Story of Aimen

Yemen

My name is Aimee. I am a youth worker. I organise & implement programs that follow adventure-based learning methodology & a non-formal education approach for students. Last summer, I started volunteering with the Marine Turtle Research Group in North Cyprus. I was offered to join their leadership team in my first season. The project's research findings inspired me to lead a small auto-initiative that primarily aims to protect the ecosystem & the biodiversity of Cyprus from Marine Debris.


Yemen is fluid & dynamic country, surrounded by monarchies in one of the most unstable regions in the world. As a Yemeni, I ask myself why Yemen has always been open to interventions. Now, I can see the answer by looking back at its recent history. Yemen is pragmatic, adaptive & responsive. The majority of the society is made up of tribes which vary in their characters across the country, & also have some degree of political autonomy & local influence. Tribal customary law in Yemen is fundamental in regulating, mediating & managing conflicts at local & regional levels. Tribespeople also played a crucial & direct role in providing security & support, for example, to the Youth-led Revolution.


In its contemporary history, Yemen witnessed significant political turning points where different tensions of conflicts were raised. In 2011, the youth started a peaceful revolution against the Saleh regime's dictatorship. After two years of violence against youth to suppress the uprising, by regional international initiative, Saleh was given - as the only available peaceful solution - complete immunity from prosecution. He agreed to step down, handing power to his deputy Hadi. During this period, the NDC launched with several outcomes seeking a better inclusive constitution. However, matters did not proceed as planned. In 2015, an intensive escalation of conflict reshaped the whole county.


Youth in Yemen make up the most significant part of the population. The active engagement & contributions of youth fight for peace despite many challenges has a significant role at the national and local level. Youth political participation was at its peak in 2011. The Youth-led Revolution was a peaceful movement organized by activists against the Ali Saleh regime. The contribution of youth during the preparation & implementation of the NDC was enormous. Unfortunately, many political parties climb over the back of youth, & claimed the revolution & their hard work only to achieve political interests.


The youth no longer had alternative means to participate in the transitional period before the massive escalation of the war. The armed conflict directly affected the youth's peaceful participation because of the suspension of local & national politics, which use violence as a tool to reach goals & dominance. They shifted their interest from political participation to the immediate humanitarian response by organizing voluntary activities.


Ali Saleh was not a big fan of youth. He was the first president of the Republic of Yemen & the founder of the Generals People Congress. He was killed in action in December 2017. Under the shadow of his centralized government, youth suffered from many significant challenges, such as high rates of illiteracy & youth unemployment, triggering these protests. Having a six-state federal solution means he would lose the dictatorship he spent 33 years building. As a result, he immediately struck an agreement with one of his enemies (The Houthis) to take revenge on those who rebelled against him during the Arab Spring or the Youth-led Revolution. Houthis, with their grievances, like Saleh, did accept the idea of federal states or any other outcome of the NDC but rejected the new constitution without declaring any alternative proposal. Subjecting everyone in the country to a serious dilemma, miserable humanitarian crises & massive destruction & death of civilians is how the federal states manipulated various forces both inside & outside the country. This was the main reason for the escalation of the conflict.


Written by Gigi

Representative Photo © CNN

Story of Aimen