The beautiful side of Yemen: The cup is still half-full

The beautiful side of Yemen: The cup is still half-full

Publication info

Posted
3/28/18
By
Abdulhakim Al-Ansi

Three years of war have left Yemen damaged and paralyzed. Nowadays, everything you hear about Yemen is conflict, division, food crisis and cholera. People around the world are wondering how Yemenis are still able to cope with this extended crisis and how it affects every aspect of life.

According to UN reports, Yemen is experiencing a critical humanitarian situation, and the number of people in need is increasing. Despite the fact that more than half the population needs humanitarian assistance, people are still surviving and fighting to defeat the harsh circumstances of the crisis.

 

Social life and division:

The war that started in March 2015 has forced around 3 million people to flee the conflict zones, and as Yemen is a blocked country, its people have to move within the country’s borders. As a result, most of the families have fled to cities like Sana’a, which is one of the calmest areas, considering the frequent airstrikes and ground fighting in other governorates. The conflict has brought Yemenis from different places to the capital city in greater numbers than ever before. Many families that were separated across the country now live in one city. In the neighborhoods of Sana’a, diversity and unity persevere in spite of the violence that has damaged and destroyed lives and filled so many hearts with hatred. In one residential building, you will see dishes of desserts coming out from an apartment going to another one. Friends who belong to different Islamic sects are having their Iftar* together during Ramadan. Colleagues who have different political views still work for the same goals while respecting each other’s opinions. Although the war undoubtedly has a negative psychological impact on each and every person, we can find a wide segment of the society trying to keep the beauty of having their hearts united.

 

Fire Up & Fire Down:

If you drive at night in the streets of Sana’a and stop on one of the hills, you will see the city drowning in darkness; there is no electricity at night since the war started three years ago. However, you will also notice so many fireworks exploding in the night sky. The display suggests a national day of celebration, but the true source is the many wedding parties culminating on the ground below. Surprisingly, the brilliant display of color doesn’t stop even when the military crafts are hovering above or even hitting some areas of the city; the party continues and Yemeni people will keep dancing until the very end.

 

“Where is the bomb?”

Imagine yourself hearing the sound of bombs coming from different places around you; there is no electricity to turn the television on, and it is too late to call people to ask what is happening. This is what the situation of Yemenis was during the first months of the war, and from that experience came “Where is the bomb?”: A social media initiative delivering vital news throughout Yemen. It is a group on Twitter and Facebook where you can find information about where the explosions are occurring. This group has rapidly been followed by a large number of social media users who not only read the news, but also offer their own updates with instant photos, videos and information from where they are living. Such an initiative made the internet the fastest source of news. The most interesting part of this, to me, is that the older generation finally broke the barrier between themselves and technology in large part due to the use of social media in spreading the word about this conflict. They have learned how to use smartphones and mobile data — and to dive into the world of social media. Nowadays, you will see people older than 60 putting on their reading glasses and not only surfing for news, but also downloading books, watching YouTube, and listening to their favorite music.

 

*Iftar is the meal that Muslims have at dusk to break their fast during the month of Ramadan.

Three years of war have left Yemen damaged and paralyzed. Nowadays, everything you hear about Yemen is conflict, division, food crisis and cholera. Although the war undoubtedly has a negative psychological impact on each and every person, we can find a wide segment of the society trying to keep the beauty of having their hearts united. (Photo: Omar Alobaidi/CARE).

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