In Sana’a, hunger strikers continue a revolution

“1..2…3… the goals of the revolution are where?” sung protestors outside the Cabinet, where a handful of activists launched a relentless hunger strike and sit-in  calling on the new Yemeni government to provide them with their promised medical care assistance.IMG_0560

President Hadi claims he has paid most of the wounded protestors and the families of those killed during the revolution through a private foundation, but according to these wounded protestors,  compensation or treatment is given on a very selective basis.

IMG_0652Abdallah, a father of 4, injured during the Hasabah clashes was hit by an RPG outside of his home. He has gone to the cabinet numerous times but continues to be ignored. Two years, he is still awaiting payments or treatment.

Abdullah explains “dozens have been sent abroad for treatment because they belong to the Islah party but I am stuck here because I am independent”

The hunger strike, which began last Tuesday, is one of the revolutionaries’ latest efforts to avoid the resurrection of a Saleh-like autocracy. With common forms of popular struggle turned obsolete, and mainstream media  largely neglecting to cover Yemeni resistance, activists have been forced to innovate their strategies.

The open-ended hunger strike by the wounded protestors was one such action. Another hunger strike is happening inside one Yemen’s largest prisons, Sana’a Central Prison, where 60 detainees between the ages of 15 and 18 are striking against death punishments and prison conditions.

These hunger strikers are calling on the court that they  be treated as human beings, not be behind bars longer than their sentencing and to bring a qualified medical examination team that would help to verify the age of the  “youth offenders” and overturn their death sentences.

Regrettably, but perhaps not surprisingly for anyone familiar with the Yemeni government, the failure to respect the human rights of human beings is nothing new.

My stomach hurts writing this because these revolutionaries who actually fought Saleh’s security and brought down Ali Saleh, are hunger striking and risking death again to bring back the original ideals of the revolution.

The lack of accountability in this and in the many other human right violations in Yemen has only helped to perpetuate a culture of impunity and there is a danger in that. If President Hadi and the International community really have hope in the National Dialogue Conference than such barriers cannot be left ignored.

“We will continue until we get our rights. We won’t stop until we get our freedom.”

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