Yemen’s Tyrant and a Bloody Friday

“Democracy in Yemen did not stop, instead it is in a continuous development, there is no other way to follow rather than democracy, it is our national way for building up our country, it was not imposed on us by others (i.e. the U.S.”.

— The Tyrant, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen
On Friday, March 18, 2011, Yemen’s Tyrant, President Ali Abdullah Saleh chose to unleash his police and snipers from rooftops to commit a massacre, a bloody Friday, against thousands of peaceful protesters gathered after Friday prayers demanding his removal.  At least 45 protesters were killed and many more wounded.  This has been the bloodiest massacre committed by Saleh’s forces since the peaceful uprising began weeks ago, although his police, thugs and supporters have been killing and injuring these peaceful protesters gathered at Sana University for weeks.

Hospitals are overwhelmed and many mosques are now converted to morgues.   Doctors report that the wounds suffered by the dead and injured were direct sniper shots to the head, neck, and chest.

In the weeks prior to this Friday dozens of peaceful protesters have been killed.  Many of them were in the south of Yemen.

What kind of a madman would massacre the youth of his nation to simply retain power.  In Saleh’s case It’s only two remaining years of his term.

Yet neither Saleh nor his murderers were successful in dispersing the dedicated crowd of tens of thousands of peaceful protesters raising their voices above the voices of bullets demanding their freedom long denied by this dictator for 33 years.

Saleh has not shied away from using American made Nerve Gas against these protestors as well as other protesters in cities across the country.   This is a war crime and a crime against humanity.   His forces have used tear gas, nerve gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition but the protests continue nevertheless.   Yemen’s population is willing to peacefully endure all the bloodletting by this tyrant to achieve their goals of a free democracy.

On March 16 in the port city of Hodeidah hundreds of peaceful protesters were attacked by pro-government forces injuring more than 200. 

His forces for weeks have killed and injured innocent protesters in cities across the country from Aden in the South, to Taiz in the center of the country, to Ibb, Al Mukala, Sana, Hodeidah, and cities in the north.

After this bloody Friday Saleh, like all his Tyrant brethren, established emergency law to murder, imprison, torture, exploit and expel people at will, as if that wasn’t the case already.

After the massacre he appeared on television laying blame on the protesters themselves for disturbing the peace of the people in their homes and shops breaking down their doors which led to a reaction by these disturbed citizens.  He blatantly lies in denying the involvement of his police despite videos to the contrary.

Joe Stork, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director of Human Rights Watch on March 12, 2011 issued this statement:

“President Saleh has once again broken his promise to end attacks on peaceful protesters, and those who supply his government with weapons risk complicity in this bloodshed. Yemen’s donors in the region and beyond need to make clear that financial and security assistance is contingent on ending these attacks.”

His main financial and military complicitor and benefactor is the United States. That’s why the U.S. (and Israel), the greatest violators of International Law, refuse to join the International Court of Justice. They know they are guilty, but to them, prosecution of war crimes is meant for the “others”, never them.

President Saleh without any conscience or thought was greedy for American money and weapons that he even sacrificed the lives of his own people to America’s military to bomb in their so called “war on terrorism”.   A man who would sell his own people is more than capable of killing them himself.

According to Wikileaks President Saleh was more than happy to give America carte blanche to attack any alleged militants anywhere in the country by any means they choose.

According to the UK Telegraph: “Mr. Saleh said he would publicly continue to insist that its domestic forces were acting against terrorism when in fact American personnel and munitions including cruise missiles were engaged, the documents show… (he) made the comments to John Brennan, Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser…He told him: "I have given you an open door on terrorism so I am not responsible."  — UK Telegraph:  “WikiLeaks: Yemen’s president offers US unrestricted access to fight al-Qaeda”, December 4, 2010

As is the daily case in Afghanistan, an American cruise missile strike against suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in 2009 killed 52 people, including 41 innocent civilians in Yemen.   Rather than chastise America as Karzai frequently does for this massacre, Saleh chose to imprison the Yemenie journalist, Abdul Ilah Shayi, for reporting this crime.

Like all Arab tyrants, Saleh’s hold on power is more important and valuable to him than the daily blood he spills of young men denied freedoms, jobs, education, health care, the opportunity to afford a modest home, get married, raise children, and live in peace and security; all the while he, his sons who command his private army and security forces, extended family, and cronies have embezzled billions of dollars of Yemen’s wealth deposited in European and American banks.

Do you know much about Yemen?

You may know it by two other names:  The Land of Sheba (mentioned in the Bible and Qur’an) and “Arabia Felix” as named by the Romans who after passing the large desert of Arabia found a nation of mountains, rivers, an agricultural paradise with step farming on mountains, and advanced universities.  The Land of Sheba was ruled by a Queen–”her name was Bilqis.

Did you know Yemen was the first country to farm coffee and poured the first cup of coffee?

Have you heard of Mocha Coffee, Mocha Chocolate?   The name Mocha is derived from the port of Mocha in Yemen where such exports were shipped from.  Mocha, the port city still exists today.

Did you know Yemen built the first Dam in the world–”The Marib Dam whose remains are still in existence?

Did you know that it was one of the oldest, richest, and most progressive civilizations in history?

Time and history has not been kind to Yemen, especially its modern history.   From a closed repressive monarchy established in early 20th Century to the brutal military dictators of today, Yemen has been frozen in time.

Yemen is the poorest Arab country and one of the poorest in the world ranking 173rd  out of 229 nations in GDP/Capita ($2600) with 45% of the population living under the poverty line, i.e. on less than $2 a day, according to the CIA World Fact Book , 2010.  It ranks 158th out of 180 nations in Literacy Rate, less than 60% literate, according to the United Nations Development Program, 2009.  One of the best and most important health indicators of a nation is the Infant Mortality Rate which is the number of deaths of infants less than one year of age per 1000 live births.   According to the CIA World Fact Book, 2009 Yemen ranks 180th  out of 224 nations.  Its infant mortality is 54.70 per 1000 live births.

In 33 years of rule under President Saleh the Yemenie population in general has gotten poorer, with higher unemployment, increased poverty, poorer health indicators, and insufficient schools and teachers to meet the demands of an increasing school population; while there has been a growth in the wealthier class.   The Middle Class in Yemen has all but disappeared.    Under his rule corruption and bribery are the norm of the day, the price of doing business which places an enormous burden on an already poor population.   Nothing gets accomplished in Yemen without a bribe to even the lowest of government employees.  

His sole claim to national fame is his unification of North and South Yemen into one nation in 1990.   However over the years his humiliation, neglect, and lack of empowerment of the southern population have led to years of protests tor secession from the union.

Additionally in the north President Saleh has faced an insurgency led by the Houthi group, a Shia tribe that claims the government has discriminated against them and the Yemenie Shia in general.   Despite the fact that the Houthis have a relatively small army Saleh’s military that allegedly he’s spent billions of dollars on modernizing its weapons has failed to achieve any victory in this conflict.  In fact what one sees on television in this conflict is a Yemenie army dressed in civilian clothes or old military uniforms, outdated meager weapons, pickup trucks for transportation, no modern mode of communication, and an ill trained command structure.  The only strength and capability of this “army” is to kill the innocent in loyalty to its benefactor, the great Arabian Knight and Tyrant–”President Ali Abdullah Saleh.  Where did those billions disappear to?

The days of President Saleh are numbered.  The far majority of the nation stands against him with everyday seeing more and more tribes joining the protesters against him.   In fact the two largest and most powerful tribes in Yemen have publicly declared their opposition to him and demand his immediate resignation.   More and more of his military and security forces are defecting to join the uprising.  Many in his own party, the Cabinet, and in the Legislative council have resigned and now stand against him as well.

With every drop of blood he and his guards and paid thugs spill of innocent precious Yemenie blood only means he’s digging his grave faster and deeper.  It’s only a matter of time before he joins Ben Ali of Tunis, Mubarak of Egypt, and soon Al Gaddafi of Libya.   These men are not even fit to rule a mental institution much less nations.

The only question is what is his threshold of killed youth before he realizes he’s lost all power and legitimacy?  Each Arab tyrant apparently has a set number of massacred youth before he surrenders his dictatorship. President Saleh has ruled and embezzled wealth for 33 years yet he’s adamant to remain the last two years of his term.

What will two more years of tyrannical rule achieve for him or for the country?  Is his greed still unsatisfied?   Who can possibly believe him when he says he’ll actually step down in two years when in fact before the last election he said he won’t run for office again only to have his cronies dish out money to thousands of impoverished Yemenies to demonstrate to show their dying love for the Tyrant and begging him to run for another term? In his generosity and humility he stood proudly in front of these hysterically chanting throngs telling them okay, okay, you force me to run again against my wishes. His hypocrisy is nauseating.

This man is a liar, a killer, a corrupt ruler, and a thief. He came to power in 1978 after the two previous Presidents were assassinated. Since Yemen’s revolution against its monarchy in 1962 Yemen has never enjoyed peace, security or prosperity.   It’s time for a change, a change of democratic hope and freedom, a change toward a better future, a change where the people’s interests supersede the interests of internal or external powers who wish to see Yemen poor and subdued.

The cries of the courageous protesters across the country and from Sana University’s newly named “Square of Change”, change will surely be realized, God willing.

Yemen, after the United States, is the second most heavily armed nation on earth.  (Reuters 8/28/2007)  Thus far the Yemenie people have demonstrated a heavily civilized peaceful protest to change the regime, but what is of most concern is that Yemen is a tribal nation whereby such government massacres can eventually deteriorate into a bloody civil war.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” — President John F. Kennedy

God be with this national uprising and its youth as He is always with the oppressed.   God be with the grieving families of the dead and injured.  May God accept the martyrs of this mad man, this bloody Friday, and all previous days in His mercy and paradise.  May all the injured be healed by His grace, and may the days for President Saleh’s rule be short and swift.

May God be with the Yemenie people as we all ask Him to be with all people oppressed, occupied, and denied their freedoms around the world.

If there is any justice left in this world he and the ousted and soon to be ousted Arab dictators must face justice in the International Court of Justice.   But if not, there is a greater justice, the final Divine Justice that awaits them, those who’ve supported them internally and externally, and all of us.

I pray that all men and women who read this article shall raise their voice to the White, Congress, and the Media. If we remain silent when our fellow man and woman are murdered, then there is nothing left in our humanity and conscience. Amen