Friday, May 27, 2011

Violent clashes v. peaceful resistence, lets hope the latter wins

CLICK HERE for more photos of the destruction in Hasaba, wounded people in the hospital, and the peaceful protesters at the square

May 23, 2011 violent clashes erupted between armed tribesmen and government forces in the Hasaba neighorhood north of Sana'a. According to medics, there are 51 martyrs in Sana'a since Monday May 23, 2011, including the death of a young 15 year old boy.

Many civilians have died in the clashes, and homes have been destroyed. Residents report seeing artillery, mortars and tanks. The situation is intensified as citizens in the area have had no electricity or water for the past four days. Families feel worried, scared, and fear for the future. In addition to the physical harm on citizens, there is of course the psychological trauma that children face during conflict. Thankfully, a mediation committee has reached a ceasefire between both sides. However, we do not know the details of it yet, and it is unclear how long it will last.

One civilian home hit by artillery, photo taken on May 27, 2011

The wounded are taken to different hospitals throughout the city, including the Science and Technology hospital in Sana'a. On May 26, 2011 I spoke to many of the wounded at the hospital, some were participating in the conflict while others were civilians. Mohammed al-Ariqy, is one of the civilians who's home was targeted. Mohammed and his 11 neighbors sent their families to the village and stayed to guard their house. On May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm while the 11 neighbors were sitting together in Mohammed's house, an artillery hit the top floor of the house. As they were trying to escape, another artillery hit the house. 7 of the 12 men were wounded and one was killed. “I don't understand why we were targeted? we live 1 km away from the Sheikh's house, we are not supporting either side, why did they target us?”

Mohammed al-Ariqy, 27 years old. Photo by: Benjamin Wiacek taken on May 26, 2011 at Science & Technology Hospital

Despite the violent clashes, protesters at the change square who have been camped at the university for more than three months, continue their peaceful struggle and remain steadfast at the square. They vow to remain peaceful until the end of the regime. Unfortunately, the media is confusing the armed conflict with the peaceful resistance. Each one is a separate issue but both are calling for an end to the regime. I hope that media does not get dragged to focus on sensationalism of potential war and focuses more on the potential for real change through the peaceful protesters who are calling for a modern civil state. Below is video of young man at change square speaking on peaceful resistance.

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