The Yemeni Revolution: Section: the Yemeni Diapora
Interview with Ulfat Alramadi, a laboratory Scientist in Routine & Metabolic Biochemistry at Dublin's children hospital, in Ireland.
Ulfat left Yemen 4 years after the departure of the British and was raised partly in London, partly in Abu Dhabi.
Uprooted and forever a foreigner, her heart she says, remains in Yemen.
She is one of the many faces of the Yemeni diaspora, looking on from afar at the events unfolding in her homeland.
• Yemen Post: Did your perception of being Yemeni changed since the beginning of the uprising and why?
My own perceptions haven’t changed because you don’t scrutinize who you are on a daily basis and I’ve always been proud of being a Yemeni. I however noticed that other Arabs' perceptions of us have did change since the uprising. I think they came to realize that Yemenis are an educated and eloquent people and not the poor country bumpkins they were made out to be. Yemen gained their respect I believe by showing its courage and tenacity towards oppression. You have to remember that most Yemenis have weapons at home or could easily acquire them. They chose peace which in my view is quite noble.
• Yemen post: What makes Yemen's Revolution different from other movement across the Arab world?
The backdrop to Yemen’s revolution is a humanitarian disaster. A crisis of food and water shortages was unfolding before the uprising. Then there’s US drones attacking Al Qaeda targets and also hitting civilian targets which resulted in people fleeing those areas (Internally displaced people), seeking refuge in schools in the south. There are also roughly 20,000 refugees from the Horn of Africa. On the plus side our very own Tawakkul Karman was co awarded the Nobel Peace prize. It’s a very busy revolution.
• Yemen Post: What has changed for you since the uprising?
Where once I was cut off from my homeland and had very little contact with other Yemenis, I now communicate with many other Yemenis on a daily basis, both within Yemen and the diaspora. I was surprised my siblings didn’t feel the same way but they were both born in the U.K. Maybe on some subconscious level where one is born, stays with them forever.
Other than that I have an urge to know what’s happening and often wake in the middle of the night to check Twitter to see if I’ve missed anything.
• Yemen Post: Did the uprising made you more aware of politics?
A little, but I am not politically astute and much of the politics are extensions of issues that existed before the uprising, all now being discussed as opposed to being hushed, in an attempt to make sense of it all. The tribal issues are beyond my comprehension.
• Yemen Post: What would you say has mostly changed in Yemen over the past 9 months?
I think within Yemen, it can’t have escaped many people how badly Yemen has been let down by the ruling party, the opposition parties and the international community including other Arab countries. I think there is a growing realization that there isn’t going to be a magic rescue and things might get very bad before they get better and yet there is hope among the youth of this revolution who have amazed everyone by their resourcefulness, tenacity and vigor and who have paid the highest price of all groups, many paying with their lives.
Despite the sometime feeling of futility, there is real hope in the future especially among the young. I prefer to hang with the optimists on Twitter because I can’t stay pessimistic in an arena that has no precedent.
• Yemen Post: Do you believe that the International Community can truly pressure president Saleh into leaving the presidency?
I don’t think the leaders of the International community are in the least bothered and if it wasn’t for the loud outrage from Yemenis and non-Yemenis, inside and outside of Yemen, they’d happily turn a blind eye. The UNOCHA and the WFP have tried to stress the urgency of the steadily worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen and that too seems to be falling on deaf ears.
No I really think he will try to escape when he finally realises he can’t win Yemen back. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the protesters. Right now it seems he’s still trying. His family have been moved to AbuDhabi already.
• Yemen Post: Are you happy with the political alternative to Saleh's regime?
Time will tell. I really hope they act intelligently and in the common interest so that Yemen can avert the worst of the dreaded crisis that’s looming.
• Yemen Post: Are you pro or anti Saleh?
• LOL. I’m not just Anti-Saleh. I’m anti the system that allowed him to stay in power in the North for so long amassing a fortune while his fellow countrymen suffered. I understand the frustration of the people in the South but I don’t think it’s a picnic there either. I visited in the 80s and I don’t remember it being easy living there at all. I also remember elderly people were harassed for going to pray in the mosque and a lot of other bullying went on.
• Yemen Post: What do you think should happen now?
Ideally the UNSC should amend the resolution to take into account the respected wishes of the majority of the Yemeni people and then move to implement the new resolution. But who am i kidding?
• Yemen Post: What do you think will happen?
I think something unexpected will happen. I’m not sure what. Yemen will throw up another surprise.