written by LUCIA PALMERINI
Before to leave her house she had to be accompanied by a man, now by a bodyguard. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize has not made her life easier, but more vulnerable to retaliation and threats both her and her family. In fact, in Yemen, the life of any woman is difficult and full of injustices, from laws that affect them inspired by sharia: in addition not to be able to move freely outside their home, women are forced to marry when they are young girls or child, in most cases with a stranger, and violences inside the house are not a crime. But tawakkul Karman is not afraid, or at least she has shown to have great courage by taking over the reins of the protest, leading processions, choirs singing and shouting into a bullhorn. Among the demonstrators her pink with flowers nihab stood, women trusted her, saw an alternative in her, a possible change, menlet them to be guided by this young 32 year old woman who just asked for a better future for her, for her children, for women, for her country. The only way to silence her was to arrest and jail her for four long days, as had already happened in the past. The accusation made by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power for 33 years, women took to the streets not to be “good Muslim” has done nothing but increase the intensity of indignation and protest. The international pressure did the rest allowing the release of Karman Tawakkul that, once she returned free, continued to struggle with her people for freedom, justice and fairness.
Yemen is the poorest Arab countries, life expectancy is still 60 years, there are 53 deaths on average every 100 live births. The drama of this country is more evident in the data on poverty, if in 1992 20 percent of the population were below the poverty line, today we find almost half of the population with less than $ 2 a day, then it becomes not difficult to understand why the population has moved into the streets to protest. Poverty is added to the disastrous situation of women, participation in school is less than their male counterparts: only 31% of girls are enrolled in primary school and the percentage decreases with increasing age, the rate of literacy in general, is one of the lowest ever, 50.2 percent, although an improvement over ten years ago with an increase of about 12 percentage points. The policies implemented by the government in response to the problems of the country were found to be unsuitable and insufficiently robust and have fostered Islamic fundamentalism in the poorest areas and increased instability. The latest twist came last week after months of protests and clashes with the opposition, in a speech broadcast on state television, President Ali Abdallah Saleh has made public his intention to relinquish the power. Maybe it’s just another political move to defuse the international controversy surrounding his almost forty years presidency, that resurfaced after the award of the Nobel Prize to Tawakkul Karman that led back to the fore the situation in Yemen.
In fact, the change in Yemen is not around the corner even though President Saleh, who is supported by the United States, says it wants to relinquish power. In fact they still remain a mirage both the long-awaited free elections and the freedom of press and expression which does not really exist. Everything goes through the government offices that monitor what is being disclosed, but not the network, the Internet is free, flies over any prohibitions and breaks down every barrier, and just from internet the first protests began, from internet news of the “Arabic spring” arives, thanks to Internet demonstrators organized and managed the protests and brought heir cry for help to the West. It is not a coincidence that the protest walk from the Web, internet users has risen from just over 10 thousands in 2000 to almost 2 million and a half of 2009, in 5 years the number of Internet hosts has grown from 166 to 255, and about the mobile phones (one of the cheapest ways to access the web) 35 per cent of the population is owning one, compared with 0.18 in 2000, numbers that are destined to grow. The neo-Nobel Prize Tawakkul Karman, who was inspired by Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, for his country wants a social and non-violent revolution, she dreams to elect a new president as soon as possible and knows that the only way that can help her and her Yemen to achieve these objectives is the web.
11 ottobre 2011
Pubblicato da Il Fondo Magazine
Translated by Lucia Palmerini