(Here’s a slightly edited version of my Facebook post).
Many times I’ve regretted coming back (to my country) mainly because it feels like I’ve left the people (of Yemen) at a time of dire need. On the day of my best friend’s wedding, people decided to revolt around Asr time which was when we were due to have the reception (waleemah) at a nearby restaurant. The taxi driver drove us (Mubina , her dad and I) to the furthest he could, passing by tanks of soldiers (who were scaring the people by shooting at tyres to create fire. It was havoc, people running amok scaring the ish out of us. you ask yourself- so is this it? we’re just gonna die here? it cant wait till next week when i get on my flight home?) and groups of angry men, marching towards the soldiers and punching fists into the air, shouting “irhal! Irhal!” (Leave, leave!) we had to walk a great distance before reaching the restaurant. Soldiers were pointing their rifles at people’s faces. My heart, I remember was slamming against my chest, all we could say was dua. We were carrying the wedding deco to put up at the restaurant. If there was a photographer around it would have made a powerful picture. While everyone was going one way (that is towards the soldiers) , we were going against the crowd, heading towards the restaurant. no women were in sight. nada. zero. sifr. )
Photo credits to a student who was studying with us there. Check out his instagram: illyanoris
A number of guests especially the ones I invited couldn’t make it due to road blocks. But Alhamdulillah we passed through albeit with great difficulty. And we’re alive- that’s important! Later I got to know that the restaurant called up a bunch of policemen to guard the restaurant for our safety as foreigners.
I remember one time when I was working at the institute teaching English to young adults, the secretary came into the building panting like crazy. A bullet had just flown above her head while she was on a BUS (yes, a public bus) and murdered a man who turned out to be a politician. That means that the killer had just fired through a bus, over the heads of innocent people, just to get to ONE MAN.
Sometimes I regret turning my backs on them. But then I remember that you guys have helped make their situation a lot better by donating to the poor during the past winter. I have a whole lifetime to thank you for that. And guess what, everytime I meet them, they make dua for me and all of you. And the dua of the oppressed is powerful, don’t forget that.
Even when you think no one cares about you, think about the fact that the poor knows you by name, and mentioning you in their prayers.
Allah ystorkom, yhdeekom, ykhalleekom, ybaarik feekom.