The Nobel Prize Karman: “My Yemen dies in silence and with the complicity of the world”

(from globalist.it – Umberto De Giovannangeli) – Yemen, after over five years of war, "Is a victim of international silence". To report it, in this interview with Globalist, is the Nobel Peace Prize, Tawakkol Karman. The Yemeni activist tells of an endless tragedy but with many culprits. It also tells, proudly, the role of women in a revolution that has not given up. “It is no coincidence - the Nobel Peace Prize strongly emphasizes 2011 - that women and young people were at the forefront in those revolutions that marked many Arab countries, including mine, Yemen. Old corrupt and despotic regimes, as well as a retrospective and obscurantist fundamentalism, they fear and fight women because they know that they are fighting a double oppression, by interpreting a desire for change that combines idealness with extraordinary concreteness ". For his political activism and in defense of human rights, Tawakkol Karman met the prisons of the then father-master of Yemen, il presidente Ali Abdallah Saleh. It was the 2011, Tawakkol was president of the association "Women journalists without chains".

The international community appears in fact powerless in the face of the massacres that have marked daily life in Yemen for years. A recent Oxfam report, accounts for a devastating war, with very heavy bombings of which mainly women and children pay the price. 12.366 civilian casualties, between 26 March 2015 and the 7 March of this year and beyond 100 thousand total victims. over 4 millions of internally displaced people survive in makeshift accommodation or in villages, where the local population offered them shelter. And still: more than 10 millions of people are on the verge of famine. 2 millions of children e 1,4 millions of pregnant women suffer of acute malnutrition. 24,1 millions of people on 30,5 they depend on humanitarian aid. Food prices rose on average by 47%.Quasi 18 millions of people do not have access to sources of clean water and basic health care, thus inevitably remaining exposed to deadly epidemics. The stocks of medicine and medical supplies are running out and this is in full Covid pandemic…
It is a terrible situation, a humanitarian apocalypse. We are talking about human beings, not numbers. You speak of "impotence". I would add: guilty. Why the international community, starting with those who sit permanently at the United Nations Security Council table, they have the tools to stop the hand of the Syrian dictator-executioner. What is missing, the political will to intervene is guilty. Nobody can tell: I did not know, I was not aware of this humanitarian apocalypse. Don't stop this slaughter, it is a crime against humanity.

You recently accused the Yemeni government recognized by the UN of having exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and of being a tool that legitimizes the Saudi occupation of the country. At the same time, he used very harsh words against the coup attempt carried out by the Houthi minority, supported by Iran…
Any attempt at peace that does not take this into account is nothing more than an attempt to subjugate the Yemenis to the status quo dictated by the brutal coup d'état of the Houthi and the Saudi and Emirati occupiers. In my battered country there is a power vacuum, the decisions are written by the Saudi ambassador, the signature of Hadi and his prime minister does not represent us, they have no legitimacy. Hadi and his associates are satisfied with being mere tools in this war, agents, non leader; followers, not equal partner. Since the beginning of the war unleashed by the Saudi-led coalition, all these components, including the Islam Party, they are just tools in the hands of Saudi Arabia, just like the STC, the troops of Tariq [Saleh] and the Elite Forces.

About Saudi Arabia. You used harsh words in condemning the brutal murder of the Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, torn apart in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. He is afraid of making his own end?

I am subject to a widespread hate campaign and terrible incitements to will be against me from the Saudi media and their allies. The most important thing is that I will be safe from the saw with which the body of the late Jamal Khashoggi was cut. I will go to Turkey and consider it a message to world public opinion: these sowers of hate and death will not have won it. Let me add one thing: the international community is not only silent about the crimes perpetrated in Yemen, but a part of it is also an accomplice active in this endless slaughter. And this complicity also affects Europe and those countries that continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

In his speeches, she insists a lot on the "lesson" that the young protagonists of the Arab Springs have made their own and how on this basis they led their battle of freedom. What is this lesson that you also project in relations between East and West?
He sees, we young people of the Arab Spring have understood that what prevents the accomplishment of the brotherhood between East and West are the despotic rulers, corrupt and bankruptcy. These rulers are the cause of an internal war in our peoples and pose a threat to international stability.

You have repeatedly referred to a "phase two" of the Yemeni revolution. What it is?
Our revolution begins with the fall of the dictator. Now we have entered the second phase, a transition phase. Security forces must be changed and corruption must be eliminated. It will not be easy, but we are not interested in getting rid of just a despot. We want justice and democracy and we will achieve it through a peaceful revolution.

Women have played a leading role in this revolution ...
It is true and I am deeply proud of it. In this revolution, women took on leadership roles. Women were killed on the street ... murdered because they were guides. Saleh said we had to stay home. But our answer was: pack your suitcase because the women will drop your throne. Initially we were only three young women. We have been mocked and arrested. feared. Men were amazed at our presence and ourselves at our strength. Women are brave and generous: they never fight only for themselves, they do it for the whole community ".

What role does it play, in Yemeni affairs, the religion?
In my country, traditions endanger the freedom of women. Many religious give personal and wrong interpretations of Islam. Governments do nothing because this serves them to maintain the status quo.

As a journalist and activist, in conferences he holds around the world, she focuses primarily on defending human rights
My goal is very clear: contribute to the creation of democratic states that respect freedoms and human rights. This can only be achieved by fighting against tyrannies that violate these rights and in favor of building states whose foundations are civilization., the rule of law and the integrity of the institutions. I carry on this struggle in different ways within civil society and to spread my message I take advantage of all the positions available to me: media, human rights forum, political debates, etc.. Wherever I go, I try to explain that tyrannies deprive societies of peace and development. Any society deprived of freedoms and human rights can only live an apparently precarious peace fatally destined to collapse.

To return to his country. Yemen can hope for a better future?
You cannot think about a country's future until peace is restored. But peace is not just ending the war, but also to oppression and injustice. Peace without justice is precarious, like a ceasefire or an interim truce that is only the prelude to even more terrifying events afterwards. The worst of all wars is what tyrannical dictatorships have declared to their peoples. Therefore, I remain convinced that it is necessary to fight against political regimes that are unable to guarantee the fundamental rights of individuals and institutions and to threaten them. We need to replace them with democratic systems. Today like yesterday, I fight for democracy. This, in the case of Yemen, it means putting an end to the situation created by the coup and organizing the referendum on the draft Constitution which had already been agreed in the national dialogue started during the transition period. Then, elections can be called of course. When political life returns to its normal course, I intend to found a party that essentially brings together women and young people to carry out the civic project promoted by the revolution of 2011.

Yemen, Syria, libya, Palestine: the Near East looks like an immense battlefield, whose first victims are civilian populations
“The ones you refer to, and others could be added, they are wars by proxy, led by regional powers that despise the freedom of peoples, who is not interested in inflicting unspeakable suffering, deprive millions of humans, mostly young people, of a future worth living. Yemen, for its geographical position, it is a crock pot between two large iron pots, Iran and Saudi Arabia, who vie for supremacy in the Persian Gulf and across the Middle East. But in the end, I am convinced of it, the need for peace that animates my people, beyond all ethnicity, will get the better of those who have tried to wipe us out.

Comments are closed.