Friday Finds: Wajdi al-Ahdal’s ‘Saghira’s Laws’

Over at YemenPolicy, they have published a short story by acclaimed writer Wajdi al-Ahdal in David Kanbergs’ translation, told with al-Ahdal’s signature surreal political wit:

This story is illustrated by Rofaida Ahmed and unfolds on a special website was designed and developed by Mohamed al-Iriani and Ahmed al-Hagri.

It opens:

Shortly after the conclusion of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference at the beginning of 2014, there appeared in the media an announcement for an open position:

“Man or woman wanted for the position of President of the Republic. Applicant must hold Yemeni citizenship, possess excellent reading and writing skills, and be of good character.”

The president, who had submitted his resignation, had gone off to the Canary Islands to spend his retirement there, wishing the Yemeni people all the best of luck.

As it turns out, 40 million people apply — more than there are citizens in Yemen — and so they decide, instead, to seek out those who did not nominate themselves to be president. Although they find some wonderful people, it does not go well.

Other trials ensue, weaving together folktale tropes with contemporary realism and speculative fiction. Unlike some of al-Ahdal’s stories, this one ends in a happy delight.

Read the story here: Saghira’s Laws