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ًWhat have they done to deserve this???? Silence is a WAR CRIME #SupportYemen

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Written by shatha

September 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Posted in Violation

Faces from Yemen’s revolution: Nabilah al-Zubair

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Nabilah Al-Zubair is one of the most honest voices in Change Square. Many describe her as a “revolutionary before the revolution”. Nabilah is a distinguished poet, novelist, and writer. She was born in a village in the Manakha district of Sana’a Governorate in 1964 and she spent most of her life in the capital Sana’a where she finished her education in 1995 earning a degree in sociology from Sana’a University.

Nabilah won first prize in the Naguid Mahfooz writing competition in 2000 for her novel My Body. The novel was translated into many languages including English, German, French, and Spanish.  Big writers complemented her high sensitivity and the thoughts she disguises in her poems, all of which call for change.

Nabilah was the first author in Yemen to write critically about President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Using his name clearly, she wrote continually in two of the most read newspapers in the country, leaving a great impression in readers’ minds on the topics she discussed. Because of her brave prose, she was never far from the people in power and fought against them before the revolution when they stood in opposition to her writing.

“Although she is one of Yemen’s finest writers she was always isolated from representing her country in national or regional contests due to her writing that was critical of the government. She was marginalized by the cultural institutions,” one of her colleagues told the Yemen times.

“At the beginning of the Yemeni Revolution Nabilah used to come to Change Square, she was so familiar there. Nowadays she is less physically there,” said Amal Mohammed, one of the protesters from Change Square. Mostly everyone that who knows Nabilah and was interviewed by the Yemen Times agreed on that.

Nabilah’s role on motivating, mobilizing and correcting the revolution on Facebook is a leading role. Even though she doesn’t appear at the square as often as she would like, it is still very important for her to continuing participating in these historic times.

In her posts on Facebook, Nabilah discusses everything creating more freedom of speech and more right for expressing different and opinions for everyone.

She stands for the independent youth whenever someone tries to ruin their messages or goals in the name of politics or partisanship inside the square.

“She has always been writing inspiringly trying to condemn all wrong deeds in her society by exposing facts and numbers and names, socially in her stories,” said Mohammed Al-Rafidi from Change Square who is one of her readers.

“At the beginning she was one of the first women to attend the first Friday in the square, she goes into the tents talking humbly with the protesting youth, listening to them,” said Sara Jamal, from Change Square. “After the regime’s massacre in Al-Mansora in Aden that left Mohammed al-Alwani and Majid al-Bazeji dead, she went out with us in a march for Aden’s Martyrs, she gave a wonderful speech that touched everyone very deeply.”

The speech was about Yemeni unity and the role of Adeni people in maintaining unity. She credited South Yemen with starting the revolution.

“Nabilah’s first concern is to ensure that Yemen’s revolution remains peaceful. She hates being in the spotlight, hates all the fame that comes along with the revolution. All that she wants is victory against any corrupt person and to keep Yemen away from the threat of the civil war,” Sarah added.

Written by shatha

September 12, 2011 at 9:47 am

Faces from Yemen’s revolution: Rwadhwan Masuod

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Rwadhan Masoud is the head of the students union of Sana’a University. He is in his early thirties and the head of Islah Party’s student sector. He is one of the first people that began marching in solidarity with Tunisia and has always been a leader for protests and marches, even before revolutions began sweeping the Arab work earlier this year. In the past, he led university students in solidarity marches with Gaza and protests against the American occupation of Iraq. As a student, he also led university protests against the presence of political security officers that were stationed inside Sana’a University. In one of those protests, a guard shot and killed a student.

As a well-known activist, Rwadhwan has received several death threats and demands to stop his work in Yemen’s revolutions.

Radhwan not only opposes the regime but also experienced a period of disagreement between him and the human rights activists Tawakkol Karaman who shined after the revolution and was the first activist to support the youth protesting against the regime. The disagreement between both activists makes headlines as they both are members of the Islah Party.

The fact that he has always demonstrated for human rights and better education kept him in the same position when the anti-government protests took place in front of Sana’a University last February .

Although Radhwan is known for being an extremist Islah member, he always encourages female students to participate in his demonstrations. He also looks after those women working with him the square.

“For some time I was scared that I was being followed leaving Change Square and going to my home. At that time there were a rumors that the National security had certain names to be kidnapped, mostly journalists and activists from the square,” said Amira Ali, an activist who worked with Redhwan. “Redhwan then offered to find me a ride home to make sure of my safety although he didn’t have to.”

According to him, the threats he received were by phone calls, Facebook messages and personally by chasing him to his house on motorcycles, forcing him to employ three bodyguards since then.

One of the difficulties Radhwan faced for participating in the revolution was the suspension of his salary last March.

It’s worth mentioning that Radhwan was assigned by the Islah party to follow up on the detainees of the revolution, also to follow up the treatment of the revolution wounded in different hospitals.

Radhwan has always been aware of the role the media plays and has been invited to Al-Jazeera’s show “The Arab Spring Speaking Channel”.

Radhwan has always been a face of the Yemeni revolution and has appeared on Al-Jazeera as an activist and revolutionary. He played a large role in starting coalitions and planning escalations, cooperating with other groups in Change Square. Redhwan is more like a generator in the square working on making daily reports, collecting all published news on the revolution and republishes it on facebook groups.

Radhwan has a good connection with the Al-Ahmer family, head of the Hashid tribal confederation, the tribes that fought the state in Al-Hasaba neighborhood in May, although Radhwan is a believer in peaceful means to topple the regime, he agreed on using one using weapons if necessity to defend himself when needed, justifying turning the peaceful revolution to an armed one.

Radhwan is one of those hidden leaders who makes decisions behind the scenes in Change Square, for example he is one of those who plans the names of each Friday.

Although he is a member of the Islah party, Redhwan did not wait until the party orders their members to join the revolution; he was there from the beginning.

Radhwan was a reason behind many Islahi youth joining the revolution, he has strong power on some of the university students as he has been always their when they needed his help as the head of the students union, he is also represented the student in the Preparation Committee of the National Dialogue.

Still some describe Radhwan as a person with no tolerance with his opponents, as problem appeared in the square between the Islahis and the independent youth, Radhwan stood against the youth, supporting his party’s power of Change Square.

Written by shatha

September 12, 2011 at 9:25 am

Protesters fear media blackout

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SANA’A, Sept 5 — Fear has grown among Yemeni protesters that their revolution will soon be forgotten by the rest of the world due to lack of foreign media coverage. Last February, Yemen enjoyed a large share of media coverage around the world, focusing on the position elements of the protest movement. Global headlines told of tribesmen abandoning their weapons to protest peacefully and women’s involvement in Change Square. According to many protesters, that coverage has changed. “I was back in the US this summer, and many people I spoke to there, did not know that the peaceful protesters are still camped at the squares. They thought that the peaceful protests were over because the media had stopped giving them a voice,” wrote blogger and anti-government activist Atiaf al-Wazeer in her latest blog post. There are two different points of view among those protesters on the relationship between the revolution and mainstreams media. The first point of view is that more focused coverage of the revolution by the mainstream media would have ended the revolution faster, due to the role media plays in mobilizing the international community in support of revolution. “Al-Jazeera played a key role in Yemeni revolution as well as other revolution in the ‘Arab spring’ except it Bahrain. It [Al-Jazeera] was behind toppling of both former presidents in Tunisia and Egypt,” said Ali Al-Arhabi, a Yemeni protester. Fast moving changes and an increase of violence in Libya and Syria took western mainstream media’s priority and left Yemen out of the news coverage, disappointing many Yemeni protesters in spite of their emotional attachment to other ongoing revolution in the Arab World. “If the media focused more and dedicated their coverage to one revolution at time, the revolution will not take long, and would topple Arab dictatorships one after another,” said Al-Arhabi. The second point of view is that the Yemeni revolution has become too long and boring, forcing the media to lose interest as it has been going the same way for seven months so far. “The protesters should move forward and do some new actions to grape the media attention again towered the Yemeni revolution that has been taken so long,” said Ala’a al-Jarban, one of the protesters. Journalist and analyst Abdulhakeem Hilal agreed that western mainstream media focused on Yemen in the early days of the revolution but as the protesters haven’t added much to what was reported they lost interest in covering more. One reason he added is that after June 3, President Ali Abdullah Saleh assassination attempt, the western media decided on a new angle for Yemen’s stories. “That incident showed Saleh as a victim therefore after the incident there was not much news on Yemen in western media,” said Hilal. Yemen’s revolution is covered by Suhil TV which has a small viewership, most of them being the protesters themselves. Al-Jazeera Arabic sometimes dedicates more time to covering Yemen while other times not covering Yemen at all, depending on what else is happening in the region. Moreover, the role of western mainstream media especially in covering Yemen is not objective and may force Yemen to become a new Bahrain, not being covered fairly in news. The fact that there are more foreign journalist in Yemen than there are in Syria leads protesters to believe that those mainstream media are only implementing or serving foreign agendas that mainly serve the US interests in the Middle East. “The positive coverage toward the Yemeni revolution has changed, the militants groups and Al-Qaeda’s news are in the top of the news coverage on Yemen,” said Al-Jarban. “The news on Al-Qaeda is exaggerated as no journalists are reporting from the ground. When it comes to Al-Qaeda they rely on one side reports which are usually governmental,” he explained. One way to avoid the media blackouts towards Yemen is to create new revolutionary media outlets according to Al-Jarban. Indeed, some activists are working on launching a broadcast channel in September and started their radio broadcast six weeks ago. Al-Wazeer thinks that the solution will be by pushing independent media to disseminate information that’s missing from mainstream media. “If editors are refusing to publish deeper stories on Saudi’s role in Yemen, the humanitarian situation of IDPs, or the impact of drones on ordinary citizens for example, journalists should still write the story. Don’t wait until you find an editor who agrees, write the story and then find an independent source to publish it if needed,” wrote Al-Wazeer.

Written by shatha

September 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

Posted in Yemen's news

Faces from Yemen’s revolution: Walid Al-Qadasi

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Walid Al-Qadasi, a 23 years old protester, can always be found walking around Change Square where the anti-government protests have taken place since February and spreading positivity, hope and awareness.

Walid has big smile on his face no matter what happens, and one can always find comfort chatting to Walid about the peaceful revolution. He is a very confident character; humble when arguing and giving his point of view and enthusiastic when planning for activities within the revolution. He is the bee of the square.

Walid was born in al-Omal city in Al-Hodida governorate, where he studied until he graduated from high school, before moving to the capital, Sana’a, to study civil engineering at Sana’a University where the revolution was born by Walid and his collogues.

Inspired by Egypt

He was part of the revolution from the first days. “We were following all the news on the Egyptian revolution at that time dreaming of a Yemeni one, we had a strong belief that Yemen would be next,” said Walid.

Back then the Yemeni University students started to dedicate two hours of their day to protest, hoping that one day they would become what Change Square is today.

Walid, who is also a poet, doesn’t belong to any political party – not because of pride about his political independency but because he does not have the time for the political commitment that would be required from him.

However, since the revolution his beliefs have changed; he now feels that political engagement is possible even though he is still a student and dependent on his family.

Unlike other independent youth who think that opposition political parties are playing the same role as the regime, Walid thinks they are important partners in this revolution to victory – and that the youth have to accept this.

“Political parties are important and we [independent youth] must recognize their political history and their resistance against the regime practices,” said Walid.

As the country is going through a critical and sensitive period, defection between different components of the revolution is not good at all, he added. They should stand with each other against one enemy: the regime.

“We are in a democratic country so we should not waste this advantage [democracy]. Instead we should develop it by working together to achieve one goal,” said Walid.

Walid accused the regime of spreading the idea that the opposition political parties take advantage of the youth to gain power.

“The regime works hard to make a gap between the youth and the political parties as they know that the two by working together we will win for sure, so the regime will eventually withdraw for sure” he added.

Everyone knows the youth were the ones to spark the revolution and that the opposition political parties joined them after three weeks, said Walid. Still, at some point the political parties forgot role of the youth in this revolution.

While many youths complain they are not represented fairly in the National Council, Walid thinks that they still have a role to play.

“The youth role is still active but there is so many scenarios happening now on a political level, which confuses them,” he explained adding that there is little political awareness among the youth.

“We need more political awareness to help us to understand our country and serve it in the best ways,” he added.

Walid seems to be confident about the aim of the revolution. “We want to establish a fair state; we need to share the same values as southerners and northerners as we all belong to one country.

“What we hope to achieve through this revolution is also to learn more about some concepts such as citizenship and identity – by seeking equal citizenship we need hope to get rid of the extremism the regime founded in Yemen – we want Yemen to become a modern civil state.”

Walid faced some obstacles starting the revolution with his friends. “The main obstacle we faced was ’illiteracy‘,” he explained.

He added that the regime did not bet on anything to survive but illiteracy. “The regime didn’t bet on the country’s economy because they knew how damaged it was, they did not bet on military defection, nor on the country’s institutes; they were counting on illiteracy and a lack of awareness among Yemenis.”

Walid said that the revolution took longer than expected but helped to changed awareness, which is a key step to bring about real change in any revolution. “Lots of people now have a clear image of the Houthis cause and how the war started in Sa’da, they knew more about the south’s cause.”

Written by shatha

September 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Posted in Yemen's news

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Sara Jamal is a 23 years old woman, known as the English tongue of the peaceful revolution. She is a well-educated woman helping raise awareness and spread the word of peace in Change Square where the anti-government protest has taken place since February.

Sara was one of the first girls to attend the “academic tent” [one of the square’s tents for academic sessions and discussion on the revolution]. She has played an important role in awareness the square, calling for more understanding between different groups in Yemen, both politically and socially.

Attending an academic session in a tent full of men chewing qat [green planet Yemenis chew] is not socially well accepted, especially when some of the attendees are tribesmen.

Silent march

Sara has fed the square with creative ideas; including a silent march to condemn the international community’s own silence over the killing of peaceful protesters in Yemen.

The silent march, which happened in April, was the first in change square since the protests started. It saw the well-known activists who usually lead protests and marches being led by young activists who showed determination and faith in the revolution of Yemen.

Sara made the march participants covered their mouths with tape and raise hand written signs that read different phrases instead of the usual chants shouted by the protesters.

One sign read: “How many of us should die for the world to pay attention”.

It reflected the belief among Yemenis that the western media pays more attention where protesters are killed and massacres are committed.

This is not just an issue with the media; it is also reflected in the role played by the US and European Union as observers to the events in Yemen – there has been no remarkable progress and they have not expressed a firm position on the Yemeni regime.

Sara said all this in her speech to thousands of protesters, who paid great attention to the new style of march she brought.

Sara stands confidently giving a speech to even millions of people, as in the celebration of 21 anniversary of unification between south and north Yemen that the protesters organized.

Sara gave her second speech in English as well, speaking to the world to say that Yemen will always be unified by its people – that the unification was never ali Abdullah Saleh’s achievement.

Sara’s second march

The second march she organized was as creative as the first and managed to grab media attention. It was also part of the youth activities celebrating unification day on May 22.

The second march was a balloons march – another first for the Yemeni revolution. The idea was for all participants and protesters to hold balloons of three colors; red, white and black, the colors of the Yemeni flag.

“Using the flag’s colors is designed to strengthen our unity,” said one participant.

Sara used with two friends to help mobilize people, raising social awareness in different tents across Change Square.

“Me and Sara came to the square to change the social mentality rather than remove the regime; Sara came to pass her information on the civil state she is seeking for the protesters,” Sara’s colleague told the Yemen Times.

Sara pays a lot of attention to the southern cause, which if unsolved, might lead to separation.

Sara always expresses her hopes for Yemen to be a civil state; she stands against any actions inside the square that seems to be contrary to this concept such as not allowing women to march along with men one time.

She was attended a conference for activists, calling for gender inequality from Islamists. Although Sara didn’t approve of being videoed, the conference was filmed by state-run TV and played all that day to highlight the various defections among civil society activists and Islamists from the square and the differences between them.

Written by shatha

September 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Yemen's news

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