Friday, April 22, 2011

Hidden Heroes of the Revolution

Revolutions need leaders to help spark the movement. To maintain the momentum and succeed, everyone's participation is needed. The beauty of this revolution is that everyone has a role. The intellectuals challenge us to think beyond the obvious, artists inspire us with their revolutionary art, historians provide us with lessons from past revolutions, youth are passionately and courageously marching for our dignity and freedom, mothers are cooking for the protesters, human rights activists are documenting violations, researchers are writing policy briefs for the future, and doctors have stopped working in their clinics and instead are volunteering their time for a better future for all.

Not everyone is equally recognized because many are working behind the scenes. Here is a list of some groups of people that are working hard for the revolution with little recognition. There are many other hidden heroes, but this is a small attempt to highlight some.

Motorcyclists: motorcyclists have played a great and important role not only in transporting people and journalists to squares of change, but more importantly their heroic role in transporting the wounded to hospitals; especially when ambulances have been blocked.

: protesters have been camping in the squares of change for two months. During this time, husbands and wives have sometimes been separated for a long time. Without the emotional support and encouragement of the spouse, protesters would not be able to dedicate so much of their time on the revolution.

Lobbyists: there are many different groups in Yemen and outside Yemen that are working tirelessly to help spread accurate information about the revolution and the situation in Yemen to decision makers, media, and influential people. This is often conducted behind the scenes and major players are usually not recognized. Nevertheless, it's a very important job.

Taxi drivers: taxi drivers have agreed to take protesters and journalists to dangerous areas in order to help spread information and report on the current revolution. These acts are also very admirable.

Volunteers: there are many different committees at the squares of change including: media, organization, medical, finance, security, and legal committees. They all depend on dedicated volunteers who work day and night for the revolution. For example, members of the security committee who guard the entrances spend hours doing a long, boring, but very important job of checking all those who enter. Under the sun or rain they remain steadfast.

This Revolution is truly by All and for All.

Pharmacy at square of change run by volunteers
photo by Benjamin Wiacek


Lamya said...

Love this post--yes, all equally heroes whether people notice it or not. I am sure there are heroes inside homes as well. Women who have pushed their husbands, fathers and sons to join protests and kept them steadfast. Behind every great woman is a greater woman. Maybe they have been not able to go because they have very young kids themselves. Also the elderly and disabled who are making dua for the protesters day in and day out. Excellent post maa sha Allah.


WomanfromYemen said...

Thanks Lamya.. yes exactly! the role of supportive family members is so important in encouraging and sustaining protesters.

sophielight said...

Hello, Really enjoying your blog. Your post reminded me of a piece from Hannah Arendt's On Revolution when she decribes revolution as 'the eagerness to liberate and to build a new house where freedom can dwell'. Lamya says that women look after the homes which keep people going. This is important work. But women are out on the streets as well. Will women have a part to play in a new Yemen? In the UK, we are wishing the women and men well in their struggle for a new way of life. Best. Ruth

WomanfromYemen said...

Thank you Sophie.. I like the quote you shared, it really is a new house where freedom can dwell. That's why it's so important to have strong basis for the house.
will Yemeni women play a strong role after the revolution? that is a key question and will depend on the current interplay between different actors. There is a cultural and social revolution that has begun, the extent to which this is internalized and practiced now will give a new direction to the future. we also need to be ready with draft laws to present in order to guarantee our rights. This goes not only for women, but for population as a whole.

sophielight said...

Dear WomanfromYemen,

Some appear to be fearful that women are being marginalised in the formation of a new constitution in Egypt - gender equality has not been mentioned in the draft of the constitution. Will it be similar in Yemen? Tunisia seems to have a stronger culture of respecting women's rights. If there is not much of a legal framework, then can a culture respecting women's political participation take root?
I hope you keep safe and well. Best, Ruth.

WomanfromYemen said...

I completely agree with you.. without good law that guarantees equality we can't push for our rights, but also, implementation is as important. Some women are working together now on draft constitutional amendments & laws so we're ready when a new govt comes.