Experiencing one of the most unique societies in the world…


With the start of the uprisings in Yemen, I knew well enough that the right place for me to be was in the masses of those leading the revolution. I understood the vitality of documenting this crucial moment in Yemeni history, documenting the demands of both the opposition and those loyal to the current leadership. Although born in the US, I have always felt an intense connection with Yemen. My first visit was in 2005, and I insist, it was love at first sight. Since then, I have spent over 30 nonconsecutive months touring the landscapes, studying the people and experiencing the culture. My distinctive identity of being both an insider and outsider gives me the ability of having both a broad and unique perspective. I would like to share my perspective along with my experiences throughout my stay here. Through my experiences, I hope to further explore Yemen and its complexities, at a time when all is transparent and shifting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Raja Althaibani is a college student, a community organizer, media stringer, and a photographer, and she’s only 24. She is currently covering the revolution in Yemen working as a photojournalist and stringer for media outlets like CNN and MSNBC and has been a frequent guest on NPR’s The Takeaway and many other global radio programs. You can also find her work and interviews through other media outlets like the BBC. Ms. Althaibani is a proud Yemeni American, born and raised in Brooklyn, and her passion for her heritage is translated through her work with Not-for-Profit organizations domestically and internationally. As a researcher she focused on the evolution of tribal law and the influence of the Yemeni central government system on the traditional tribal systems. Raja Althaibani is an AmeriCorps alumna who served one year in the largest Arab American community in New York state providing bilingual culturally sensitive social service support to newly arrived Arab immigrants.

Most recently, Ms. Althaibani helped launch the “Understanding Islam Initiative” with President Jeremy Davis of John Jay College of Criminal Justice which included an exhibition of her photography. She is currently pursuing her CUNY BA in Human Rights and International Development. Through her work with numerous accredited human rights organizations, she has insight on diplomacy and international relations. Ms. Althaibani’s strengths lie in community mobilization, political analysis of the status of Yemen, international human rights and Islam.

[Bio Written by community activist, Linda Sarsour:   http://www.arabamericanny.org/staff.html;   http://www.hijabirevolution.blogspot.com/ ]


20 responses

  1. I see, now i come to know ,why was that’ ,collage , 24,yemen , US,2005, tribes low , Carry on the good work, regards..

    May 22, 2011 at 10:35 am

  2. Anna-Lysa Gayle

    Greetings Raja,
    I’d just like to note that your story is amazing. I truly applaud you for going to great lengths to document the uprising in Yemen.

    I am 19-year old, Sophomore Broadcast Journalism major studying in Washington, DC. I am editor of the blog, TheGlobalScope.Tumblr.com, I would love to Spotlight you in my next Blog Post entitle, Freedom Fighters of the 21st Century”. Please respond to me at the e-mail address provided.

    Stay Safe!


    Anna-Lysa Gayle

    May 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm

  3. ur story is all over the webs,,barbershop,Alhasaba,the camera ,the phone,2 hours, glad u still alive, by the way i came to know more things ,CNN, journalist, regards.

    May 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  4. on the vedios u took today, al the shops were closed, why the barbershop alone kept open,u mentioned on them that they migh detain u ,u were around 700metars from the scence .dn’t know ,could u explain?
    remember 11May,,

    May 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    • Every business closed their doors because the violence was leaking everywhere. The video footage I streamed live was from my phone. It got worse later. It wasn’t that bad when I first arrived. When they started moving closer to where I was standing, the shots were by me so me and a bunch of men started running. The owners of the barbershop opened the door so I can hide and thats when the captain came and detained me for questioning. They also threatened me with arrest a few times. I was in al-hasaba for 2 hours before i was able to get out. It was chaos on the streets as saleh forces were battling with alahmar forces with heavy artillery and RPGs bombs. They confiscated my phone and camera right after i closed the stopped doing the live stream. I stopped live streaming because I saw the soldiers coming towards me. And thats when they took my equipment.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm

  5. okay ,thanks… Was just Confuse. Now its clear… Again Glad u r safe …stay safe.. Regards

    May 23, 2011 at 10:30 pm

  6. Observer

    Hi,,I saw and heard the video you posted yestarday, Terrifed little girl screamed..lol .. Do you keep the same driver with you all time?…the voice of the man in the video seems the same voice of the man in your previous videos at Alhasabh district. right ? By the way ..Happy Birthday 🙂

    June 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

  7. ..

    14 July,well …disappointed ,what we can say is ,enjoy your flight..we will see you again in yemen surely,,,

    June 22, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  8. anonymous

    I wish I could be as brilliant as you. Keep up the excellent work sister

    June 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm

  9. Aref Al-Barakani

    جهد عظيم تقومين به،، اتمنى لك دوام التوفيق وكل النجاح
    ربي يسعدك

    July 8, 2011 at 2:58 am

  10. Yemeni & Proud ^ـــ^

    July 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  11. Hi Raja

    Great shots here on your blog!!!

    I prepare for a trip to Yemen in order to do a photo report about the fighting in the south. Care to get in contact with me so I can pick your brain a bit? I would appreciate some information from somebody on the ground.


    Thanks and stay safe


    July 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  12. God will help you on your ongoing coverage to our revolution…..
    You are actually amazing Photographer/Journalist, whom I wish once to meet …
    God will protect our revolution from the Residue of this bad regime.

    Yours Jalal

    July 23, 2011 at 1:19 am

  13. I appreciate your activity! Hope you all the best

    August 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

  14. Hi, I am writer for the Baruch Weekly publication, the Ticker. I would like to contact you and do an interview. Can you please email me at tross840@gmail.com? So we can perhaps discuss??

    September 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  15. I feel your weblog is getting much more and a lot more visitors.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:22 am

  16. Hey, I really like your web site. I was wondering should you utilized a internet designer or in the event you created this website yourself. fantastic job.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

  17. ...

    you came on my mind ,i remembered your birthday ..so i just wanted to say Happy birthday wish you a hundred year more full of joys and Happiness

    June 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

  18. ...

    i wish ,Allah has created an eraser for every human being ….makes him able to erase every disturbing thoughts came to mind ,or memoirs stuck on it

    June 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s