Yemen’s former leader opens museum dedicated to himself

Lucy Provan
saleh getty 300x225 Yemen’s former leader opens museum dedicated to himself

Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh (Getty Images)

Yemen’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh recently returned to the country’s capital Sana’a in order to open a museum about himself. Undeterred by the revolt that toppled him last year, in which demonstrators chanted “Saleh, leave, all the people hate you,” the ex-leader has decided to affirm his place in the country’s history through displays of his personal possessions.

Those who want to reminisce about three decades of authoritarianism will soon be able to visit the museum, whose main entrance is fronted by an enormous portrait of the man himself.

The exhibition, generously described by Arabic news website, Bashayer, as “a journey into the land of dreams,” displays items such as Saleh’s glasses, watch and prayer rug. It also holds such wonders as the pair of trousers Saleh was wearing when a rocket struck his palace in an assassination attempt 2011. The museum also contains pieces of shrapnel extracted from Saleh’s body in hospital in Saudi Arabia after the attack.

Saleh’s rule of the poorest country in the Middle East was marred by accusations of corruption and nepotism but this has not prevented him from displaying the lavish gifts he received from world leaders. This includes Koran’s manuscripts, bejewelled swords, daggers, guns, shields and medals.

A Facebook page dedicated to Saleh, subtly depicting him in front of a galloping horse the colours of the Yemeni flag, has posted photographs of other gifts. These include a model of a desert scene and of Mecca, seemingly made of gold.

The museum is located in a wing of the Saleh mosque, the largest mosque in the country which the ex-leader built in 2008. During the opening ceremony, Saleh was reported to have toured the museum and apparently praised it for its “class and elegance.”

Tagged in: , ,
  • John Pope

    seems like a humble kinda fella!

  • Pappy Mappy

    He is not intoxicated by power. What a down to Earth chap, if there ever was one.

  • Abdel Ramadan

    It’s as if he wants to convince himself before others that he owns the country!

Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter