I have previously shown 16 episodes from NHK’s famed Silk Road Series, which began as a adventurous project in 1980 and produced 12 episodes in the 1st series, and 18 episodes in the second.
The other 14 episodes were not available online at that time, and I have since learned that NHK in the early 2000s continued with a 3rd (10 episodes, unavailable at present) and 4th series (5 episodes), making 45 episodes in all.
This is the second of the episodes in the 4th series, and it looks at the ancient kingdom of the Yemen, and how it got its wealth through the trade in Frankincense, which is still found in the kingdom, though hardly provides an income any more.
We are told something of the life of the Queen of Sheba, whom the Yemenis claim as their own, and we even travel to an archeological site, which may have been the site of her Palace.
We then see what the devastating civil war wrought in the country, with the Yemenis no longer being able to support themselves, or educate their children, and therefore seeking work in nearby oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
After entering the latter kingdom we see how the country has become rich due to the oil trade, and meet with one of its richest developers and his family. This is contrasted with the poor lifestyle of the immigrant workers, who dream only to return home.
As we all know since then the war between factions in Yemen has broken out with Saudi supporting one side, and Iran the other. The ultimate losers, of course, are the rural Yemenis themselves, caught up in a political Great Game in the peninsular.
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