What does it mean to have gone full circle? What does it mean to reflect on March 18’s massacre a year on? What does it mean to dismantle the optimism and reflect?
Yemen has been a whirlwind, a roller-coaster, a heartbreaker..Yet it’s my motherland, the country I never cease to call home…For they say home is where the heart is. As I watched ‘Karama has no walls’ I sat and reflected. It took me back to a point of despair. I remember being awake nearly two nights posting everything I possibly could, I remember just thinking God please no more deaths or violence. Maybe it was guilt..No maybe it was the feeling of helplessness..I really couldn’t say If I’m honest but I remember me and my father fishing through information.. I remember my father saying he didn’t or I should say couldn’t want to hear [see] anymore. I think that’s when it hit me – Yemen was going all the way regardless of who stood in their way they were willing to soak their land with their blood; but never would they be silenced anymore. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of pride intertwined with utter sadness thrown into a whirlwind of dreams of a ‘New Yemen’.
A Yemen where you could get a job because of how hard you’d worked not who you knew or how much you were willing to pay. A Yemen where young girls weren’t married off to older men because of money or I should say lack of it. A Yemen where I wouldn’t see an old, disabled man begging in order for a bite to eat. A Yemen where people had a chance to be something. A Yemen where we could live and work and none would flee to KSA [where most are abused and used]. A Yemen where sheikhs no longer terrorized… Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself maybe I’m too much of a dreamer…I don’t know but I always found bigger is better…For arguments sake lets start small: Justice and democracy [Hey I’m a really big dreamer] The people wanted to overthrow a regime; on March 18 we witnessed thugs shooting to kill. Yet the streets echoed with “Silmiya, Silmiya” [Peaceful, Peaceful]..An armed nation had left everything behind willing to sacrifice their lives so that maybe even if they never got to enjoy it; their people would. In Yemen Justice was the goal, In Yemen death was acceptable but giving up dignity wasn’t.
None could’ve anticipated the peoples reaction to the murders, as all jumped on the bandwagon of imminent civil war… I thought to myself if the mountains, fields and streets could’ve spoken they would’ve cried with pride at its youth. I felt like screaming world watch as my people rise and fight against all odds..Over 100 were injured that day and 52 people were martyred, 52 families were shattered that day. Many more would die in the course of the revolution; but [to me] this was our point of no return.
Today a year later how do I express my thoughts on Yemen? I see a regime consisting of the old, with different name tags. I see the five million who will go hungry this year..As for March 18 a year on and it feels like being right at the beginning. We’ve been suppressed for decades, cheated when we were about to flourish and killed just before we reached the finish line. I feel so empty yet the feeling of sorrow engulfs me, For my people that hoped beyond hope, for my people who lost everything – I see no change…I like to think I’m not naive, I know change would’ve taken time to achieve. My point is a year on and I feel like not even the bare foundations for that change have been set up.
As I dismantle my optimism…I’d like you to meet the people of my motherland, this was and is…
For the disabled old man – Abdullah who will carry on begging.
For Ali the grafter who graduated yet will always have his degree on a wall as he carries on grafting.
For Suad  & Hend  I will always remember you both as those little girls, I’m ashamed your innocence was stolen.
For Hussein who works on the streets of Sana’a selling tissues so he can feed his siblings.
For the widow with 5 children – a hardworking cleaner who works at the dentist in Dhamar earning next to nothing.
For the prisoners of ‘sheikhs’.
For the workers or the derogatory term they are known by – Akhdam- that have makeshift tents and no abode.
For the unhealed south and the so called ‘enemies’…Houthis.
For the families of the Martyrs [who will never receive justice]
These are only a few of the people for which I let sorrow engulf me…The people you’ll probably never know, the people that make up Yemen but are still left on the sideline…