Baraa Shiban is a persistent young man who joined the revolution on the 24th of February. His decision to join the revolution came as the result of violence against the small number of protesters that sparked the revolution.In the first week of the revolution, the regime sent thugs backed by security forces to crush the protesters at Change Square. The scene with the thugs shooting and chasing the youth made me very angry, and I decided that I would join the revolution quickly, with no further delay. I finished my exams at the University on the 24th of February, and on that night went to the square to join the Revolution” said Baraa.
Then he became more active in the square after joining the Media Committee,
“I joined the Media Team in the Freedom Square in Taiz, as there weren’t English speakers to write English articles and translate the Revolution Statements. I also participated in writing the Youth Revolution Demands and went to Aden to meet the Southern Movement youth in order to bring the youth all around the country under unified demands.”
Baraa came from a revolutionary family who are committed to the revolution wither they are in the country or abroad. His father was a victim of a bullet in his thigh in September’s violence, his brother and sister also revolutionaries.
Baraa thinks that Yemen desperately needed this revolution, explaining the injustice that he observed before the revolution
“I have followed the political situation in the country very closely since 2003 and I was convinced that the situation will not change with the GPC headed by Ali Abdullah Saleh in power,” Said Baraa. ”The regime launched six wars against the people of Sa’ada and faced the Peaceful Southern Movement with excessive violence, and pulled the country from one crisis to another.”
“In 2007 I visited Sa’ada and saw the misery the people was living there but the regime didn’t seem to care much on the people suffering there. The city of Sa’ada and the other provinces were almost destroyed and the people were suffering from the lack of the basic requirements,” said Baraa, ” During my visit The President announced he will launch another war and the only way to solve the issue is the Military Solution.”
Baraa faced danger due to his participation in the revolution.
“In June 11, I was abducted by armed civilians who took me in the middle of Hadda Street (one of the main Roads in Sana’a) and in front of the Central Security Soldiers. They took me into a car, tied me, put me on my face and started beating me on my back,” he explained
“I still can’t realize what happened in the first hour. After that I remember a guy twisting my arm to the back until almost breaking it and keep on torturing me like that every half an hour or so. After Seven hours they dropped in exactly the same location they took me from.”
Baraa said that he was abducted because he gathered information on storming the Freedom Square in Taiz and send it to different Human Rights Organizations and some friends in Europe who actually have started the process of prosecuting Ali Saleh and his family in the European Courts. “My goal was to prevent them from travelling to any European Country in the future and freezing their assets” he said. Due to this incident Baraa was advised to leave the country and help the revolution from outside the country.
“After being abducted, I couldn’t finish gathering information and documents to send them to Europe from inside Yemen. The security situation in the country was so tensed and the date of the Human Rights hearing in Geneva was getting closer. I was advised by my friends to leave the country in order we succeed in completing the Yemeni File in Geneva and other European countries. Malaysia doesn’t require VISA for the Yemenis, so I chose to come to here.” He said.
Unlike some activists are pessimistic from the long period the revolution has taken, Baraa is strongly positive.” I’m totally sure and convinced that the Yemeni Revolution has reached a non going back point, No matter how Ali Saleh and his followers tried to crush the revolutionists the people in the square will not go back. Yemen before February 2011 is over.” He said.
“As a concerned viewer know I realize that the people may have to struggle a little bit as Ali Saleh is not willing to give up early. But the bright side of this quite long revolution is that people now are more aware, they know exactly what their rights are and not willing to give up on them. The sound of the educated youth is heard now and the youth after the revolution will play a significant role in forming the shape of the future of Yemen.”
Still Baraa thinks the international community should play huge role in Yemen to help the Yemenis gain their rights
“The International Community has a huge role to play in Yemen. First they should start freezing the assets of Ali Saleh, after that pull the International legitimacy from his regime until seeing the violations that have been committed in Yemen. Finally and most importantly they should start the process of prosecuting Ali Saleh and his regime in the International Court of Justice. The time of talks and negotiating with this regime is over; it didn’t work before and will not work now.” He explained.