Yemen to the Rest of the World: Silence Kills!

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world and was the third to join the Arab Spring on February 11, 2011, following the downfall of Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak. Yemen's revolution is a legitimate outcry against corruption, illiteracy, injustice, nepotism, poverty and tyranny. It is a call for a peaceful regime change, freedom and basic human rights which Yemenis have been deprived of for so long.

Revolution background

Yemen's revolution has been ongoing for more than seven months and has been amazingly peaceful and remains admirably so. It is worth mentioning that Yemen is known to be the second most armed country in the world, after the United Staes (US), with approximately 60 million firearms in a country with a population of 23 million.

Despite some clashes between some tribes supporting the revolution and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's troops, and although protesters have been facing continuous violence by the regime, the youth marching in thousands throughout the country insist to keep the protests peaceful and not a single bullet has been shot.

The regime forces have however, continuously and excessively used violence to crackdown on protests. Peaceful marches have been attacked with live bullets, expired tear gas, cannon sewage water and batons, resulting in killings, injury, suffocation from gas, torture and arbitrary detention.

Excessively violent crackdown

The Report of the High Commissioner on OHCHR’s visit to Yemen issued on September 13, called for further investigations and a probe into human rights abuse. The report indicated that hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured since the crackdown on protesters began.

This video shows an example of how the security forces deal with peaceful marches such as the one that happened in Taiz on Thursday, September 15. (Video posed by FreedomTaiz).

The regime forces used live bullets, water canons, and tear gas to disperse the protesters, even women were not spared from the attacks as the following video from Taiz shows. (Video posed by FreedomTaiz).

One man was killed and many were severely injured, including women, on Thursday.

Another peaceful march was recently attacked in Sanaa on Sunday, September 18. More than 800 protesters were wounded, including 265 with live bullets, and at least 26 were killed. The death toll is expected to rise, since 96 are in a critical condition.

WARNING: This video contains graphic scenes towards the end, of the injured protesters being rushed to a field hospital. (Video posted by mediacentersanaa).

The regime forces did not hesitate to use live bullets to disperse protesters. Water canons and tear gas were used as well. This video shows snipers in surrounding buildings and on roof tops aiming at protesters. (Video posted by YouthStandYEMEN).

This is one of the videos in a series showing graphic images of the injured in the field hospital.

WARNING: Graphic content (Video posted by mediacentersanaa).

Economic and humanitarian crisis

The prolonged revolution has also caused a grave economic and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where 45 per cent of the population already live under the poverty line, earning less than $2 a day. It is costing Yemen billions of dollars every month.

Besides the loss of lives and injury of many people and a refugee crisis, the entire population has been enduring domestic gas, fuel, water crises, power outages and food shortages – a collective punishment tool by the regime to intimidate Yemenis to submission.

The Republican Guards headed by Saleh's son, Ahmed, aided by the air force continuously and almost daily shell and bombard villages in Arhab and Nehm, killing and injuring scores of innocent civilians, damaging houses, wells, fields and vineyards. Many residents fled to neighboring villages to seek refuge in mountain caves, similar to those used in the dark ages, to escape the violence. (Video posted by la7jPress).

The endless fight against the so called “Qaeda” elements in Abyan and US drone attacks caused more than 100,000 refugees to flee to Aden and live in schools as shown in this video. (Video posted by la7jPress).

The Gulf Cooperation Council's initiative in all it's modified forms did not address Yemenis aspirations. Instead, it embodied favorable terms for Saleh rather than the people and thus was widely rejected, albeit signed and approved by the formal opposition, the JMP. This move has caused a huge discontent and rift between the official opposition and the independent Youth movement.

The US and Saudi Arabia have been passively calling for a peaceful transition yet continue to support Saleh, militarily and financially, thus supporting his regime to quell the anti-government protest and allowing their crimes to continue. Each has their reasons for not being enthusiastic about the revolution.

Saudi Arabia fears a successful revolution and a democracy at its doorstep and the US fears loosing an ally and long time partner in their “war against terror” and fighting AQAP, which is the US's major concern in Yemen, rather than it's democracy and the well being of its people, which in turn would reduce the Al Qaeda threat.

This video shows the Yemenis who have been marching in millions almost daily in cities across Yemen for months, persevering and enduring all forms of hardships amidst continuous violence, yet peacefully and resiliently demanding a regime change and aspiring to build a civil state in a new Yemen. (Video posted by KareemooS).

Yemenis are outraged by the world's silence and media blackout towards the human catastrophe their country is facing and turning a blind eye on the regime's crimes, which they perceive is a direct reflection of the lack of world and regional support for Yemen, mainly due to what they see as the interference of the US and Saudi Arabia.

This video shows how they expressed it clearly in a silent protest on April 9 in Sanaa. (Video posted by FiredoglakeTV).

A hashtag #SupportYemen has been created on Twitter and a campaign last week encouraged the use of social media to shed light on the revolution in Yemen, where mainstream media has failed.

@AjYemen tweeted encouraging people to use the hashtag #SupportYemen:

@AJYemen: Let's get the world's attention to #Yemen, as everyone's silence kills the people of Yemen. Spread and use this hashtag #SupportYemen

In his tweet @Yemen4Change wondered why Yemen's revolution wasn't getting any media coverage.

@Yemen4Change: OUR demands r legit, OUR protests r peaceful, OUR ppl r seeking basic human rights, why r we being forgotten by media? #SupportYemen @hrw

A group of Yemeni activists planned together another silent march, to be at the same time in different cities around the world where there are large Yemeni communities, and in cities in Yemen on September 24 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm to condemn the world's silence and the current media black-out towards Yemen's revolution under the name #SupportYemen- Silence Kills!

This video contains some of the powerful images that portray this beautiful peaceful, yet very marginalized and almost ignored revolution. (Video posted by Soso4410).

So don't be silent and Support Yemen!

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

Thumbnail image taken from ‘‪The Beauty of Yemen Revolution‬’ video posted to YouTube by Soso4410.


  • Obama is giving this the same silence which he is giving to Syria and Iran.
    I have been concerned by the current administration’s policies towards the Middle East. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on Friday expressed regret over the fall of US ally Hosni Mubarak “while President Obama sat on his hands.” This sitting on his hands, as I have mentioned several times, goes back to the Iranian uprising in 2009.

    Earlier this year Obama attempted to put Israel on the US State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terror; however, pro-Hamas Turkey is to chair an Obama backed counter-terrorism body. This panel is not to include Israel and is being done quietly, in the shadows of the UN General Assembly this week. Hillary Clinton calls this “smart power approach to counterterrorism,” and described the founding group as “traditional allies, emerging powers and Muslim-majority countries.” I call it another attempt to subjugate the power and strength of America to its enemies.

    There is also that little and far too under-reported “want” from the administration to put in a direct phone line to Tehran.

  • […] has been difficult to get anyone to pay attention to Yemen. For months, ever since President Ali Abdullah Saleh had been rushed to Saudi Arabia for treatment […]

  • […] Snipers took aim at the civilians from rooftops near Change Square, the epicenter of the revolt, gunning down children as young as 4 years old and exacting a fearful toll on the unarmed demonstrators. […]

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