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.