Can Yemen Talk Its Way to Peace?
Foreign Policy — 22 March 2013
In a country with long memories, every politician’s gripe is now on the table — and many of the most contentious, bloodiest rivalries are on display at the dialogue. When the list of National Dialogue delegates from the General People’s Congress (GPC), Saleh and Hadi’s party, was leaked to local press, other groups balked at the names. GPC delegates include a handful of so-called “thug leaders,” who organized the killing of unarmed protesters in 2011. The Islah list elicited a similar response: Many of those named as delegates had waged war in the streets of Sanaa during the uprising and threatened to pillage southern governorates if the separatist movement resorted to violence. Not surprisingly, tensions ran high before the conference even started.
Yemenis voice cynicism and hope as powerbrokers discuss reforms
Reuters — 22 March 2013
Secessionist leaders in a coalition known as al-Herak al-Janoubi (Southern Movement) complain that unity turned them into second class citizens. Having taken to the streets to air their own grievances against Saleh’s rule, many in northern Yemen recognize the deep feeling of injustice that drives ordinary people to join regular protests in downtown Aden, capital of the former South Yemen. A divorce by southern Yemen, where much of the country’s dwindling oil is located, could set off further fragmentation of the country at a time when the central government is still struggling to impose its control over the country.
The flawed media narrative on Yemen
Yemen Times — 28 March 2013
In mainstream articles and books, there is hardly any mention of the majority of Yemenis who dislike extremism. A notable survey in 2011 concluded that 86 percent of Yemenis have an unfavorable opinion of Al Qaeda. Media failed to report that when the American teacher Joel Shrum was killed, many protests were held in the city of Taiz against the killing, and against extremism. In fact one year later, people in Taiz organized a silent memorial to remember him on the anniversary of his death. Only local media reported this event. Al-Qaeda has overshadowed most reporting on Yemen. Mainstream media has not only perpetuated and enhanced stereotypes but by doing so, has unintentionally caused damage to Yemen’s reputation. Journalists are slowly erasing the long history of Yemen and its traditions, and depriving people of their voice. Yemen at large remains extensively unexamined. It is no wonder that at home, some have began feeling suspicious. “Are you taking pictures to make us look bad?” asked a taxi driver to a foreign journalist. “No that is not my intention, you have a beautiful country,” he responded. Driver exhaled in relief explaining that sometimes journalists pick the most un-common event and say this is Yemen. Continue reading