Yemeni Revolution and Its Third Anniversary

Yemen has reached its 3rd anniversary of the Yemeni uprising. Today not only makes me happy to the see the masses of people out in the streets remembering this day, but it gives my heart warmth to see that people are still awake even after three years of political roller-coasters and constant worry about their future.

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The masses of people who stood up against the wrongdoings of their government shows the power and resilience of our Yemeni people. We have been through three decades of dictatorship, corruption and unfair treatment by the central system. We have been told  empty promises by our ex-president. Instead of giving us the opportunity to build our lives, he had took away our dreams. Instead of giving us hope, he gave us sorrows. Instead of understanding us and our complaints, he continued to steal our lands and income. Instead of being happy with our president, he made us overthrow him.

Three years later, the people of Yemen show no sign of giving up. Hundreds of martyrs later, people are awake and ready to take the streets again if for any reason they have to. This is the country known to be heavily weaponized. This is the country that holds the most peaceful people, too! Although Yemen holds about 73 million pieces of guns, the people of Yemen would rather use their voices as a weapon to terrify and shake the core of the government.

May this day be the remembrance of not only a life changing historic event, but a remembrance of what the people died for. Our people didn’t die just because they wanted to. Our people died because they believed in something more: change for the better of their countrymen and women. They carry a legacy and our job is to carry on that legacy and do our best to implement their visions for a better homeland for the rest of us. This is our duty for those who died and for the new generations to come.

Here’s a poem I wrote (which was previously posted):

I give you a rose and you respond by shooting me down with a bullet.
I give you a smile and you respond with tear gas.
I stand in front of you and your army and you respond with a water canister.
I sit down peacefully in my protesting square and you respond with live ammunition from tanks. 
I shout a revolutionary slogan and you respond with a stick. 
I’ve responded with tears, silent tears. But you then respond with torture.
My response is peaceful…yours was brutal.
I’m a revolutionary.

The loss of a child due to celebratory shootings.

Two days ago, a friend on Facebook tagged me in a photo… this photo showed the image of a little toddler in the ICU of a hospital in Taiz, Yemen. Her name was Abeer.

Abeer and her mother were walking to a market next to a wedding when the unexpected happened: a gunshot wounded the child. In Yemen and many other countries, there is something called “celebratory shootings.” Celebratory shootings are basically gunshots fired in the air to celebrate an event and in this case, a wedding. Two days ago, she was struggling to survive. Today, I’ve received news by my friend on Facebook that she has passed away and was buried.

There are many cases in Yemen where people have been wounded and sometimes killed by celebratory shootings. It seems that it’s a careless act because on a day of happiness, sometimes someone loses theirs-just like Abeer’s family. Instead of a couple starting off their lives with happiness, they start off with guilt and worry when cases like these happen.

Personally speaking, I am against celebratory shootings and Abeer’s (may she rest in peace) picture shows exactly why. Today, a mother and father lost their little angle. Today, they bury her. Since there isn’t any law against celebratory shootings and we know that to do such an act is part of our culture; we should always remember what may happen: a bad ending, a tragedy.

Next time, before starting to shoot in the air. Think about the damage you can do to a family.

May she rest in peace and may God give her family strength and patience.

TEDxSanaa

Yemen held its first TED event, also known as TEDxSanaa. On New Year’s Eve, over 150 people attended the inspiring event, listening to 19 speakers and entertained by special performances and guests in between.

Each individual spoke about their ideas, hope and personal stories to the audience in the room and to those who were watching live on the Internet across the world. Indeed, many people have laughed, smiled and cried because every story touched the heart. The room was filled with energy and positive vibes shown with glowing facial expressions by the attendees.

The team and volunteers have worked for hours, days and months to make this event happen and I give them props for their hard work because it paid off. From start to finish, it was excellent. Rules were implemented, volunteers made sure everything was organized and the TEDxSanaa team did their best to make it a memorable day.

As an attendee, I felt honored to have been in a room with such great individuals. As I listened to each story, I felt empowered with hope, strength and bravery. It’s because with these stories and seeing all these faces of hope, I knew Yemen will be in good hands. The ideas presented at the event, whether it would be for education or for the environment, were simple yet brilliant. It’s little projects that go a long way for our society.

Change starts with the people, not the government. If we sit and wait for the government to help bring change, then I’m sure we will be waiting for a very long time. Think and ask yourself, what can you do for your country? How can you do it? When can you do it? Starts with a thought and ends with an action.

What it all comes down to is the people of Yemen. It doesn’t matter if you live in Yemen or outside of Yemen, as long as you have a dream and you’re willing to help bring it into reality, you are paving a road for a NEW YEMEN.

We start with ourselves! We are creative and intellectual people. We can help our country. We are the people of a country known for its history and historic makings to better civilization. We’ve done it before, we can do it now for our country because we need to.

Big Role for Yemenis Abroad

This post is to all the Yemenis abroad…I felt the need to write about this:

I think some of us forgot that we have a huge role in the development of Yemen. In some aspects, a more bigger role than the people in Yemen. Remember those first few years when you entered the US, for instance? Many of you struggled in the beginning (if not, your lucky) to build your income to better your living. You left Yemen to seek money, happiness and a future for yourself and your kids. All of you came to a land that has opportunities, options, freedom, etc.

We’ve opened businesses, some of you received diplomas (High school and/or College) and others invested in land, apartments or homes in our homeland. In fact, many buildings and homes that are built are owned by Yemenis abroad. Which is a great thing! We are financially stable to build and buy lands, stores and other things. But I always wondered and thought that we are capable of doing much more than buying lands. We are capable of doing much, much, much more.

Has anyone thought about opening a small tutoring institution? Or a Summer camp? What about Investing in orphanage homes? What about putting money to help a school buy students chairs for classrooms? Boards? Supplies? Investing in the education field in Yemen can help tremendously. Think about what it can do for our people’s future.

You see, it’s not about owning something and having your name on it. It’s not about how many buildings, cars, homes and lands you have. In the end, this will only help you and your pocket for investment if you choose not to live in it. I’m not saying you SHOULDN’T buy/own all these things. I’m saying, put your money into other things too. Something that you will feel good about. Something that will help your community.

We tend to forget about this important, yet simple task. If those who are financially capable invest in things like orphanage homes, schools, offices, homes, food for the poor (not Qat), etc. I think Yemen would be in a better stage than what it is now. 10 years ago, many areas (where I live) were empty. Today, there are hotels, villas and businesses and most who built were Yemenis abroad. I want to add, that Yemenis who live in Yemen have a role too (those financially capable).

It’s something to think about. We can do so much to help. If each one of you can buy or build magnificent homes, I’m sure you can invest in helping communities with supples, projects, schools, etc. I know people personally that came to the US and forgot about their roots and country. They see laws and life in the US and when they see Yemen they criticize it and push Yemen out of their mind- never stepping into the country. We have to think for a moment and tell ourselves to thank God for what he planned for us. You or I could have been in a country without freedom. You and I could have been trying to make money for rent. You or I could have been worrying about how to make ends meet.

Do not forget your roots.. do not forget your country. Invest in things that will help your community. The littlest thing can go a long way. Believe me, it’s so simple. Try once, you’ll feel proud that you helped.

The National Conference for the People of South Yemen

South Yemen has been active on the southern case with plenty of protests and powerful southern patriotism that reached a level where one cannot deny their call for separation. On Saturday, the 15th of December, I decided to attend a conference by Mohamed Ali Ahmed. For those who don’t know, Mohamed Ali Ahmed is a south Yemeni leader who returned to Yemen recently after 18 years of exile in Britain.

On Saturday, there was a pre-event of the conference itself. With proper representation of the committee behind this conference and the attendance of Mohamed Ali Ahmed, a signing of a constitution or set of laws/agreement was signed by every individual representing each southern city. This specific document is to be given at a conference in Riyadh on Monday, the 17th to Yemeni politicians for dialogue.

The first day went well and everything was quiet. Unfortunately, the following day was different. This was because it was the day of the official conference after the signing of the document. As I came to the Gold Mohur hotel, police were everywhere and the environment felt tense. Before I walked in to the hall an individual stopped me and chatted with me for about 5 minutes. He looked very odd
and I felt this man was a bit crazy. He explained that the conference is dirty politics and that he would “bomb the conference”. As he said that I was relatively calm. I approached a police officer to tell him about what he said so he can keep an eye on him. As I settled down and sat in the front, I met the Vice President of the Yemeni Parliament. Jamal Ben Omar’s advisor, Abd Al-Raheem saber also attended the conference.

One of the committee members, who was the only main person representing the women of the south at the conference had come to me and asked to use my name to represent the people of the south in the United States. I replied and told her we will discuss it after the conference so I can explain to her my true view on this issue and what I feel is best regarding the people of South Yemen in the US since she may be unclear on their views. She then proceeded to the stage…

About 5 minutes in, two men were forcefully pushing the man who told me about his bomb threat. The individual was then searched and was found with a gun. Anything can happen in Yemen, and since there has been a past premature explosion that Mohamed Ali escaped from, I thought to myself for a good 2 minutes and decided to immediately step out of the conference due to me feeling unsafe In a very tense and packed environment.

I then was approached by the main man of Aden seaport, Adel Shaosh. The light hearted and jolly individual chatted with me on a few things and had left for a meeting. While sitting at the cafe, someone had to told me the lady on stage (who approached me to use my name) had announced that I will be representing the people of South Yemen in the US. I was quiet upset with this news and retuned back to the hall where the conference was taking place and went up to the stage and told another woman in the back to take off my name from the list of representatives due to not properly getting my approval. She then told me she will and I stepped off the stage and stormed out. I want to be clear. I do NOT represent the southern Yemenis in the United States of America under this document. I am just a guest at the conference and an observer and a neutral activist.

I then thought about the whole conference and came down to certain questions..
1) Why were there no youth involved since they were talked about in the document.
2) Why was there only one woman up at the stage?
3) Why were a lot of people who talked to me against it?

As the day continued, the day was getting more tense and so I decided to leave and call it a day. As I stepped out of the hotel and toward towards the main gate, Ali Salem Al-Beidh supporters weren’t allowed in due to different views of Mohamed Ali’s conference. They explained that the conference was full of dirty politics.

Just from these two days, I knew that the people of the south were split.

Very Poorly Maintained Government Hospital in Al-Mukalla, Hadhramout

 

 

The following pictures were taken by Abdullah Al-Amoudy, in Hadhramout, Yemen just yesterday.  A public, government hospital in Hadhramout called Ibn-Sina:

 

Minor surgical department:

Young 10 yr old Australian boy and his 8 yr old brother Walk for Yemeni Boy

 

 

Iona Craig, an English Freelance Journalist based in San’a wrote a post on her blog about Saleem Al-Harazi, a 12 yr-old that was shot on March 18th, 2011 during the  revolution in Yemen. Fortunately, Saleem survived, but doctors had to remove his eyes leaving him permanently blind.

Iona’s post about 12 yr-old Saleem was very heartbreaking to read. Recently, Iona Craig posted a public Facebook status, “The father of a young boy in Australia emailed me today. His son [Jylon Grandy] read Saleem’s story and was so upset he wanted to try and so something for him. Next Sunday, a 10 yr old boy [Jylon Grandy] in Victoria, Australia will be doing a walkathon to raise money for 12 year-old boy in Yemen.”

When reading her status at the time, my initial thoughts were, “Wow, a 10 year old boy cares about a 12 year old kid who he doesn’t even know in another country…that’s beautiful.” Iona then told me that she just found out that Jylon’s younger 8 year-old brother will be walking in his older brothers walkathon to raise money for Saleem! How touching! Both brothers will be walking 6 Kilometers (3.7 miles) to raise money for an MP3 player with a voice over in Arabic, audio books and other listening materials that Saleem can listen to from the MP3 player. Jylon will also buy other gifts for Saleem Al-Harazi.

I find this story VERY inspiring and both Jylon and Saleem’s story must be spread to other people, which is why I’m writing this post. It’s amazing to see the way a young Australian boy took action and decided to help Saleem through a walkathon. 3.7 miles for a 10 year old is challenging and even more challenging for his 8 year old brother. If you are inspired by Jylon’s story, please visit the GoFundMe fundraising page to donate for this cause. If you aren’t able to donate, please share the link so others can read about it.

 

Thank you