First time I heard of a country called Yemen was in the popular series FRIENDS when in order to get rid of his psycho girlfriend, Chandler lied to her that he has been transferred to Yemen.

At that time I didn’t get the horror of it. I wondered what was there to shudder so much about the idea of an American going to Yemen.

Now I know, since the Arab world is suddenly occupying a lot of space on international mainstream media, owing to all the youth revolution that has been spreading across the Arab countries.

This news about the protests in Yemen particularly stood out. Apparently the President in a desperate and stupid attempt to discourage protests, took recourse to Islamic laws and suggested, “anti-government protesters in the capital were in violation of Islamic law because women were allowed to mix with men.” 

President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s suggestion that antigovernment protesters in the capital were in violation of Islamic law because women were allowed to mix with men stirred a women’s rights march in the capital on Saturday, as thousands of women in this staunchly conservative country made Mr. Saleh an object of public derision.

“The reason why people are upset is that you cannot talk about women’s honor here,” said Atiaf Alwazir, a Yemeni woman raised in the United States who is now a youth organizer. “That is really a big shame. It’s a black shame. It shames the tribe, the husband, the brother, the whole family.”

“You tell us mixing is haram,” she added, using the Arabic word for sin. “Killing is haram.”

Laura Kasinof, Women Irate at Remarks by President of Yemen. NYT, April 16, 2011.

Basically women cannot be at the same place where men are and then participate in anything as equals. Just how stupid. What if there is a natural calamity in an Islamic nation, women and men wouldn’t run for their lives together?

It is so weird that throughout the world there has been like 10,000 different kinds of Islamic laws. Each weirdo comes up with his own set of crazy ideas to control and repress human behaviour, particularly that of women.

I think the only hope now lies in the male youth of the Arab world. They will have to be the first ones to outright reject all laws/values that represses women and will have to make women an equal part in their revolution. If even one woman remains repressed in the Arab world, then the so called revolution will be worthless.

New York Times has this amazing set of video interviews by about 25 Arab youth from Morocco to the West Bank to find out how they see their moment in history. A must read this one, please do visit.

A New Arab Generation Finds its Voice

Image courtesy: Grassroots Diplomat