Our friend Ibrahim

on Change Square | Tom Finn

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In the beginning of Yemen’s 2011 uprising, Ibrahim answered these questions via email from journalist Tom Finn 

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your email and I apologize for my late reply. I spent the night in the square yesterday and I didn’t access internet for the last 40 hours. The answers to your questions is below.

Regards,
Ibrahim

What is your daily routine like now compared to how it was before this all started?

My daily routine profoundly changed since the uprising started and I am spend hours everyday in the change square. The cultural diversity there is outstanding I enjoy participating in the different events and activities that take place there everyday. As non qat chewer I was struggling to fill my leisure time but currently the change square is providing me with ndless options to maintain a rich and fruitful time

Where and how did you learn to do what you’re doing? Are you following the model of Egypt? 

Well, what happened in Yemen was a spontaneous reaction ignited by the events in Tunisia and Egypt but also based on years of rights demands and civil society activities. Best practices and lessons are learned from Egypt but the Yemeni uprising have its own local features that greatly distinguishes it from other regional contexts and create its uniqueness

What is the basis for your demands?
The demands are simply based on basic human rights giving every person the right of equality, freedom and justice.

Are you worried that this could get hijacked by other groups inside the country?
The problem in Yemen is not with individuals or groups but rather with the absence of the rule of law and effective institutions. The main goal of the revolution is creating the right processes leading to the creation of institutions and forming a viable social contract assuring equality to everyone. So I am not worried about hijacking the great ongoing efforts but rather in sustaining it to achieve the core goals and demands of the protesters.


In one sentence some up your strategy?
Spreading mass awareness, providing a clear vision and maintaining a continuous effort.

As protesters how do you organize yourselves?
The organizing approaches evolved quickly since the protests started with dozens in February to a more sophisticated mechanisms are managing hundreds of thousands of people staying in the change square now. Generally speaking there are many committees, everyone of them taking care of one aspect like security, medication and others. It mainly consist of young volunteers and activists spending extraordinary effort to run these committees in the best possible way.

Tell the readers something they didn’t know about Yemen’s protesters.
The protest areas in Yemen has turned into cultural hubs reflecting the great diversity of the country. Tens of thousands of the protesters attend cultural events, lectures, art galleries, music and theater shows performed by other protesters. This cultural phenomena is unprecedented and highly influencing the society and positively restructuring its social norms

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