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The Black Shame

In case any of you are following the destabilizing situation in Yemen -- few enough of you, I expect, but it is important to certain communities of our warriors -- this is the most important news to come out of there in quite a while.

The latest round of fighting began when the home of the country's most prominent tribal leader, Sadeq al-Ahmar, came under fire from security forces. It prompted fighters from his tribal confederation to attack ministries and try to take them over along with other key installations.

Known as a "black shame" in Arabic, tribesmen said that the shelling of Mr Ahmar's home during discussions about a ceasefire was a declaration of war. 

I think that "black shame" is somewhat broader than the article implies:  suggesting not a specific kind of shame, but rather a particularly damning shame.  In this case the issue is perfidy combined with a violation of hospitality.  Both of these are serious matters in any honor society.  That the President of Yemen is seen to have violated the tribal honor code will have severe fallout.

Scots in the audience will remember the Massacre of Glencoe.  The fact that they do -- three hundred years and more after the fact -- should underline how seriously honor societies take these issues.  

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