Sunday, July 3, 2011

Yemen's Six Months Revolution

Six months of Yemenis' lives have passed by, and although Yemen's president has been gone to Saudi for treatment for a whole month now, yet the regime remains unchanged. Yes there have been some gains as Hamza Shargabi, an activist in Sanaa's Change Square and member of the Coordinating Council for the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC) had pointed out to my frustrated tweet "what are the political gains so far?" by  replying "we destroyed the regime, we recreated national identity, gave hope to the nation..but we haven't been able to place a new regime". Yes I do agree that the protest sit-ins in the squares of Yemen has forged a sense of unity and feelings of solidarity which brought Yemenis together as never before, dismantling clan, tribal, regional and even to some extent gender barriers and it sure did rise hopes. But I am not so sure about "destroying the regime". Although nobody is sure if "President" Saleh is dead or alive especially since he hasn't made a public appearance for over a month, reinforcing rumours of his death, yet the regime is very much alive and kicking or rather "killing".  Besides Saleh's son taking over the presidential palace, there are daily reports of the Republican Guards (a special force headed by Saleh's son, Ahmed) shelling and bombarding the beautiful city of Taiz, missile attacking Abyan fighting so called al "Qaeda" militants and the continuos shelling of the villages of Arhab with scores of deaths, injuries and refugees as a result. 
Although not much fighting is happening in Sanaa lately beside the fights for fuel Sanaa has had it's share of fighting for weeks, during the Hasba war between Saleh and Sheikh al Ahmar. 
Saleh's nephew, Yehya, head of the Central Security Forces dismisses the revolution all together in a New York Times interview, he says "the problem is that the rest of the world believes this is a youth revolution. How many are there in the squares? Do they represent the majority? In a democracy, does a minority rule the majority?" He adds "They should have some self respect and go home. It's been five months now and it's boring." To him I say "obviously you have been oblivious to the streets boiling with hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the remains of your regime, your relatives and your ouster and the formation of a transitional council. You are either ignorant to count them or blind to see them, or both. I hope these two videos of refugees will entertain you!"

The prolonged political crisis in Yemen caused a humanitarian and ecomomic crisis, costing Yemen billions of dollars monthly, resulting in thousands of displaced refugees, and enduring domestic gas, fuel, water crisises, power outages and food shortages. The regime doesn't want to discuss a transitional council until the "President" is back, hoping that they would in the meantime subdue the revolution. Yet nobody knows if and when Saleh will be back amidst the conflicting reports. However somehow an "unidentified Yemeni official" and a "Western diplomat" which Reuters keeps quoting seem to be abreast with his health and what he wants for Yemen.
Yemen's protests are hijacked as Jeb Boone (a freelance reporter who has been in Yemen too long!) pointed in his latest Global Post article. The opposition seems to be divided between the independent youth who want a total change of government, trial for Saleh and his relatives, and others (mainly Joint Meeting Parties, led by Islah) who would settle for the change dictated by the GCC initiative which is endorsed by primarily Saudia Arabia, the rest of the Gulf States and the US. The independent youth are finding their own way now fighting back any internal and external interference, making their movement stronger and bigger, hoping to overturn the JMP dominance, and are adamant about leading the revolution to victory.
Although Yemen is a poor nation where most Yemenis live under 2 US$ a day and around 42% of the population live under the poverty line with an illiteracy rate of more than 40% and have been enduring immense hardship lately yet they are rich with resilience, perseverance and I have to add a lot of patience. This what has made Yemen's revolution survive six long months. I am confident and hopeful that it will reach it's aim and realize the dream of a new Yemen as long as it has these determined and hopeful youth. But until that day I will keep praying and hoping it comes soon.
One of my favorite Yemeni revolutionary songs


  1. لا بد للحق أن ينتصر
    ثورة عظيمة
    وشعب عظيم
    وبلد عظيم

    واصلي الكتابة يا نون عن يمنك وإن شاء الله سيكون بالفعل يمناً سعيداً وليس كما كان مع صالح الطالح

    تحياتي لك

  2. Great article. Should not it be sent for publication by a national newspaper in the US or UK?

    Best wishes,

  3. Very good insights! Thanks for sharing. Keep it up.

  4. the article is very good till Saleh appeared !! oh! he's a nightmare. when will it end?