“Do not sigh, for your enemy will hear and rejoice” – Yemeni Proverb
In 2011, many countries of the Arab world erupted in never-ending scenes of uprisings, protest, and dissent. The age of digital media allowed the world to witness the details of conflict throughout the Middle East. Except in Yemen. The tight restrictions placed on the media and deportation of many journalists restricted the access of the outside world to the injustice, bravery, and change occurring throughout Yemen in 2011. As hundreds were killed during riots, when the government waged war on its own people, when tribal militias and rebels fought against the government troops, and when Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced out of the presidency – very few outside Yemen viewed these key moments of the revolution.
I recently spent two months documenting Yemen during and immediately after the presidential election. Continuing anti-government protests and the persistence of the peaceful residents of Change Square, the water shortage due to a booming population and qat cultivation, a looming malnutrition crisis in rural areas, and sustained militancy in the north and south: these are all challenges Yemen is facing in addition to re-building the government.
The photos aimed to bring forth the spirit of the Yemeni people – courage in a hopeless situation, a deep yet unassuming national pride, and warm generosity. The prevailing force in Yemen is at the beating heart of its citizens, and through the news, the outside world hears only of Al Qaeda and conflict, nothing of the nation-wide inner strength.
With funds raised from Kickstarter, I plan to return to Yemen to document the variety of social issues plaguing the country, while highlighting our shared humanity and daily connections. Funds will cover the cost of travel, housing, equipment, and rewards for supporters. With your help, I will be able to produce a visual narrative of the changing times in Yemen and create valuable human connections between this resilient nation and the rest of the world.
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