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18. January 2010

The Unfiltered Voices of Yemeni Women

Collected by Fahmia al-Fotih'

Every day the world tunes in to hear what the media has to say about the situation in Yemen, but they do not hear the voices of Yemeni women. Here are some Yemeni women who have expressed their views towards what is going on in their country. They don’t agree with the mainstream perspectivs on the threat that al-Qaeda poses to Yemenis, the causes of the deteriorated state of security, or possible solutions; rather, they represent a cross-section of viewpoints from their unique position at the eye of the storm.
                                                                                                                         Fahmia al-Fotih'

“First of all, I feel very agitated by the presence of such groups in what was once described as a “Felix” (i.e., happy or fortunate) land. I can never rationalize the idea of targeting innocent people just for the sake of making a political statement. As much as I abhor terrorist acts and the people involved in planning and carrying them out, a part of me feels great pity for the susceptible desperate young people who find no other channel of self-fulfillment. It saddens me that our country fails to meet the needs of these groups, allowing them to become easy preys for terrorist recruiters. And as a Yemeni woman, I hate to see how we women are not doing enough to mobilize our influence in the family and the unique ability we can have in preempting, detecting, and countering extremist tendencies among our male relatives and loved ones.”
Amal. Al-Ashtal


We all are against al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization, because it does not represent Islam. On the contrary, it tarnishes the image of Islam worldwide.”
M.N.


“Al-Qaeda is a threat for the whole public and in turn it has its negative impact on Yemeni women. A number of women were among the victims of the recent raids on terrorists in Abyan for example. Women also suffer when one of her family members is a victim. Women bear a huge burden in the war against al-Qaeda and pay a huge price within the deteriorated economic situation in Yemen. Women are vulnerable, especially those who are not economically independent.”
Wadad al Badawei, female journalist


“All Yemenis are against al-Qaeda and their terrorist acts as they are hindering development, peace, and stability.”
M.S.


“I think what we are really facing these days is the exaggerated image reflected by the Western media on terrorism in Yemen. Despite that there may be some terrorists’ groups settling in Yemen; we as Yemenis are not facing any real threats in our country.”
Raghda Gamal, 24, Journalist


Terrorism has never been part of Yemeni culture but it comes out due to a number of reasons like poverty, lack of freedoms, the call-for-violence, religious rhetoric, and the Wahhabism influence coming from neighboring countries. It is really sad and a shame to see Yemenis subject to strict checks at airports. Yemen has been always a harbor for a number of religions, ethnicities and cultures.”
Huda Jafar, NGO employee


“Believe me, it is all about complicated global politics… terrorists are everywhere… and suddenly the spotlight was turned on Yemen after this failed airline attack… I was not convinced about the whole story and the exaggerated consequences.”
B.A.


Yemen is sadly a silent victim of terrorism. I personally think that the stereotypical views are just the cherries on top of all our problems. We need to nip this issue in the bud! A filter of some sort needs to be created, one that holds strong between the recruiters and the innocent youth.”
Haifa, 25, student


Al-Qaeda is not a Yemeni thing. It is there in every country and their members are from a number of nationalities.”
Najwa, Student


It is getting serious no matter what we believe in or what we say. They really believe we are dangerous and terrorists, and it needs all our work to change that false image and not to ignore it.”
A.M., MA Student



What do you think? Women without Borders (Frauen Ohne Grenzen) welcomes your feedback on Yemen, the global threat of violent extremism, media and terrorism,or whatever else is on your mind!

 
 

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