Friday, April 26, 2013

Call It What It Is

My cousin went on a rant on facebook and I thought that I'd take the privilege and repost it here.  It makes perfect sense and I just wanted to hold on to his thoughts:

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's the reason why we live in this country. But now if you are like me you can't even send your kids 500 bucks in Yemen without getting declined and or told the system is down. Is this the cost of fighting terrorism that we alienate law abiding citizens of basic rights based on faith or national origins? I tried today again from another location and it went thru so I thought it was probably procedures that we all must follow now especially after this Boston Marathon thing. Then the lady at western union tells me they asked for a whole lot of info and she had to fill in from the top of her head and that this only happens when sending to Yemen. I scratched my head and said why did you fill in the information from your head and is this going to affect me sending my family money in the future? She said no but really? We have to bullshit now so we don't look like criminals? It's time we stand on behalf of all Muslims in this country who are feeling alienated by this crap. It wouldn't happen to any other race or creed only us because we are afraid to fight for our rights. We are afraid to speak up about being discriminated against. We need a new civil rights movement in this country. Don't be afraid Muslims you have nothing to hide. Don't let these terrorists hijack your rights. And don't let these racists in our government belittle you. LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. I THE MUSLIM, JUST LIKE THE JEW AND THE CHRISTIAN AND GAY AND THE ATHEIST DEMAND MY RIGHTS! I understand it's not an easy job but we need our elected officials to extend a hand to those law abiding citizens who feel like they will one day all be put in concentration camps and or get stripped of their citizenship and deported because of the actions of a few. Stop this fear mongering in the media. Call it what it is "racist"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

If I get Struck by a Drone

I'm going to Yemen in a couple of weeks to visit family and to have a well deserved vacation.  I will be in Abyen for a few weeks (home of the best predator drone strikes in Yemen).  I'm afraid of being killed in a drone strike by the US government.

I was reading Jeremy Scahill's new book "Dirty Wars" and I've come to the conclusion that if Abdurahman Al-Awlaki, a 16 year old US citizen, can be killed by a drone strike from his very own US government (without a charge of a single crime), then I too, can be killed in a drone strike.  The only difference between him and I, is that I've already been visited and interviewed by the FBI on March 30th, 2010.  I don't know if they think that I'm a terrorist but I believe that they wouldn't have stormed into my home and my workplace if they had thought I wasn't a terrorist.

I've only told a few people about my encounter with the FBI only because I feel that people might look at me differently.  I feared being ostracized by people (friends and family alike).  Maybe now my comments and tweets would be put under a microscope for the simple fact that I've been visited by the FBI.  Some people (haters -- we all have a hater or two in our lives -- some we know and some we don't know) might utilize this information against you.  Anybody can call the FBI and claim that you're doing suspicious activity and it would seem plausible if your name is Mohammed or Ahmed or Mohammed Ahmed and if you've been visited by the trench coat boys (the FBI).

So I've decided to just up and say to the world that I've been "visited" by the FBI.  In my own eyes, I'm not guilty of any crime nor can I be accused of any crime in the past or in the future (I say future because my intentions are not to commit a crime in the future).  But these things haven't stopped the US government from killing (purposely and/or accidentally) its own citizens abroad.  So in essence, this is my message to the world if I happen to get killed by a drone or a US missile while I'm in Yemen visiting my family.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I don't think that many in the north acknowledge the southern issue.

That worries me the most.

But it was almost expected.  I don't want to seem like a naive southerner that thinks that everything can be OK as long as Ali Saleh is out.  No.  It will take sincere and maybe even extreme measures to ensure that the southerners are respected and given their due.

I've hear a few tweeters argue that the capital shouldn't move from Sanaa to Aden.  People have said that just because Aden has an ocean, it doesn't make it fit for a capital.

Why not?  Is it because it's far away from any northern tribal control?  Is it because the level of corruption hasn't reached to the level of corruption in the north?  Is it because the weather there is so much better?  Is it because it's had experience as a capital before?  Is it because it's just too far damn south?

In fact, after all is said and done, it should be the first act to be completed to show faith in the south and in the people of the south. I mean, everything has been gradually taken away from them.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Southern Issue

I found this generic post a few times on facebook. I thought it was a relatively accurate and summed up description of the Southern Yemeni dilemma:

"The Southern Issue:
Is the issue of four million people living in the area of more than 333.000 km 2 in six provinces
It is an issue of the Independent State Member of the United Nations and Arab League, which gave up its membership in international institutions and the capital, "Aden" and its currency "dinar" to be in union with North Yemen, and establish a fair democratic state that can be a comprehensive Arab Union.
It is the issue of that State which was subjected to a cruel war in 94 resulted in the transfer of unity to annexation and causing waste of the Southern citizens’ rights and looting of land and wrongful termination of tens of thousands of civilian and military cadres and its institutions have been vandalized and its identity has been blurred, and it’s wealth plundered.
It is the issue of the people that poverty was for them the title of the post-disaster, "7 \ 7", which the Sana'a authority made a Holiday , while the day is a disaster for the South, the continuation of accusations of separatism and treason haunted to this day.!
Southern Movement:
Is a peaceful movement launched South Yemen, or what was formerly known as South Yemen Arab Republic or Democratic Republic. Before uniting the northern and southern halves
The first Southern movement was launched in 2007where some of the brass held demonstrations demanding their return to their military duties in the army after they were retired by the government of Yemen as a direct punishment because of their participation in the war of secession which President Ali Abdullah rejected the disengagement process requested by President Ali Salem white former President of South Yemen.
Since the start of military demonstrations there were many demonstrations in several southern provinces and sporadically and without any regulation or coordination or specific leaders, but was mostly an expression of policy of rejection, exclusion and marginalization practiced by the regime and the Yemeni government against the people of the south.
In the twenty-fourth of March 2007the Southern Movement have been officially launched by the associations of retired military personnel and their demands confined in the settlement of salary and rank, like their colleagues in the Yemeni army and claiming that they are working under the umbrella of a single state and there must be equality between everyone, but what happened was quite the opposite where the Yemeni government insisted on the marginalization of their demands and not pay them, forcing them to go out on demonstrations demanding to return to the pre-unity and to demand the return of State of the South ..
When the government chose to ignore some people and ignored their legitimate demands they also tried to stop the demonstrations by force and arrested some demonstrators in an attempt to stop the demonstrations by force and ending them, committing a terrible mistake as pouring fuel on a weak fire which could have easily been put out but instead they increased the suffering of the demonstrators instead of achieving their demands so their demands rose, instead of equality in the salary their demands are to split the state and return to the pre-unity which is the total demand that demonstrators want to achieve now in the south."

More information can be viewed on this pretty well documented video on youtube:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Everybody is dying

So I’ve noticed a few things in the two protests that I’ve attended at the UN, calling for an end to the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime.  The first protest took place on February 25th 2011, a few hours after the killing of over 20 peaceful protesters in Aden.  This protest at the UN was last minute and the majority of the protesters were of southern Yemeni descent.  I can tell because I understood their dialect of (southern Yemeni) Arabic and the fact that I knew a lot of the people there on a more personal basis.

The second protest was held on Friday March 18th 2011, a few hours after the morning massacre in Sanaa in which the army killed over 56 peaceful protesters and injured well over 300.  During this protest, which was also sort of last minute-ish, had an overwhelming majority of northern Yemenis.  I would say all of them but I saw some friends and family of mine from the South there.

When I asked a southerner friend of mine as to why he didn’t join us in protest in March 18th he emphatically replied, “When we protested, they pointed at us and scoffed, calling us ‘seccionists’ and the ‘conspirators against the unity of Yemen.’ Let’s see how they like it when their children and friends are shot and killed in peaceful protest.  How do they feel when they go protest and no southerner goes with them?  It’s a small taste of the pain that we’ve been through during the past four years.  We will protest with them, in due time.  But they first have to taste the bitter taste of betrayal.  They have to feel the same pain that we’ve felt.”

Everybody is dying; Northerners and Southerners.  The problem is that people haven’t awakened to realize that the animosity that was stirred between the two sides arose from Ali Saleh’s tricky ways to have us hate each other.  And out of that hate for each other, he distracted us from the real enemy, himself.  It may not be easy to put aside years of carefully grown and planned out hatred, but I’m sure it can be done.  It’s easy to forge an alliance with this person that you’ve called an “enemy” when the real threat arises, especially if that threat is the one that pit you against each other.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finger Pointing

Some southern Yemenis nowadays are talking about the Yemeni freedom revolution against the tyranny of Ali Abdullah Saleh being a little bit too late.  They feel as if the north has usurped the southern land and have left the south crippled economically.  The fact that the majority of the oil is in the southern lands and the south never reaps any of the benefits is a major contributing factor.  To be a major oil exporting country and to have the majority of the citizens be under the poverty line takes a lot of stealing.

In 2005, Ali Abdullah Saleh landed a critical blow in damaging the economic stance of Aden.  The leasing of the port of Aden to its number one competitor, Dubai Ports International for $83 million for 30 years was a stab at the economic opportunity that lies in the strategic positioning of the port city of Aden, which for hundreds of years was one of the most important ports and gateways of the shipping world.  The port of Aden was second in importance to Boston harbor for most of the 20th century.  And as Jane Novak excellently put it, it is a “blatant act of economic malfeasance.” 

Anyone willing to invest in companies in Yemen, specifically the south cannot open a major business or enterprise without the exclusive inclusion of Ali Abdullah Saleh or his family members.  Just ask all of the prominent Yemeni business men that are living abroad in Saudi Arabia that wish to invest in their homeland of Yemen.  Ali Abdullah Saleh will not allow any business to run without him getting a cut of the business or profits.

The cotton gin in Abyen in the middle of the city of Ga’ar has been emitting toxic fumes that has caused many people who live around there to get sick for years.  Had this factory been in any other place in the world it would have been shut down due to the health hazards and risks it poses to its neighbors.  However it remains open even after all of these years only because the president’s nephew owns the company and could care less of the health of the residents of the city.

These are just some of the sources of income that Ali Abdullah Saleh has stolen.  The South has survived for generations on its oil and its port and now, no one is surviving because everything is being taken away.  However, after all of these years of theft, who are the ones that are seeing the money?  Is it the poor people of the north?  No.  Granted they might have had the benefits reinvested (and I use that term VERY loosely) into their cities, but they are not the ones that stole it.  They are not the ones that are keeping the billions of dollars from oil revenues.  They are not the ones that sold out their country for a profit.  It was Ali Abdullah Saleh and his mafia crime family that did it for his own personal benefit.  

So to the common southerner that believes that the unification can’t exist because the south has been sold out, I say, yes the south has been sold out.  But the south was not sold out by the north.  It was sold out by Ali Abdullah Saleh.  The unification can exist in harmony.  Many people have pointed to a government like that of the United States of America or the United Arab Emirates.  Each province would be its own state and would be under one federal rule and would be responsible for its own economic growth.  But that’s for another blog for another day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unclaimed Baggage

I’ve heard people recently tweeting about putting the differences aside from the north and the south and banding together in unison against Ali Abdullah Saleh and his family of thugs and to the common southerner that might be just too little, too late.  Consider this scenario:  you are a southerner living in Aden and you feel that you have been treated unfairly and in and unjust way by the government.  You are peacefully protesting.  Other people from around Aden empathize and peacefully protest with you.  Five of them get shot dead.  You turn to your brothers at the north, who you know are not being treated well either, to join you in your peaceful protests for changes in the regime and for justice.  They ignore you and more of your friends get killed in peaceful protests.  This same scenario goes on for four years and the death toll has risen to over 600 innocent people. 

What do you think is going on in the mind of the common southerner as his plea for his brother in the north for help gets ignored?  It’s a feeling of betrayal.  It is a feeling that they weren’t really unified in our struggles but just unified in our borders.   If your neighbors and brothers from the other side who are suffering as well do not stand up with you during your time of need, then who needs them?  Secession was the only answer.

But one man in Tunisia burned himself and two dictators got overthrown by the people and…

So now when they average northerner says “well let’s band together and overthrow the regime as one voice, one Yemen in solidarity,” you will have to excuse the jubilation that comes from the southerner as the unification can be saved.  But you will also have to excuse the southerners for being a little bit angry at the blood that had already been spilled from their side in the past four years.