Thursday, November 26, 2015

Yemen war: The conflict everyone wants to forget

A graffiti work by Yemeni artists, Murad Subay, commemorating the 15 children killed in Bani Hawwat area, in Sana’a, where air strikes destroyed more than seven houses, another 27 civilians were killed as well. May 18, 2015.

*Things are bad in Yemen; even worse than bad. Nine months since the Yemen war began and the impact of the violence does not only continue to rip the country apart but it has also sent the majority of the population into destitution.

While the return of President Hadi and his prime minister to Aden gives the illusion that there will be an end to the current unresolved multi-front fighting in other parts of the country, the suffering of Yemenis continues to be incomprehensible.

The human cost of the war so far is immense, as the Saudi-led coalition air strikes and the Houthi-Saleh alliance’s aggression have in inflicted horrendous atrocities across the country. The ongoing conflict has resulted in over 32,000 casualties, with 5,700 people killed, including 830 women and children, alongside a sharp rise in human rights violations, according to the latest UN report.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back & forth about Yemen & Iran

It's been three months since my last hair cut, so I go to my favorite hairdresser. I always go there since I've been living in Gothenburg. She is an Irani lady, the sweetest hairdresser one can get. She asks me random questions about my home country, Yemen while she starts playing with my hair. We chat back & forth; back about Yemen & Iran. I tell her how much I love Persian language & that I would like to speak Persian one day. She laughs. I tell her, 'I can say; Khobi & Merci' and that I love listening to the legendary Persian singer, Dariush. I tell her how much I love his name. I can tell she is glad for she has been smiling. Then she interrupts her smile & flips her face to a serious one & says these following words: isn't there a war in your country, Yemen? We carry on the talk and I explain some stuff about the war to her. Few minutes later, she finishes doing my hair. I pay & start to leave. She thanks me & follows me to the door. She surprises me & opens her arms wide and hugs me & says: I wish best of luck to Yemen, may peace prevail soon. She hugs me tight & I hug her tighter back. I say thanks & before I leave I say: you'd better make sure your country stays out of my country! Her face freezes and silence prevails for two seconds. Feels like the longest two seconds in the world. Then I give her some relief & say: I'm joking, joking. Laughter rules on; then, I walk out. I get my phone out of my jeans pocket. I plan to write down about this beautiful and funny incident but I go to Twitter & I read Russia & Turkey might start World War III. I get worried then I think, fuck it! I think, if the war will start tomorrow, at least let me tell this story & then, really, fuck it!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Beyond Borders - Women, War & Peacemaking

Last August, I spoke at Beyond Borders in Scotland where I had to depict the pain of my beloved Yemen, & I tried my best in naming & shaming the UK gov' for its arm sales w/ the Saudis.. other speakers included the Iraqi parliamentarian, Shirouk Alabayachi; she had valuable inputs about ISIS. (Funny how the panel was supposed to focus only on women in conflict & we, the women speakers rolled up our sleeves & talked about that and the hard talks too, Politics. Women can talk politics too, you know..)

Who can hear Yemenis?

AS the bombings intensify in Yemen, dozens of messages from people know in person & who I don't know have been pouring into my fb & email inbox. It's almost the same message, "tell the world that the situation is unbearable in Yemen, Afrah! The killed ones had mercy from Allah, but we, the living ones are going through a slow death. Tell the world, Afrah! Nobody hears us, but you are heard, Afrah!"

Such messages made insomnia my new best friend. As I'm about to finish reading this second book about trauma, I hope I'll get back a little peace of mind & write more & more & 'tell the world' about the tragedy in my country & the agony & pain my people are going through. Until then, these sleepless nights are bombing my head & soul, & I fear I'm wasting time while I'm this paralysed & not writing enough - I should be telling the world.

You know what, it's really a fucking cruel world out there. Most of the "world" has been bought by the Saudi money; even our fucking president, Hadi was bought by the Saudis' money. Each missile & each rocket fired at Yemen is done with the blessings of that mother-fucker president. Then, how can we, poor activists & journalists & bloggers can face the Saudis' power/money/dominance/hegemony-machine? 

Forget about us the [intellectuals]! What ordinary people in Yemen & from Yemen, who are shattered around the world now, what they feel most painful is how painful it is to be neglected & abandoned, not only by the "world" but also by their own fucking president, Hadi. You know that Saudi promised to give the UN big money to address the humanitarian plight in Yemen with 1 condition that's: to be distributed in the Saudi-Hadi liberated areas only. And let the rest of the country starve to death. What kind of a moron president would allow that to happen to his own people, country?! Outrageous is an insufficient word!

Who can hear Yemenis? Who can hear their out-cries? Who can save Yemen? Who..

Monday, September 21, 2015

One year on, Yemen rebels still hold Sanaa despite air campaign