the regime, discovers in his personal story all the methods, techniques, and tactics of this war.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-310
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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