Reconciliation Day in Southern Yemen

Thousands of people from all six southern provinces in southern Yemen flocked to the city of Aden over the past few days in order to participate in the carnival of “reconciliation and forgiveness”. The carnival commemorates the civil war in former South Yemen which took place in 1986 between two factions, one lead by President Ali Nasser Mohammed and the other lead by the exiled Socialist leader and former president Abdulfatah Ismail over the leadership of the Socialist party. According to the origin of the two leaders, Abyan and Shabwa gathered behind Ali Nasser Mohammed while Radfan and Dhale'e rallied behind Abdulfatah Ismail. Thus the conflict which started on January 13, 1986, escalated into a regional war and lasted a month, resulting in the death of thousands of citizens and soldiers, including Abdulfatah Ismail.

Massive crowds from all southern provinces turned out in the anniversary of reconciliation and forgiveness in Aden

Sarah Jamal tweeted:

@Sarah_Sanaa: Southerners have been travelling to Aden for 3 days to celebrate Reconciliation & Tolerance in memory of Jan13. #Yemen!/photo.phpfbid=3657884704860&set=a.1099982238897.13486.1806908431&type=1&theater

Protesters rallying for the carnival of reconciliation in Aden raising the flag of the former South Yemen.

She tweeted some facts:

@Sarah_Sanaa: On this day:Jan13.1986 only in 1 month civil war in Aden resulted in 10,000 killed, 60,000 displaced&refugees and 3000 disappeared.. #Yemen

She also added:

@Sarah_Sanaa: A couple of families that used 2 be enemies in 1986 war get married tdy during reconciliation&tolerance protests #Yemen

A song based on the theme of reconciliation and forgiveness was posted on
ابو عبود (Abu Aboud) YouTube channel:

Hussein Yafei tweeted:

@crazyyafai: january 13th is the day all #SouthYemen tribes, political parties & factions made peace & forgave each other for previous wars & differences

‏@crazyyafai: millions from all over #SouthYemen marched to #Aden city to protest the 7th annual year of forgiveness & peace between all Southerners.

@crazyyafai: This is a picture that combines the 3 protest in #SouthYemen in 3 different squares, 2 in hadrmout & 1 in Aden.

Three different huge parades for reconciliation in Aden and Hadhramaut.

A video posted on YouTube by Mueen Amin showed the impressive crowds chanting for southern reconciliation

Four years after the unification of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Yemen Republic on May 22, 1990, Yemen witnessed a three month civil war between the armed forces of the former Northern and Southern Yemen states, which initially was to protect the unity, yet it jeopardized it even further. The war resulted in the defeat of the southern armed forces and many of the Yemeni Socialist Party leaders and other southern secessionists, who wanted to end the unity, fled to exile. Many southern lands were looted by northern tribal heads and officials and thousands civil servants and security officials were laid off. During President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule hundreds of southern activists have been killed, injured or imprisoned in crackdowns by security forces. Even under president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi's rule, a crackdown on secessionist has occurred.

After the 2011 revolution in Yemen and the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, initial attempts have been recently made to appease the southerners. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is originally from Abyan, a province in the southern part of Yemen, ordered the formation of two committees to address the southern grievances. One was responsible for handling complaints about looted lands after the 1994 civil war while the other was responsible for cases of the dismissal of thousands of public servants and military personnel from their positions after the war. Although the transitional government offered giving the south 50 per cent of the seats of the conference, many Southern Movement groups are still resisting the participation in the National Dialogue Conference, which is expected to take place in the next few months.

@crazyyafai: South & North Yemen united in 1990 & in1994 Saleh waged a war on the south & turned it 2 an occupation instead of unity based on partnership

@crazyyafai: all of the resources including oil in the south were divided between tribal leaders & war lords in the North as a booty of war after the war

He added:

@crazyyafai: Much thanks for president Hadi for ordering all security forces not to fire on the #SouthYemen protest today, Saleh would have killed many.

@crazyyafai:President Hadi is really trying hard to save the unity of #yemen but General Ali Mohsen & corrupt tribal leaders will stand in his way.

Summer Nasser posted on her Facebook saying:

I realized the massive massive crowds today all over the city of Aden. Although I'm from the south, but not pro-separation; I came down to this comment after seeing some photos: “This is real and its getting stronger.” Despite some internal issues b/w the southerners, their mission is pretty much the same: separation from the North.

Something we cannot really ignore… because the ‘mission’ and attitudes towards it is only growing.

Yesterday's event was yet another indication that the call for secession has become loud and clear. With the ouster of President Saleh and the “somehow” fall of his regime, which made both sides of Yemen suffer under its rule, one hopes that there is still time for rectification and reconciliation. Some recent attempts have been made to save Yemen's unity by president Hadi, yet it will certainly need more effort. Less foreign interference, rapid and concrete steps towards healing the grievances by holding those accountable for causing them and restoring what has been wrongfully done is imperative in order to salvage this unity, in any shape or form.


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