Khalid Rajeh, one of the first noticeable faces at change Square, witnessed violence against the anti-government protesters since January, even prior to the protesters campus.
Although Rajeh is a member of the Islamist Party, Islah, the largest opposition party, he stands on the side of the Independent youth whenever they disagree with the party.
Khalid’s is the tired voice shouting, chanting, “people want to withdraw the Regime”. The gathered crowd used used to enquire; who is this guy dying on the stage shouting with his exhausted voice?
His entire family supports him in what he is doing at change square; in fact one of his brothers was one of “Friday of dignity, March 18” injured. He has now recovered from the bullet that was once in his leg.
Khalid is known for his courage at the square. He once received a threatening phone call; that his head would be cut off if he did not stopping “inciting people on the Square’s stage”, Khalid reacted to it by simply marching on to the stage and sharing the details of the call. He then said, “I prefer to cutting off my head if I left this stage”
He used to work as a cameraman for a private film producing company, but he left his job to dedicate his time to the peaceful revolution. It is for this very reason he missed his final exams at a Medical institute where he is a third grade student in pharmacy.
Khalid can now recognize the thugs after the many clashes with them. This stretches back to al-Tahreer Square when the ex-Egyptian president stepped down and Yemenis proceeded to Tahreer to celebrate the revolution with Egypt.
But what has been achieved thus far? “At the beginning we used to march without even obtaining the party’s permission. But then when we had two clashes with the regime’s thugs,” said Khalid.
The first Friday before the sit-in at the campus started Khalid and his friend had big clashes with thugs; these were followed by another set of clashes on Saturday that left some of their friends injured. These were the biggest scuffles since they started their marches and that’s when it was decided that the Yemeni Revolution needs a sit-in campus.
“Before the political parties ordered their followers to join the protest we started to organize things down there,” said Khalid. ”Back then we were just five young people who came together and tried to put to operation the benefits from the Egyptian revolution. That is how we organized the square. The five of us are members of political parties, so we used our organizing skills to organize the protest,” he said. Khalid elaborated, ”we blocked two roads and left two open for cars. We started to collect money and pay for simple food at night. More people joined in and we contacted our friends and told them we were organized.”
After that night the protesters just grew and the number reached more than 2000. The five members emerged with five committees to organize: financial, security and media amongst other things. Khalid became well-known at the square although he lost his Job. But he had a better one now as he works as a cameraman for Suhil, the main opposition channel. It is this channel that dedicated their time to cover events from Change Square. He also freelances for CNN, Al-Arabia and an Iranian channel.
Khalid documents the Yemeni revolution by videos and he makes sure he has the best view for any march or event the protesters are intending. He went as far as renting a room at the fifth floor of a hotel; his rationale was that should the march come under attack he would have the best angle to cover the events. “Some thugs saw me holding the camera from the window so they shot at the window but I managed to escape. But many bullets were found in the hotel,” Khalid explained.
Khalid believes that the Yemeni revolution is not only against the regime it’s also against ignorance that most Yemenis suffer from. For example, if one tribal sheikh announced his support to the regime, his fellows will be counted with him even if they support the revolution deep inside. “Only by spreading peace and knowledge will we counter ignorance” said Khaled.
Khaled said no matter how events change, the protesters will remain peaceful. ”March 18th is evidence, he says. Nothing can be harder than that day, but we only replied with rocks and nothing else,” he said.
“The youth and the party have come to one decision but earlier on the party tried to control the youth. That tactic was indeed wrong,” said Khalid whilst speaking of his own party, the Islah party.