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Archive for May, 2011

For Ta’iz..

On May 29, 2011, ordered by the current regime, security forces stormed into Taiz’s Freedom Square. The city of Ta’iz shook as explosions and heavy artillery and shelling hit the square and other parts of the city. Heavy Gunfire was fired indiscriminately at demonstrators as security forces entered deeper into the square burning everything in sight. Tanks followed demolishing flattening tents. What was once Freedom Square turned into a war zone where screams were heard from quite a distance a way.The local hospital overflowed with casualties as hospital staff sent out a humanitarian plea appealing for emergency assistance “we are understaffed, and lack supplies!” They said. The distress calls continued as the attacks on demonstrators continued. Hundreds were reported injured and over 50 killed.

Ta’iz has not seen a day of peace since the start of the uprisings. Although they were able to take back Freedom Square, they still face escalating violence and brutal repression by security forces. The death toll keeps rising as demonstrators remain persistent and determined.

The day following the attack, Sana’a staged a mass march in which thousands of demonstrators marched in solidarity with the people of Ta’iz. The people of Ta’iz continue to be an inspiration to those also leading the peaceful resistance out of Change Square in Sana’a. Sana’a has been facing similar acts of brutal repression and escalating violence. Today they marched to remember those who lost their lives on that horrific night.

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A horrific massacre took place on Sunday May 29th in Taiz when Security Forces stormed to the Freedom Square. Heavy explosions shook the city with very heavy gunfire that was fired indiscriminately on the youth protesters in front of the Administration Building. The youth protested in front of Cairo Directorate to demand the release of the detained and kidnapped youth but they were surprised by random live ammunition and grenade bombs that were thrown at them. The hospital was getting full very fast and distress calls were made appealing doctors, surgeons and orthopedics to help save a life as injuries were increasing by the minute.

According to witnesses, Security Forces tried breaking into Freedom Square from Agriculture Bank while using heavy gunfire and tear gases on the protesters. Just then, at the start of the attack, two dead were announced and 50 others injured by live bullets, Al-Safwa Hospital was drowning in blood.

Republican Guards, Central Security and Saleh’s thugs were attacking the peaceful protesters, they were located on the top of the nearby buildings and they were shooting the protesters directly. This video shows how inhuman they are.

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Urgent Call to the International Community from The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYR)

Statement no.43-B
Thursday , May 29, 2011

Urgent Call to the international community
Stop the Human Massacre in Taiz City – Yemen
——————————————–

المجلس التنسيقي لشباب ثورة التغيير: (تنّوع)
The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change
http://www.facebook.com/CCYRC
——————————————–

As we write this statement to you, the security forces and republican guards in Taiz city in Yemen are attacking peaceful protester at protest camp for the past three hours resulting in many killed and hundreds wounded, we do not have exact number, as people are being shot at the moment with live ammunition.

This is an urgent call to all the international human rights organizations, Governments, UN Counsel, and leaders of the world who call for global peace.
Please act NOW, unarmed citizens are facing a merciless war simply for demanding PEACE and FREEDOM. They are being forced to evacuate the camp site, under live fire by machineguns and heavy artillery.

The aggressive regime has forbidden all media activities and personnel from visiting freedom and change squares around Yemen, and evacuating them. There is no media coverage in Yemen, the regime is acting with aggression against Yemeni citizen with barbaric force.
PLEASE ACT AND IMMEDIATELY TO HELP STOP THE ONGOING KILLING.


Guerilla Journalism: The Dangers of the Frontline

I was stuck in a war zone, my equipment was confiscated, and I was interrogated and threatened. What a day! I am physically and emotionally exhausted. The situation here in Yemen is worsening by the day. Escalating violence, increased tension and frustration has made everyone slowly begin to reach their breaking points. All this is snowballing into what seems like a huge black hole. With only a few international journalists on the Frontline, just enough to count on my one hand, reporting has become quite a task and a dangerous one at that. Photo/journalists have been beaten, intimidated, threatened, arrested and deported while attempting to report what’s on the ground. If you are a Photo/journalist in Yemen, you are a soldier and a warrior. You are placing your life on the line. You familiarize yourself with methods to increase your chances at survival and to ensure your own safety. Soldiers target you on the ground with their Kalashnikov and Gunmen on rooftops with their sniper guns. You do your best to survive. You familiarize yourself with your environment, search for open doors leading to residents homes or yards and alleyways to prepare to take cover when the gunfire starts. You prepare a story to tell the soldiers, who if you’re lucky enough, only detain you for questioning. You are always alert, and as the Marine Corp puts it: Complacency Kills.

This comes with a photo/journalist’s territory, especially one on the Frontline. Photo/journalists are identified and targeted by the cameras they carry. It isn’t an easy job. With that being said, I am one of those lucky people who were able to get away from a situation that could have dramatically turned awry. Today, I woke up to reports of gunshots in Al-Hasaba, Sana’a. The event’s specifics were still being confirmed. It was later reported that there was an internal gunfight between Saleh security forces and Al-Ahmar tribesmen. There were further reports of the Al-Saeeda and Yemenia airlines offices on fire due to the conflict. The story continued to develop as it was reported that the gunfight had moved into a local building that is an all girls school. The school was empty. I decided to head over to the location in effort to film some footage of the Yemenia/Al-Saeeda fire and meet some of the staff members trapped in the middle of the conflict.

My cab driver stopped me a short distance from the gunfight before telling me he had to leave. At this point, all I heard were rounds of live ammunition. I ran across the street to where some bystanders were taking cover and asked for updates. “It’s a fight between Saleh and Al-ahmar men,” a man said. Suddenly a sound of an RPG blasts. “It’s not safe here, you need to leave” another man tells me. The fight was clearly escalating as heavy artillery and weaponry was being used. This isn’t my average march where I’m being chased with demonstrators by Security forces. This was FAR MORE DANGEROUS. I knew I had to get out. As I turned looking for the safest route to take, a man approached “Who do you work for?” He asked. “I’m a freelance reporter with CNN, MSNBC and other American media outlets, why?” I answered. “You know it’s against the law to report?” he told me. “No, I didn’t know that. But that’s fine, I’m leaving anyway.” This man looked suspicious. He was wearing a green raincoat and dressed in plain civilian clothes. It was clear he was an officer. The men who were next to me whispered, “get out of here now.” The man with the raincoat pulled out his phone to make a call as he kept his eyes on me.

I begin to walk away making my way towards the end of the street where I could stop a cab. A group of soldiers walked by me, on their way to join the fight on the other side of the street. I rushed past them quickly moving, suddenly they started yelling, “Hey you! Come back! Come over here!” I had no choice but to answer them, there was no other way to go and they were carrying weapons. I turned around and made my way back to them. I saw the man in the raincoat pointing in my direction as he spoke to them. “Yes? Is there a problem?” I asked. “Hand over your phone,” one of them said to me as the other soldier asked, “What were you filming?” “Nothing, this man in the raincoat said it was against the law to film so I decided to leave.” I answered. “Who do you work for? Al-Jazeera?” Another soldier asked. “NO! I freelance for American media.” I replied. “Open your bag!” A soldier yelled. They searched my bag and found my camera. “What were you filming?” the soldier yelled. “Nothing!” I yelled back, “I wanted to film but this man here said I couldn’t! Check the SD card!” “Let me see some ID!” he demanded. I took out my Yemeni ID and American passport. “We need to see something that says shows the name of the American news organization.” The soldier is still yelling. “I work freelance! Why don’t you understand what I am saying?” I yelled. They began walking away with the camera and my cell phone “Hey! Where are you going? You have no right to take my things! I wasn’t doing anything wrong!” I was yelling at that point as they continued to walk away and raised their weapons in attempt to scare me off.

At this point, one of the captains had already made their way from the area of the conflict to me. The soldiers were already at the opposite end of the street, entering the fight. “What’s the problem?” the Captain asked. A group of about 20 men had surrounded me; all bystanders who watched the entire thing unfold. “They took her camera and phone!” “Make them give it back!” “Stop bullying the poor girl” they yelled. Suddenly the sounds of heavy artillery increased and the sounds of RPGs were getting closer, louder and more consistent. Rounds of live ammunition were flying towards us as the battle expanded and we were about to get trapped right in the middle of it. “RUN!” Bystanders yelled. I ran as fast as I could, looking for open doors, alleys, parked cars or anything I could use to take cover. I couldn’t find anything. Suddenly a barbershop owner opened his door and told me to hide inside. As I ran in to take cover I found the captain rushing in as well.

I sat at the barbershop as the owner pushed nosy bystanders away from the front door. The captain sat beside me as I explained the entire situation to him. I also sat through an interrogation as he asked questions about my intentions and why I was in Yemen. “You know they want me to arrest you?” he asked. “I don’t care. Please do. Maybe then you’ll believe me. Take me to you office so I can show you who I work for through online correspondence! Arrest me! And even if you tell me to go home I won’t without my property.” By the end of the interrogation he sees I was distraught and upset and promises me that he will get me my camera and phone back. For the next hour, I wait as he “tries” to get my things back. I can’t trust anyone. It was a war zone outside the barbershop doors and I knew I had to get out before it got any worse. I took the captains contact number and took three different cabs home just in case I was being followed.

For my own sake, I won’t go fishing around for my camera. It is unsafe. It’s difficult trusting anyone. My camera is gone and I am thankful that I am well and safe. I got very lucky unlike many others who’ve faced worse repercussions. But I can’t feel too safe, they have my full name and have my phone that is filled with personal contact and information. I must always be aware and alert. I must expect and prepare for the worse. I am unsafe until Yemen is no longer deemed unsafe. I’m not sure when this will be, but I do hope its soon. For all my fellow photo/journalists, stay strong and alert. You are survivors and warriors! And for all those on the outside, it’s getting rough in here and we desperately need your help! Yemen needs you.

For live footage of Today’s attack visit my Bambuser Live Stream Account. The footage was taken right before my equipment was confiscated and before I was detained:
http://bambuser.com/channel/rajaalthaibani
http://static.bambuser.com/r/player.swf?username=rajaalthaibani


Yemen’s Revolution: Timeline 2011

Since the start of Yemen’s insurrection against the 33 year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, hundreds have been killed and abducted, and thousands injured. Below is a timeline from the start of the uprisings in January, feel free to comment if you see I am missing anything:

FEBRUARY

2 February 2011: Thousands of Yemeni opposition supporters take to the streets of Sana’a, Aden and Taiz on the “First Day of Rage”, protesting against the government’s constitutional amendment allowing Saleh to run for another term. In a speech, Saleh promises not to run for president again or hand power to his son Ahmad, the Republican Guards’ commander. Saleh urges dialogue and engagement in “a national unity government”.

3 February: Tens of thousands of protesters in Sana’a on “Second Day of Rage” decry government corruption, and Saleh’s control of power and resources. Saleh again calls for dialogue with the opposition.

10 February: Thousands of Southern Movement (SM) supporters march in several parts of the south in protest at a military siege imposed by the government. They demand the release of all political prisoners detained for their involvement in SM, which is accused by the government of promoting secession.

11 February: Thousands of SM supporters staged protests in the southern cities of Aden, Abyan, Dhalea and Shabwa demanding Saleh leave power. Local NGO Yemen Human Rights Observatory (YHRO) says the government arrested at least 10 protesters. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns.

12 February: Thousands in Sana’a celebrate Mubarak’s downfall, call for Saleh’s ouster, but are confronted by pro-Saleh demonstrators in al-Tahrir Square. Thousands of university students head towards Egyptian embassy calling for an end to Saleh’s rule; two are injured after being attacked by Saleh supporters with daggers and sticks.

13 February: Tens of thousands rally in front of Sana’a University as well as in Liberty Square in Taiz. They are confronted by pro-government demonstrators in both cities. Government security forces arrest 120 protesters in Taiz, according to Yasser al-Maqtari, a human rights activist from Taiz.

15 February: Around 2,000 Saleh supporters, backed by undercover police, attack over 3,000 student protesters in front of Sana’a University, using sticks and electric batons, Khalid al-Ansi, executive director of the National Organization for Defending Human Rights and Freedoms (a local NGO know as HOOD), tells IRIN.

16 February: Around 500 protesters in Aden demand Saleh’s ouster. Two protesters killed in Sana’a.

17 February: At least 25 injured in clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in front of Sana’a University.

18 February: Four killed, 11 injured when the authorities attempt to disperse thousands of protesters in Aden in a demonstration called “Friday of Start”. A local council building, police station and several police vehicles are set ablaze, Mohammed Salim, a riot police officer, tells IRIN from Aden. At least three killed and another 87 injured when a grenade is thrown at tens of thousands of protesters in Taiz’s Liberty Square. Ten injured in another protest staged in the southern city of Mukalla.

19 February: One protester killed and another 15 injured in clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators in front of Sana’a University. Another protester killed in Aden.

21 February: The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), an opposition coalition, and Houthi followers in the north declare their support for the young protesters demanding Saleh’s ouster. Tens of thousands take to streets of Sa’dah, demanding same.

22 February: At least five students injured in clashes with Saleh supporters in front of Sana’a University.

23 February: Ten MPs resign from ruling General People’s Congress in protest at the government’s crackdown on protesters. Two protesters killed and 23 injured in Sana’a.

25 February: Hundreds of thousands of protesters stream onto the streets of Sana’a, Taiz, Ibb, Amran, Sa’dah, Aden, Dhalea, Mukalla, Lahj, Shabwa, Abyan, Dhamar, Marib, al-Jauf and Hodeida on the “Friday of Immovability”. At least 7 killed and dozens of others injured in Aden, according to HOOD.

26 February: Senior sheikhs from Yemen’s main tribes (Hashid and Bakil) declare their support for the protesters. “Saleh and his regime must leave now,” said Sheikh Fasail al-Dheli from the Hashid tribe. “How is it possible for a regime to reform things in two years after it failed to do so in more than three decades?” he asked.

27 February: Eight killed, 36 injured in Aden protests, raising death toll since 2 February to 26, according to YHRO.

MARCH

1 March: Hundreds of thousands rally in most main cities to express solidarity with the families of protesters killed in Aden in a day named “Tuesday of Rage”. “Ending Saleh’s rule is the only option for us. We will not leave this place until Saleh steps down,” former MP Fuad Dihaba tells IRIN.

4 March: Two killed, six injured when army attacks anti-government protest in war-torn Harf Sufyan District, Amran Governorate.

6 March: Some 25 protesters injured in Ibb after being attacked by ruling party supporters.

8 March: Some 70-80 students injured and one killed after government troops fire at protesters in front of Sana’a University. “The troops used a toxic gas against the protesters,” said Hussein al-Shawjali, a volunteer neurologist at a mobile clinic providing medical services to protesters at the university. “Dozens are comatose or suffering spasms… Their lives are at high risk as we don’t have information about this toxic gas to prescribe the right serum for the victims,” al-Shawjali tells IRIN the following day. Sixty injured (20 of them police) in clashes between prison inmates and police in Sana’a central prison.

10 March: Saleh goes on TV to announce plans to change the constitution to move to a parliamentary system.

APRIL

5 April: Three killed and more than 400 injured in renewed clashes between thousands of protesters and police in Sana’a and Taiz.

6 April: Tens of thousands of demonstrators besiege Taiz Governorate’s administrative HQ in protest against the firing of live rounds at them the previous day. Fifteen activists arrested in Aden following clashes with the police.

8 April: Hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets in about 15 of Yemen’s 21 governorates on a day the protesters call “Friday of Determination”.

10 April: Four killed, 43 injured in clashes between protesters and riot police in Taiz. Some 500 protesters taken ill after inhaling tear gas.

11 April: Saleh announces his acceptance of a 30-day exit plan offered by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. The plan anticipates Saleh handing power to his vice-president in exchange for giving him and his family immunity from prosecution.

12 April: Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets of main cities to protest against the GCC proposals.

13 April: Five soldiers killed, four injured in clashes between the First Armoured Division, which defected from Yemen’s army, and government troops. Two protesters killed in Aden.

15 April: Hundreds of thousands of protesters go onto the streets in about 17 governorates on what they call “Friday of Tolerance”. Some 13 protesters injured in Taiz.

17 April: GCC foreign ministers meet Yemeni opposition in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Two protesters killed, 45 others injured in Sana’a. “Ambulances taking injured protesters were attacked by pro-government thugs and their staff injured,” Mohammed al-Qubati, deputy manager of the field hospital at the Sana’a University protest site, told IRIN.

21 April: Fifteen people, including 13 soldiers, killed in clashes between a contingent of the Republican Guards, led by Saleh’s eldest son Ahmad, and armed tribesmen in the southern governorate of Lahj. “The clashes erupted after tribesmen moved to drive a Republican Guard contingent from a strategic position in their area,” Mohammed al-Khalidi, a tribal sheikh, told IRIN from Lahj Governorate.

22 April: Hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets of main cities on what they call “Last Chance Friday”. The president’s supporters rally in the Sabeen area of Sana’a. Ten Republican Guards killed in an ambush by armed tribesmen in Marib Governorate.

27 April: At least seven killed and more than 100 injured in clashes between protesters and government supporters as the former advanced towards the state TV building in Sana’a.

29 April: Hundreds of thousands demonstrate in 17 of Yemen’s 21 governorates on what they call the “Friday of Loyalty with Martyrs”. Saleh dismisses Attorney-General Abdullah al-Ulifi for demanding there be an investigation into the former’s relatives who lead the Republican Guards, Presidential Guards and central security forces, over the killing of 52 protesters on 18 March.

May

4 May: Tens of thousands of people in Sana’a, Taiz, Hodeidah, Ibb, Dhamar and other cities demonstrate against the government’s bombing of Yafea District, Lahj Governorate. The government accuses the opposition of cutting off the tongue of a poet loyal to Saleh.

5 May: Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in Sana’a, Aden, Taiz and Ibb to press Saleh to step down. Protesters announce that 7 and 11 May are to be days of civil disobedience.

6 May: Hundreds of thousands demonstrate in almost all Yemeni governorates on what they call “Friday of Loyalty with People of the South” who were bombed from the air. Speaking to his supporters in Saneen area, Saleh vows to crack down on what he called “opposition-backed bandits” who hit oil pipelines and a power plant in Marib Governorate.

8 May: Three protesters killed, 20 injured in clashes with riot police in Taiz and Hodeidah governorates.

9 May: “Revolution youth” close government offices in Ibb, Taiz and Hodeidah. Four killed, more than 100 injured in Taiz after government troops try to disperse protesters besieging government offices in the city.

10 May: Demonstrators march out of Tagheer ‘Change’ Square demanding President Saleh’s resignation.

11 May: Saleh security forces dress in Ali Mohsen’s uniforms to trap protestors leaving twelve killed, more than 150 injured as thousands of protesters advance towards the Council of Ministers’ building in Sana’a. Another eight killed in Taiz, Hodeidah and Ibb.

13 May: Three protesters killed by police in Ibb city as hundreds of thousands take to streets in almost all Yemeni governorates on what they call “Friday of Decisiveness”. Speaking to his supporters rallying in the Sabeen area on what they called “Friday of Unity”, Saleh says: “We will encounter defiance with stronger defiance.” He urges loyalists to align with the army and security forces in defending government institutions. Clashes between the First Armoured Division and Republican Guards in Ban Matar District, 40km west of Sana’a, leaving three soldiers dead.

14 May: Five Republican Guard soldiers killed in an ambush by tribesmen in Marib Governorate, 180km east of Sana’a. Six members of the government security forces killed in Rada city, Beida Governorate, 150km southeast of Sana’a when armed tribesmen attack a security checkpoint at the city’s eastern entrance.

18 May: President Saleh scheduled to sign GCC deal. Saleh refuses to sign the deal hours before scheduled time. Candle Light Vigil held at Tagheer ‘Change’ Square in Sana’a for all those abducted and unlawfully detained by the regime.

21 May: President Saleh celebrates national holiday Unity Day with a Military Parade and Speech. JMP members sign deal and President Saleh’s signing is rescheduled for Sunday May 22nd.

22 May: Day starts with celebrations for Unity Day all over Yemen and Sana’a. Demonstrators celebrate in change square as President Saleh celebrates on Police Street. President Saleh scheduled to sign GCC deal. Saleh refuses to sign the deal hours before scheduled time demanding that the opposition members resign the plan in his palace. Sana’a is under siege by Saleh military, thugs and supporters. Streets are blocked and chaos hits the streets. US ambassador at the same time was trapped in the UAE embassy as Saleh’s military and thugs surrounded the perimeter carrying weapons. UAE Foreign Ministry sends a message to the Yemeni government warning to protect embassy staff, diplomats and ambassador or else the government would be held responsible. By the end of the day, US ambassador was airlifted out of the embassy for further precaution. Gunshots heard all over Sana’a. Supporters blocking all roads with batons argue they won’t leave until they are reassured Saleh won’t sign the deal. Many believed that this was an act ordered by the president. Saleh later announced that he would not sign the GCC deal in respect for all those who came out and demonstrated on the streets in support of him.

List of Sources:
http://www.trust.org
Human Rights Information & Training Center: http://www.hritc.net
Women Journalists Without Chains: http://www.womenpress.net
Yemen Observatory for Human Rights: http://www.yohr.org
Hood Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms: http://www.hoodonline.org
http://www.newsyemen.net
http://www.sabanews.net
http://www.alsahwa-yemen.net

http://www.barakish.net


Obama’s Speech and the Role of the US in the Middle East

Today’s foreign policy speech by President Obama is going to redefine the role and position of the US in current international affair. After the death of Osama Bin Laden and the rush of the Arab Spring, Obama will be catering to both Domestic and International Audiences tonight. EVERYBODY will be watching and taking critical note of every word said and every point made. Everyone expects a lot out of this speech. Some seek more information about US counter-terrorist efforts, and many, specifically in the Middle-East, will be seeking more firm and pro-active statements made about autocratic rulers in the face of the Arab Spring. International humanitarian organizations will seek dynamic efforts to help tackle the rush of human rights abuses coming in from insurrecting states (i.e. against mass graves and killings of peaceful demonstrators). As a world super-power and ally of many of these nations undergoing radical change, the US is expected to take more solidified efforts in foreign policy when approaching these issues.

This speech has come at a pivotal time in history. Yet, I think we are placing too much dependability and culpability on a government that in itself has its own political interests at hand. Diplomacy in the 21st century is definitely overrated. We assume that the US should take bold and extreme action in the face of international hurdles and instability. We need to be less naïve and more realistic. We need to find a middle ground. Although Obama launched a campaign of “change”, it is clear that this change is quite limited. The US government is comprised of multiple voices with varying political interests. Even if Obama wants change, there is a system in place that will prevent such a thing from happening.

Realistically, the US will not interfere in political unrest in any international state unless it includes its interests. This is why in the case of Yemen, human rights violations are less appealing and inspiring than topics like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It isn’t the role of the US to directly and explicitly intervene in Yemen’s political unrest. It isn’t in their best interest. I’ve heard a lot of discussion about US military intervention. For instance unlike Iraq, Yemen cannot substitute in rich resources to surrogate a military intervention. Military intervention in Yemen will also be unwelcomed, disastrous and counter-productive. It would sink Yemen further into political and social instability.

Yemen’s instability has definitely caused more concern for the US. This does not necessarily suggest that there should be any military action taken on the part of the US. Although Yemenis are not anti-America, they certainly are anti-occupation or invasion; therefore, the Yemeni people would misinterpret any implication of US military support and presence as a sign of incursion and invasion. Those inflicting the unjust killings and attacks on innocent people can also use the US military as ammunition. They are likely to claim that they are now not only fighting for Yemen’s unity but against an external force and threat of imperialism. In this case, military intervention is more likely to incite more violence and further instability.

The only form of support coming from the US should take more vocal form rather than force. It should start with a statement by President Obama articulating his support for the will of the Yemeni people rather than seeking to maintain his alliance with President Saleh. Obama should come out with a statement and appeal for the immediate resignation for President Saleh. This would be in the best interest of the US in terms of international relations and keeping alliance with Yemen’s subsequent government.

This should also include US efforts with international intervention (UN). This support again should not come in the form of American flag and military, but through UN peacekeeping efforts like the Blue Helmets. Support needs to appear in a more impartial and implicit form. It should appear that the intention of the US is its humanitarian concern for the people and their demands.

What Obama will say in his speech in the coming hours is uncertain. I am sure many of us will be disappointed. But it is also up to our communities in the US to continue to lobby for our nations in Washington. This involves more of a circular effort involving all, including the media, some who have failed in their obligations to fully report the situation on ground.


Breaking News: Opposition and Saleh have reached a Deal, GCC plan to be Signed Today:


Mass Graves Found in Sana’a: O Obama, Where Art Thou?

HOOD organization for defending Rights and Freedoms held a press conference this past Sunday discussing a case that may be new to the public, but has been the chief concern for human rights activists and organizations in Yemen. During the conference, HOOD revealed that they have been building a case investigating reported bodies found in trash cans in the Beit Bous area of Sana’a. Eyewitnesses reported that these bodies were dismembered and scattered around the residential area. The watershed moment for this case was when HOOD recently received leaked incriminating government documents further substantiating the role of the current regime in covering up crimes committed against peaceful protestors.

Since the start of the uprisings, the current regime has yet to fail in using brutal and deadly force against peaceful protestors. During marches and rallies, human rights organizations have received first hand accounts and eyewitness testimonies of mass abductions, mostly of the injured and dead. Some of these reports speak of ambulances unaffiliated with recognized hospitals, taking the injured and dead without any word or hearing from them ever again. There have been additional reports of unmarked and unlicensed cars abducting casualties. Most of the abducted have yet to be heard from, and many family members suspect that their loved ones are victims of the regime’s campaign of violence and murder; further adding to growing anxiety and rage that has become more clear by participants of the movement.

The regime has made no effort to conceal their brutality against demonstrators at moment of action. Security forces have received strict orders from their superiors to fire live ammunition and use deadly force against demonstrators. They have also been ordered to continue with their arbitrary arrests of what Saleh calls “terrorists” and “destroyers” of Yemen.

HOOD, in collaboration Human Rights Watch, and Khaled Alansi of Khaled Firm and former executive director of HOOD are continuing on with the investigation. The case has made tremendous progress as eyewitness reports are being corroborated with testimonies from physicians from the military hospital. The doctors report receiving the bodies of demonstrators by government forces, with their faces mutilated beyond recognition, so as to remain unidentifiable. In terms of utilizing dental records for identifying identity, visiting your dentist in Yemen is a luxury and is a ritual only for those wealthy enough to afford it. This hinders the identification process, and with faces mutilated, it is impossible for recognition.

Alansi states that after the April 9th march that ended in an ambush against protestors in Sana’a, he received an important call from a doctor who worked at the military hospital. The doctor confirmed that dozens of the dead and injured were brought to the their hospital the night of the ambush. In the days following, Alansi and HOOD reported receiving more calls from doctors corroborating their testimonies and further providing evidential support for the claims that were made. It is still unclear to how these demonstrators ended up dismembered and in mass graves in Beit Bous. These details have yet to be released. The investigative human rights organizations and attorneys stated they recently received official and authentic government documents substantiating eyewitness testimonies. These documents have also linked the role of the government to the once arbitrary reports of dismembered bodies; further incriminating them of their attempts at concealing their crimes.

Human rights organizations and participants of the movement hope that if the weekly reported deaths of peaceful demonstrators haven’t motivated the international community to react, this case will. Maybe mass graves and dismembered bodies will inspire President Obama to finally give a speech firmly pushing for Saleh to step down, a speech that is well OVERDUE. A speech that will bear heavy influence over Saleh’s decision to abandon his post. What is keeping Yemen’s current dictator strattled and clinging to his throne is Saudi Arabian and US support. Yemenis hope that with this horrific breaking news, their ally, the US, and the Internal community will be finally be inspired to firmly intervene and withdraw support for the current dictator and regime. If not, if the sanctity of life no longer holds value for us, than we are in big trouble. If the international community remains quite, even after this, than this further vindicates the backwards progress we’re making as a more global society. And it will further thwart our struggle to attain universal human rights and the progression of Yemen as a whole.

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Yemeni Women as Leaders

“Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We’re not inherently anything but human.”
-Robin Morgan (1941- ), the feminist editor and writer

In this photograph a *Niqabi* Yemeni women leads a group of rallying men.

Tagheer “Change” Square; Sana’a, Yemen 04/07/2011


“Tear Gas” and “Smoke Bombs” Revealed to be Expired and Damaging to Health

Security forces have been consistent with their extreme use of tear gas. What bewildered me most was the effects it had on the demonstrators. Extreme symptoms like seizure-like palpitations, vommiting, extreme burning sensation in lungs and entire chest area are just to name a few. Long term effects are still unknown. All that is known is that is it extremely damaging to one’s health. About a month ago, I was at a march that ended in security forces attacking us with live ammunition and “tear gas”. I inhaled a small amount and was able to flee. This small amount began to make it hard to breathe. I also felt the muscles in my chest stiffen. It was painful. Since then, I have had a persistent cough. Here is a document revealing that the “smoke bombs” are expired:

Transcribed by Yusra Ahmed
Translated by Abdullah Al-Maisari
Released by Nasser Al-Maweri
————————————————————–
Hood Revealed another documents addressed to the commander of Central Security from Rashad al-Masri, Minister of Interior on 07.04.2011 letter number (1130 p.) emphasizes that smoke bombs being used in the suppression of protesters are already expired and it is damaging to health.
The letter “with reference to the note by the Attorney-General (…) attached a copy of the medical report prepared by the committee charged with exploring the fact that smoke bombs used in the riots . that report includes that smoke bombs that expired must not be used in such cases , So (. ..) We stress the need not to use this type of bombs since it cause serious damaging health problems.

Click Here for Document: https://rajaalthaibani.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/expired-tear-gas.jpg


Appeal for Emergency Support for Square’s Makeshift Hospital

Raja Althaibani
https://rajaalthaibani.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/RajaAlthaibani
rajaalthaibani@gmail.com

Amel Ahmed
http://iqadh.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/iiamelii
amel.ahmed@gmail.com

Dear Supporters;

We are appealing to you for emergency support concerning Change Square hospital. We, Raja Althaibani and Amel Ahmed, are two Yemeni-Americans currently based in Yemen who have been here since the start of April covering the current uprisings in Yemen. We are here as photojournalists and stringers for international media such as CNN, MSNBC and Press TV. We also offer assistance and support to Taghyeer “Change” Square’s makeshift hospital. On May 2, 2011, we visited the hospital staff and took a tour of the vicinity, which was formerly Sana’a University’s mosque. Dr. Abdulaziz, the head of operations, gave us a tour of the surgical unit, pharmacy and general medicine area. Based on our observations and the information given to us, the medics are in dire need of particular medical supplies and are short-staffed. Thabet al-Jarady, a member of hospital staff, provided us with a list of needed items at the end of our tour. See attached list of Medical Supplies

As the GCC diplomatic initiative fails to make progress, demonstrators have expressed their frustration and have escalated efforts in drawing international media attention through frequent mass marches and sit-ins. Their marches are met with deadly force and brutal repression, leaving the makeshift hospital overwhelmed with casualties and fatalities. The role of the makeshift hospital is crucial. The chief objective is to stabilize those in critical condition for safe transport to major hospitals. This is quite a challenge since they are understaffed, and lack the equipment and medicine needed to perform with effectiveness and efficiency.

We are reaching out to our contacts in the United States for help in fundraising. Cash assistance is preferred due to the obvious difficulty of transportation and freedom of movement. We have attached the contact information of Dr. Abdulaziz and Mr. Al-Jarady. We have also provided a notarized list of needed medical supplies in English and Arabic.

Email us for further information and instructions on donation arrangements.

Thank you for your continued support.

In Solidarity,

Amel Ahmed
amel.ahmed@gmail.com

Raja Althaibani
rajaalthaibani@gmail.com

Medical Supplies