LETTER FROM YEMEN After the Uprising By: Dexter Filkins
In late February, eleven young Yemenis were invited to visit Saleh at the palace and share their complaints. One of the guests was Shatha al-Harazi, a twenty-five-year-old reporter for the Yemen Times, an English-language newspaper. At a café in Sanaa, I met Harazi and two others who had attended the meeting.
Harazi seemed as modern and effusive as Tawakkol Karman. At first, she said, she hadn’t wanted to meet Saleh, thinking that it would be futile. After much discussion with friends, she decided to go, but she swore to herself that if she got a chance to speak directly to the President she would tell him exactly what she thought.
At the start of the meeting, Saleh was charming and self-deprecating. Then the visitors began to speak, and each of them gave the President the same message: his regime was corrupt, brutal, and unrepresentative, and young people had no prospects. At first, Harazi told me, Saleh said that he agreed with the protesters—too many of his officials took bribes, too few young Yemenis could find jobs. But as the discussion went on Saleh grew visibly annoyed. Harazi, who spoke third, was undaunted. “I told him that he should resign,” she said.