Just another day in Sana’a…

May 12, 2011

I’m exhausted. Even so, I barely slept. I ended up staying in the office overnight because my coworkers didn’t think it was safe for me to travel so late. They arranged for me to sleep in one of the offices and got me a small mattress and blanket. Around 6am, a coworker drove me back to my friend’s place, another freelancer from New York who I am staying with. He was in good spirits and awfully chatty considering yesterday’s chaos. I was tired and in no mood to engage in light hearted conversation. But it seemed like the less I said, the more he pushed. He asked if I slept all right and reassured me that I had nothing to fear because the crew would protect me should something happen. He questioned why I was afraid, knowing I could always fly back home should war break out. I told him it wasn’t that simple, my concern involves everything that I would be leaving behind.

“You return home and leave the rest to God,” was his response. He made it sound like the most sensible and obvious answer in the world.

Looking out the car window, life carried on as usual. Vendors were on the street selling their goods and students were making their way to classes. It bothered me in the same way my coworker’s attitude did. I felt completely drained and was still reflecting over the past day’s events. No one around me though appeared fazed by what happened. I guess it’s a testimony to their resilience and strength.

I’m afraid for my parents’ homeland. Saleh is selfish and sadistic enough to plunge this country into war. I don’t think I fully believed that about him until yesterday. I wonder if he slept in peace knowing his mothers, sisters, fathers, and brothers spent the day dodging his bullets. They approached with flowers; one would think after 33 years of rule, “‘ammu Ali” or uncle Ali- as he would have people lovingly call him- would have developed some degree of empathy for his people. Instead ‘ammu Ali is willing to terrorize his largely poverty-stricken population in order to hold on to power. Power that has become disgraced and resented by millions. It was only a few weeks ago that Saleh told the world “Guns can be used today but you cannot use them to rule tomorrow.”

Saleh has proven to the world that he does not care for his nation’s well-being and will hold on to his position at any cost. What is it going to take for Obama to speak out? How may more massacres have to take place? These people are not our enemies. They want freedom, democracy. They despise al-Qaida just as much as we do and don’t want to see extremists take over their country. To believe that Saleh has been an ally in the war on terror is tragic irony. He allowed jihadis into Yemen in the first place, encouraged their growth, and used them in the same way he used other groups in Yemen. It was a marriage of convenience.  A grand manipulater with no scruples, he has helped to make the world less safe by endorsing terrorism when it served his game. The longer this drags on, the more people begin to wonder whether Saleh has been given the green light from the U.S. to massacre his own people.

Protesters grow increasingly determined at each attempt to silence them. They vow to force Saleh out of office one way or another, even at the risk of war. America can be remembered for aiding protesters’ efforts to liberate themselves, or for its shameful silence and support of a brutal dictator. As one demonstrator put it, either way, the Yemeni people will not forget.


One Response to “Just another day in Sana’a…”

  1. I definitely sympathize with your feeling of exhaustion. I’ll admit that I couldn’t read your previous post yesterday when you tagged me on Twitter because I was just so emotionally exhausted from everything you had been relaying to me through text message. I felt like those could be the last messages you ever sent me, and the tension left me completely drained by the time you finally got internet access again and returned to your office. I actually had to leave my house and go watch a movie because I wanted to remove myself from the situation. I understand now how lucky I am to have that luxury. And I am so grateful that I got to hear your voice even for 10 seconds yesterday. I don’t know how you aren’t an emotional wreck right now and that’s a testament to /your/ resilience.

    As for what your coworker said, you can leave the rest to God, but I happen to believe that God has left this part to you. You’re His instrument, His witness to injustice on earth. Take pride in your purpose.

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