|Yemeni women in the capital, Sana'a, burn veils in protest at a government crackdown on peaceful protests. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA|
We in Yemen are no less thirsty for freedom and dignity than our brothers and sisters in Tunis. After the fall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, our own vigils took a new direction when thousands of young people went on to the streets. They reached their climax with the fall of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, when millions of Yemenis called for the departure of the dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Many in the Arab world were worried about our uprising. Everyone knew that the country is awash with weapons. It was feared that the revolution would descend into violence and distort the image of the other Arab uprisings.
But the Yemeni revolution surprised everyone with its astonishingly peaceful nature. This peacefulness exposed the unrestrained brutality of the regime toward the revolutionaries. They met the bullets of the regime with bare chests, preferring to guard their revolution rather than be lured into the quagmire of violence. A thousand martyrs fell and thousands more were injured, yet not one revolutionary raised a weapon in the face of the butchers.
What is truly regrettable, though, is...
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