A leading Yemeni coffee exporter believes that coffee could be a unifying force in Yemen and serve as a crucial tool for bridging the political divide by bringing people from opposing sides together.
Faris Sheibani, the chief executive officer of London-based Qima Coffee, noted that Yemenis from Sadaa in the north to Yafa in the south celebrate their coffee culture.
“Coffee can serve as a unifying force throughout Yemen’s landscape,” Faris told The New Arab.
“The flip side of this coin is that when you operate in Yemen from different regions, you are sometimes subject to pressure from the various groups that control those regions to serve their interests or pay homage to their political ideologies. For this reason, I find it extremely difficult to operate in Yemen.”
“Prior to the early 1700s, Yemen was the only producer and exporter of coffee in the world. Yemenis spread the country’s coffee culture to the rest of the world, claiming that it was first consumed in 1450 by the country’s mystic Sufis, who drank it to stay awake during all-night meditations.”
Faris is adamant that a company should have no political affiliations. He insists, “A business should serve business interests.” “The only political position I hold is that Yemen should be governed by Yemenis because, in principle, only they would have the country’s best interests at heart, as they are the ones living there. Yemenis should decide whether the country should be divided (into north and south) or united into a federation.
Prior to the early 1700s, Yemen was the only producer and exporter of coffee in the world. Yemenis spread the country’s coffee culture to the rest of the world. According to legend, Yemen’s mystic Sufis drank coffee for the first time in 1450 to stay awake during all-night meditations.