Flying without Wings Journalists
"Ideas have wings, no one can prevent it from reaching the people" , Youssef Chahine
As Chahine expressed his quote, Yemeni women are actually embodying it. Black Abayas* preserving minds full of wisdom , passion for freedom and eager to voice the voiceless as they do have voices. They march in squares , streets and avenues wearing black as flying flags against injustice and claiming their rights from a person who claimed to maintain their rights. Yet, Rights are not given but taken.
Those are women of Yemen: stand still against heavy winds of promising change. They are fully aware that change needs valuable prices to occur and yet they are giving all to set their country free for the new generations. They sacrifice their beloved children in peaceful demonstration, dedicate their time in schools to teach concepts of equality rather than dictatorship and they risk their lives for a true word to be echoing for the sake of humanized way of living.
Those are activists hidden behind their courageous words and ignite the trajectory of incidents with logical reporting and confiscate all thoughts and acts that abolish and dehumanize Yemeni women from the list of equal citizens and men's peers : those are female journalists of Arabia Felix*.
Most women journalists in Yemen write in private newspapers. Their interest is focus upon social pages and editorial columns. However , recently , they have stared to build a base in the sphere of politics due to the current unrest. Private Newspapers as the governmental based ones have a certain agenda that they follow in all their work. As a result, it gives journalists little space to express themselves putting in mind the neutrality and objectivity of the news. Despite that " Female Journalists are doing their job as best as they can in both current situation and in general. They did not remain at home, but they were and are shoulder to shoulder with male journalists and their work have proven their commitment and the struggle to achieve perseverance". On the same token, another female journalist said:" women journalists' roles and presence is little and difficult due to the security related circumstances. However , we are doing our job perfectly".
However, extra pressure and more intense limitations are practiced when it comes to female journalists. Thus, most female journalists tend to blog to reveal their opinions and let their voices be heard out loud for things that irritate them and they can not write about in their newspapers and magazines due to the strict regulations stuck to the agendas. " If it wasn't for my blog, I'd have exploded. I really need to speak out about the issues bothering my in our society and my blog is my platform to do so." Afrah Nasser said. An example of the restricted space of writing in newspapers is narrated by a female journalist that chose not to mention her name:
" I remember writing about the results of High School General Certificate. In this field , I focused on the issue of high ranked personnel sons and daughters who always get the best averages in all years. On the contrary , their teachers confirm that their levels are really low and even below that. I was fully surprised when I did not find the latter piece of text in the published version of the text. Apparently it was omitted by purpose, knowing that the newspaper owner is a very high rank person in the government which should be no problem in writing such a thing."
Speaking about the current unrest, many female journalists attempted to cover the situation in sit-in squares and camps in different cities. Moreover, some female journalists bravely gun shooting that took place in one of the change squares and the killing of one student by a soldier in Sana'a University.
However , this does not end the limitations and keep them safe from persecution and censorship. Many of them receive threatening emails and phone calls to frighten them aiming to stop writing at once. Moreover , if it not a direct threat as latter mentioned, it is a peer pressure that attempt to withdraw all the challenging steps taken.
Despite the latter warnings and caution- needed alerts ,Yemeni Journalists Still Do Write. As one of them said : " a woman working as a journalist is a very risky job especially if she does not enjoy full freedom to write in neutral , credible and professional way. At the same time, it is a great enjoyable job despite its troubles".
And Here Afrah Nasser brings up her opinion about women journalists in Yemen :
"Female journalists' role in this time and other times is very important. They must bring their inputs to give a complete picture of what's going on. We can't hear only from male journalists; we have to hear from both sides. However, what really matters is the competent and professional journalists are what Yemen needs, no matter what gender the journalists have. I also want to mention that female journalists must take this chance to come out to public and not become into the dark".
Those , dear readers, are the women who Saleh* attacked their honor . I am not going to judge on this very sensitive sincere issue as I want to be neutral. Thus , I am letting you judge on this, meanwhile I request you to join me in a true salutation to all Yemeni Female in general and Journalists and activists on their great contribution and their stand as Yemen's Mountains against all odds and especially under the current crisis.
Afrah Nasser:A Yemeni Female journalist and blogger http://bit.ly/f5NnBU
News on Protesters beaten in Yemeni women's march: http://bit.ly/dPUidw
Amnesty warns that human rights activists in Yemen are under threat : http://bit.ly/h7nqjo
Activists: Yemeni police attack women with sticks : http://bit.ly/jhYVEc
Yemen president angers women activists :
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.