Articles in Category: Jemen

"Women are always the compromised card in political struggle"

on Thursday, 26 February 2015. Posted in Jemen

The Taliban of Yemen - Coup d'état in Yemen

Nadia Al-Sakkaf, former Minister of Information in Yemen, writes about the situation of women in the new ruling Houthi council.  And the situation is alarming: "The Houthis brush the political achievement of Yemeni women aside as if it was a mistake", she says.  In times of conflict and war women's rights are among the first to be cut. They are the "low hanging fruit". But it's high time to acknowledge that without the active participation of women in society and politics, there will never be peace and stability.


Nadia Al-Sakkaf

A new violent religious movement known as Houthis which has taken over Yemen’s capital and many of its northern governorates across five months, announced a constitutional declaration on February 6, 2015. The early signs of the Houthi rule are alarming when it comes to human rights but especially for women.

Brautschau im Jemen

Written by Helene Aecherli on Wednesday, 19 November 2014. Posted in Jemen

Ahmed al-Aziz hat zwölfmal geheiratet, ist neunmal geschieden, hat zwanzig Kinder und derzeit drei Ehefrauen. Ginge es nach ihm, so wäre ich seine vierte Frau geworden.


 Illustration: Tina Berning

Als wir vor der Villa anhalten, die mein neues Zuhause werden könnte, lässt der Regen allmählich nach. Der nasse Asphalt um uns herum schimmert im fahlen Licht der Dämmerung, die Luft riecht nach Teer und frischer Erde. Es ist 19 Uhr, die Zeit des Maghrib, des Abendgebets, über der jemenitischen Hauptstadt Sanaa liegt eine lethargische Stille.

"Now we have a road to go together"

Written by Helene Aecherli on Monday, 03 November 2014. Posted in Jemen

An hommage to the Yemeni politician Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil

He had told me to turn left in the hallway, to walk up the stairs to the first floor and to meet him in his sitting room. He apologized for this - as he felt - rather unsuitable way to welcome a guest, but after he had been hit by a motorbike and been severely injured, he found it difficult to get up and down the stairs. This attack on him had happended about a month before I met him at his house in the Yemeni capital Sana'a in April 2012. He had stepped out into the street after a meeting, it was dark, but the guy on the motorbike aimed deliberately at him and run him down. The guy on the motorbike was never identified. In that night, however, Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil, then 73, managed to escape death.

When I came up to the masraf, the sitting room, the sun was just breaking through the colored glass window turning the rows of books on the shelf beneath into a shimmering light. 


I remember that I was surprised how quiet it was. There were no generators humming. Electricity must have been on again. Dr. Mohammed Al-Mutawakil sat crouched on the cushions on the floor.  

"....and my son almost got kidnapped"

Written by Helene Aecherli on Sunday, 21 September 2014. Posted in Jemen

A voice out of Yemen

Yemen is on the brink of a civil war: In the Northeast of the capital Sanaa clashes have been going on between Shia Houthi rebels, government troops and the members of the islamist lslah party; the clashes threaten to spread over the entire country. Almost all international flights to the capital have been cancelled, schools have been closed.
For days I have been in contact with Abudlfattah Alghurbani, the founder of "Yemen reading points", an initiative that aims at enhancing the level of education in the impoverished Arab country. But unfortunately his initiative wasn't our main issue. I just wanted to know how he was. Abdulfattah lives with his wife and four children in Ibb, a city around 200 kilometers South of Sanaa. He tells me how they try to go on with their lives and how they struggle against their fear.
Here is an extract of our conversation:

Dear Abdul, how are you? Are you safe? I worry about you.
Hi, Helene, I am not good at all. Three of my cousins have been killed, the last one three days ago during demonstrations in the capital Sanaa. And my son almost got kidnapped.

Why in English?

Written by Khadega Al-Sunaidar on Saturday, 29 March 2014. Posted in Jemen

I want to have the right to ask "why"!

I have a lot of debates, arguments or fights, sometimes, in my mind as everybody does. But the strange thing is that when I focus on the language I use I find it's English. Hmmm, I am an Arabic-native speaker, so why do I speak with myself in English?

That really drew my attention and so I put big question marks. Then I started to dig deep in myself looking for an answer. I received these theories from me: 

"I wanted to break the chains"

Written by Khadega Al-Sunaidar on Monday, 24 February 2014. Posted in Jemen

I am from a Sana‘ani  family. In my family, it hasn‘t been important for a female to finish her high school. Once she is 16 or 17 years old she has reached the age of marriage. To get married is her destiny and that is what she has to be prepared for. During my studies I was doing household works. That was my mother‘s priority. She thought, that my certificate wouldn‘t be useful  as sooner or later I would end up in my husband‘s house anyway. The female in my family has been considered a burden that the parents strive to get rid of by getting her married.

„Es ist Zeit, vorwärts zu gehen“

Written by Helene Aecherli on Tuesday, 07 January 2014. Posted in Jemen

Der Kampf der alten Machteliten ums politische Überleben versenkt den Jemen in Chaos und Anarchie. Schiessereien, Entführungen und Stromunterbrüche gehören zum Alltag, auf den Strassen des Landes herrscht Angst. Doch birgt Anarchie auch die Chance für neue Freiheiten. Vor allem für Frauen.



Written by Helene Aecherli on Tuesday, 10 December 2013. Posted in Jemen

Clashes, bombs, kidnappings, al-Qaeada: This is the usual news from Yemen. But other things happen in Yemen as well. There are guys, for example, who collect books to establish mobile libraries. Be it Arabic novels, Shakespeare or scientific literature: Reading enhances the level of education. I spoke to Abdulfattah Alghurbani about his initiative "Yemen Reading Points".



Letters from Arabia Felix

Written by Hana Al-Showafi on Sunday, 13 October 2013. Posted in Jemen

Letter One

When I happen to be on a mini bus, I keep looking at people walking in the streets of Sanaa and listening to the conversations between the driver and his passengers. I see poor innocent people, who try to make ends meet and still try to smile. And lately I observed an incident that tells a lot.

Last Night's Concert

Written by Abdo K. Ramadan on Sunday, 08 September 2013. Posted in Jemen

Hommage to my village Alnuzah


 Moon light,

On the roof where I spent last night

Spreading its rays in the air at my sight

Smashing the darkness gently reaching the inns and bushes, coming from height


More deal than partnership

Written by Hind Aleryani on Thursday, 29 August 2013. Posted in Jemen


Throughout my life, I have heard many stories about women who were married at the age of 15 or who were forcefully married. One of my school friends even married someone she had never met and was only allowed to see one black-and-white picture of him (I still don’t know to this day why there were no colors in that picture).

These stories are by no means strange to me as a woman, but I never knew what the other party, i.e. men, thought.