“I wonder what its like to be in Yemen at a time like this?” That was what I thought as I read articles about the Revolution in Yemen. Next thing you know, I’m flying in the air.
Destination: Aden, Yemen
Arrival Time: 5:40 A.M
As I arrived in Aden, I was wondering if it was as bad as the media portrayed it to be. It was up to me to get the real picture. I left the airport not knowing what to expect. A family friend picked me and my father up from the parking lot and out we went, through the security gates- to the streets. It was dark and nobody was out. Not one soul. The driver was very hesitant as he drove on. He told us that if we drove fast and didn’t slow down when we see police or army that they can start shooting at the car. Who knows? At the time, I was on the look out for any person with a uniform- the coast was clear. I arrived at my house; the bright rays of the sun gave me and my father such a warm welcome. Curiosity struck again, and I was ready to find out. Let’s see Aden in a Civil Disobedience setting. As it always is on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Army. Police. Tanks. That’s exactly what I saw. I also noticed there were more checkpoints since the start of this revolution. I got through two checkpoints and realized that there are tanks hiding behind sand hills in empty lots next to the checkpoints. It’s very hard to catch the eye but if you really looked closely you can see about four.
I would say about every business was closed. Cars parked next to every house and/or building. It was quiet and everyone was waiting for Dhur athan, so they can go about their daily routines and open their shops. I pass by some protest sites in the town of Mansoora but can only get a sight of them since the roads were closed with burning tires and rocks. I was told that it was to prevent any army tanks to barge in while they do sit-ins.
As the days pass by, everything was smooth. That is until Saturday came and the protests erupted in Mansoora. My house was about 5 min driving distance from the protest sites. I woke up to the sound of gunshots and sadly, missiles from tanks that were being fired at the sit-in protesters. The sound of all the action seemed like it was right next door. It sounded like I was in the middle of a war zone.
The next day I drove around the protest site and saw tents that were burnt down, poles that were once standing were now on the street floor. Buildings that once were in perfect condition, now had bullet holes in the walls and glass windows. Faces that were once happy now frustrated and angered. With all that, they still had a fresh new look on the protests and sit-ins with a sense of determination. They chanted “our message is clear, the people want to oust the regime” and “our revolution is peaceful”. The youth were patient and were peaceful, despite what had happened.
Mohamed, a High School student, who attends some of the protests in the province of Mansoora said ‘‘Everyone here is protesting for one reason and one reason only, and our message is clear- we want Ali Abdullah Saleh out. The people are tired of him and I think 32 years is enough. We will always have a peaceful message, through whatever violence we encounter.’’
Observing what is going on throughout the days, I realized that women in Aden, and throughout the country have been a key part of this revolution. They stand firm, together, on what is most important to them and the country. They break the fine line of tradition and do what they think is best, to have a voice and to stand up for what they believe in.
During my stay in Aden, I realized that the youth send a powerful message. They will do whatever it takes, even if it means going out and protesting for whatever amount of time just so they can reach one goal. That’s to end Ali Abdullah Saleh’s term of presidency.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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