Our friend Ibrahim

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New Yorker writes about Ibrahim


By Natalia Antelava 

“Excuse me, ma’am, you have to follow me,” a voice behind me said, polite but threatening, as I grabbed my bag off the luggage carousel. I froze. The last time I’d flown into Sana’a International Airport to cover the uprising in Yemen for the BBC, security services had held and deported a colleague who arrived with me. Now, I thought, it was my turn.

A second later, I heard a familiar chuckle, and I turned around to see a delighted grin on the face of Ibrahim Mothana. “You are not even supposed to be in Yemen!” I said. He had returned from his trip early, he said, and used an expired student I.D. card to bluff his way through the heavy airport security into the grubby Sana’a arrivals hall, where he stood looking extremely pleased. “I thought I’d surprise you,” he said.

Ibrahim, a Yemeni political activist and writer, surprised endlessly—with his brilliance, encyclopedic knowledge, eloquent arguments, generous spirit, tirelessness, and elaborate pranks. But the biggest surprise came on September 5th, when, at the age of twenty-four, he died, from what his family said were natural causes, at his home in Sana’a.



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At a young age, he was able to make a difference for Yemen | Afrah Nasser

From Afrah’s blog

Ibrahim Mothana, a Yemeni political and social activist, and one of the most prominent outspoken writers who has extensively written on the impact of US drone strikes in Yemen, died today after a sudden cause of death in his home. He was 24. 

At a very young age, he was able to make a huge difference for Yemen that no one else could have ever done. At 24 years old, he was named by Action on Armed Violence among the 100 most influential people in armed violence reduction, due to his diligent and brilliant efforts in addressing the intensifying air strikes campaign by the CIA’s drone strikes in Yemen. Last April, he was invited to testify before a US Senate sub-committee examining the legality and wisdom of the drone campaign, which he was not able to do and later published his written testimony.

In Yemen’s contemporary history, Mothana was among the few Yemeni natives speaking in English who confronted the international community; reforming dozens of misconceptions about the country’s politics and general status. He has well-represented Yemen in tens of international arenas, while official politicians failed to. He had so many dreams for Yemen and was looking for a progressive political situation in Yemen. Hence, he co-founded the newly established political party, Al-Watan Party after Yemen’s 2011 uprising. 

Mothana was in the process of several projects besides managing the Al-Watan party’s matters. He was almost done with writing his first book – not clear if it’d be published soon or not. Also, he was in the process of conducting an innovative project in cooperation with Lund University in Sweden, with a focus on Yemen’s coming elections next year. 

In 2010, he became the youngest member of the Advisory Committee of the Arab Thought foundation based of his background as a young writer and community worker. He was also one of the British Council’s Global Changemakers youth who were exerting great impact in their communities. 

Mothana truly believed that he had the responsibility to make a change for his community and he has stated that in his piece published on the Global Changemakers website, “I realise now that I am not in this position to represent my own views but also the millions of young people under the age of 25 living in the Arab world. I am responsible for making the voices of young people heard and helping create solutions for the problems they face within the Arab region. I agree with the words of Albert Pike: ‘What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal’.”

It’s a huge loss!! 

I try to hold my tears while blogging this because I knew Ibrahim Mothana very well. He was a friend, a brother and one of my best role models. I’m still in a disbelief that we no longer have him in this world! 

I pull myself together and continue to blog because Mothana must be immortalized. We must remind Yemen’s youth and the coming generations of this exceptional young activist who made Yemen proud with all his great accomplishments. He was and will always be such an inspiration.

Ibrahim Mothana died but his legacy shall live for ever! Rest in peace my dear friend, Ibrahim!

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Remembering Ibrahim Mothana | La Voix du Yémen

By Benjamin Wiacek (بلال)

See original article here.

For some, he was a prominent Youth activist, a very talented writer or a brilliant speaker. For others, he was a great thinker and the co-founder of a political party. He was all of that for many others, and even more. He was the most generous person we ever met, he was a true friend to all of us, a person that pushed us forward, that inspired us, a person that we all admired for who he was, for what he did and for what he was dreaming to achieve. But Death always calls the greatest ones first… Ibrahim died last Thursday at the age of 24.

While each one of us can only count a few real good friends, Ibrahim was a close friend to dozens of people. His generosity, his friendliness, his humor, his spirit, his intelligence, his kindness, his open mind, his warmth, and numerous other qualities made him an amazing person that we were all honored to meet. He devoted his life to Yemen, acting and hoping for a better future, he inspired many and gave all of us the strength and the hope to believe that change was possible. He was a model and a mentor for many and his departure may look like the end of every hope.

I miss you already my dear friend and it is hard to imagine that you will not be there anymore, that you will not please us with your presence, that you will not prank us and that we will not be able to turn to you for advice…

But Ibrahim lived his too short life to its full potential and even beyond. The best way for us to honor his memory, and I think this is what he would have wished, is to follow his example and to fight for our dreams. Despite the sadness and the pain, despite all the tears and his absence, we must never forget him and what he has done. He will continue to live within our minds, our hearts and our souls, and for that we will make sure that what he dreamed of can one day become reality…

Rest in Peace Ibrahim, I know our paths will cross again one day.


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This made me look at Ibrahim as a role model | Ali Almurtada

         I don’t know how to even start. I came back home around 2:00 AM after a very busy day and I thought I’d check Facebook quickly before I hit the bed. The first status update was from my good friend Alaa Jarban, and reading the word “passed away today” accompanied with pictures of Ibrahim Mothana’s; I had a moment of disbelief thinking this might be a prank or perhaps a mistake I made understanding the update, but the social network was full of countless similar posts. That was the moment when it hit me; the guy is gone?! Can this be possible?! What a shock

         I got to meet Ibrahim personally for the first time in a debate held in the Spanish embassy in Sanaa about foreign donations and whether or not they do Yemen any good. Although the attendees initial votes prior to the debate were mostly in favor of donations, Ibrahim along with Atiaf Alwazeer gave very interesting argument showing eloquence and great knowledge which convinced the majority of the audience to change their opinions; that second I know I am before an exceptionally sharp guy. I was quite relieved that Yemen in this decisive moment has people like him. It provided me with optimism that the future might give Yemen a smile. Little did I know what is to happen. 

        Ibrahim and myself are born the same day, month and year. Looking at his massive success, I realized how little I have accomplish in life which only motivated me to work harder and harder. This made me look at Ibrahim as a role model.

      I was not a close friend to Ibrahim and I can’t even imagine how would his close ones feel right now; that didn’t , though, lessen the bitterness of his departure. I knew that he is one of the chances Yemen had for a bright future and losing him means the journey just got a bit harder. I am feeling furious and I don’t know what and who to blame. I can’t absorb the fact that with all the evils that destroy Yemen bit by bit every day, death decides to take him when every one of us needs him in this tough time.

        The last time I saw Ibrahim was in a restaurant in Hadda having dinner alone a bit far from where I was sitting, and I thought I’d meet him in any panel or discussion soon, so I did not go to say hi. I so much regret not going to his table and talk to him. I hope that we all learn from Ibrahim’s dedication and unconditional love to his country and its people. I hope we all continue his journey and fulfill his dream of a country and a world with no war or despair. Rest in peace my friend and be assured that the legacy you left would be cherished and glorified.  Be assured that the so many lives you touched will continue the battle for a war-free prosperous Yemen.

Ela Al Leqa  ^_^ 

Ali Almurtada

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رئيس الجمهورية يعزي في وفاة ابراهيم محمد مثنى

From Yemen’s official new’s agency: 
Yemen President sends official condolences on death of Ibrahim Mothana 
رئيس الجمهورية يعزي في وفاة ابراهيم محمد مثنى

صنعاء – سبأنت:
بعث الأخ الرئيس عبد ربه منصور هادي رئيس الجمهورية برقية عزاء إلى جميع أسرة وأهل الفقيد المناضل ابراهيم محمد مثنى ، الشاب الذي وافته المنيه وانتقل إلى رحمه الله تعالى يوم الخميس الماضي بعد ان استطاع خلال حياته ان يحقق من خلال وجوده في مؤسسة الفكر العربي الذي كان اصغر عضو في لجنتها الاستشاريه انجازا علميا وثقافيا وتراثيا عظيما و رغم سنه الصغير إلا أن تجربته كانت عامرة بالانجاز النوعي .

وأكد الأخ الرئيس في برقيته أن الفقيد كان متميزاً من خلال تطوعه وعمله في مجالات الفكر والأدب والاقتصاد والتاريخ استطاع أن يرفع اسم اليمن عاليا في مختلف المحافل الدوليه بمختلف منتدياتها الفكريه والعلميه والاجتماعية والتاريخية.

وأشار الأخ الرئيس عبد ربه منصور هادي في برقيته إلى ان الفقيد كان متميزا تماما في تمثيل اليمن الارض والانسان في مختلف المجالات التي كان يحضرها ويرتادها دوليا واقليميا .

تغمدالله الفقيد المناضل ابراهيم محمد مثنى من ابناء محافظة اب بالرحمة والمغفرة وألهم أهله وذويه الصبر والسلوان “انا لله وانا اليه راجعون” .


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on Ibrahim | Luai Ahmed

The saddest of it all, is not your friends, family and loved ones mourning your loss. It’s the very country you lived fighting for: Yemen, mourning your loss. You stood up for Yemen in ways that veterans in our activism field never had enough audacity and eloquence to do so. You combined 28 poor million voices into one big voice that shook the White House — and I’m scared we only had one Ibrahim Mothana who did it so intelligently

Many are sobbing because they never had a chance to express how much they loved/appreciated you, but I am truly thankful to God because I have yearly filled your inbox with appreciation threads, and the last 2 times we met, I had taken my time to let you know that you are without a doubt my ultimate hero, and that I aspire to be half the brain and human that you are. Of course, being the down to earth gem that you are, you’d  throw a warm smile my way, and reply with uplifting words that made me love and become even more obsessed with the unique and beautiful character you are.  

We will continue to build this country with your memory engraved in our souls, because you’ve helped define and shape how the road to peace is walked, and not just talked. 

Rest in peace, my friend, brother and mentor. I cannot wait to see you again in the future. :’)

– Luai Ahmed

One of Ibrahim’s many students.