The Salehs will no longer own the land we love

Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, is old. Biblically old. Its hand-built tenth-century skyscrapers make for a citadel of magic and dreams. The ancient walled city was rescued by development from UNESCO, who rightfully designated it a world heritage site in 1986. It is Yemen’s most stunning and enduring mark on the world.

On the 19 September 2011 President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son bombed it. Civilisation meets savagery. Sana’a, the world’s most beautiful graveyard. Just the latest in eight months’ of atrocities enacted by the President’s relatives, who – let’s be generous – coincidentally happen to command most of Yemen’s war machinery.

That week across Yemen hundreds died as the family paved the way for the President’s return from Saudi Arabia by killing people. Most of us would bake a cake.

Around the world we watched in horror. Speechless. And on Saturday 24 September at cities across the world we stood together in silent protest – men, women, young, old, north, south, Christians, Muslims – with two aims:

Democracy for Yemen
Saleh must go.

Like everyone, we Yemenis argue. But now is not the time. Socialist or capitalist, secular or theocratic, north or south, young or old, we’ll have plenty of time for falling out in a democratic Yemen. We will even vote to decide things. We’ll argue and shout and hate. That’s democracy for you. But once a year, on liberation day, we’ll kiss, hug, pray and cry because the Salehs no longer own the air we breathe, the water we drink or the land we love.

Two aims:

Democracy for Yemen
Saleh must go.

The world must know, know, know.


About safamubgar

A Londoner with an eye for the world, and a lazy passion for culture and books. Also a Springing Arab, of the Yemeni variety.
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