The Collective broadcasters: Mixing activism with Art

Photo taken from FM Shabab facebook page

In Yemen, the power of the arts and media is being shared to help bring change.

FM Shabab is a youth led radio station, which broadcasts out of 103.2. Shabab in Arabic means “Youth”. They are visionaries, revolutionaries and art enthusiasts who dream big and have shown the inspirational power that art can create, and that the city of Sana’a possesses.

When people think of Radio, an image of a person, usually working for “someone much higher up”, sits in a room filled with headphones, microphones, soundboard and a big “ON AIR” sign. Their job is to entertain and tell people what’s going on in the world. Sometimes we tune in for the music, sometimes to get our dose of politics, sports, and occasionally for nonsense celebrity gossip.

But on Monday, September 30, a group of youth in Yemen took on a slightly different role as they joined forces with the radio world.

“We’re telling the stories of Yemenis” said, Entesar Albaeki,  one of earlier members of FM Shabab since 2010 . “[We are confident] in our ability to spread awareness particularly about youth issues through expression.”

During the re-launch party, which consisted of short skits, music by Kunal and AJ, and traditional folk dancing. Members of the collective took on intersectional struggles and raised issues of patriarchy, gender identity, sexual harassment, and unemployment.

Besides broadcasting issues, the radio station works to illustrate the resistance movement present in Yemen in every situation. FM Shabab works really hard to simultaneously fight the bad news and also live out of the good news by manifesting examples of the good news “We’re kind of trying to break the barriers through comedy, street theater, radio and music. We’re trying to support the peoples voice.” Hassan Al Hathari, a member of the radio station and a Global Exchange student that visited Washington D.C.  in 2010 and found theater to be an outlet for popular education and empowerment.

Ibrahim Talal is another youth member that recently joined FM Shabab. Talal, 21,  has been an activist traveling extensively advocating for youth development for over three years.

“I love all the experience of FM Shabab, it is a safe and fun space that helps politicize”  Ibrahim Talal

Hope and ambition fuels this crowd. With love for collectiveness, inclusiveness and imagination, FM Shabab, cultivates positive change through the power of community and art, unlocking ones imagination and allowing us to explore  the power of voice, theater, music, and movement building.

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