In my current visit to Yemen, I got to meet some people who, despite what the country has gone through in the past 34 years, are still hardcore Saleh supporters. I believe in freedom of expression and very much respect the thoughts of everyone including those who do not agree with me. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. After all, that was one of the principles Yemen's revolution called for.
As I was conversing with these guys, one of them said a line that puzzled me. He said "Yemenis had no reason to revolt and that they were enjoying a prosperous life before the revolution took place". I didn't know if he was too blind to see what the country has been going through or that he was living in his own little world.
Isn't it enough that Yemen is the poorest country in the middle east? What's worse than having a 65% illiteracy rate in the 21st century? Yemen ranks at 146 of 178 in the global corruption index. It has one of the highest child marriage rates. Social and economical problems have always been a daily struggle for many Yemenis in a country that lacks basic infrastructure as people mostly rely on themselves for the provision of water, electricity, education, health, and even safety and security.
The list can go and on, however, instead of carrying on with the conversation, and given that a picture is worth a thousand words, I decided to comment on his statement with images from Saleh's era that would precisely address the question of why Yemenis revolted.
1. A homeless guy taking a shelter on the street
2. A man and his child digging into a trash dumpster for food.
3. A homeless woman walking on the street
4. An unemployed man sitting on the street
5. A labor drinking water while taking a break on the street
6. A man digging for food into the trash dumpster
7. A homeless guy lying down on the street
8. A child begging for money on the street
9. A poor woman leaning against the wall
10. A child labor selling tissues while doing his homework on the street
11. A child digging into the garbage looking for any re-sellable stuff
12. An elderly man with his family lying down on the street begging for money
13. A couple of poor men digging into the trash dumpster for food
14. A disabled elderly selling Tomato on a small trolley
15. A child labor
16. Children looking into the garbage pile up for food and re-sellable stuff
17. Two little girls filling up water to take home due to the absence of water supply
18. An elderly woman eating the remains of customers' food
19. A beggar on the street
20. An elderly man taking a shelter on the street
21. A child carrying a couple of AK-47 machine guns
22. Beggars on the street
23. A child labor selling tissues on the street
24. A child labor selling water on the street
25. A child labor selling chewing gum while sleeping on a commercial shop's staircase
26. A couple of children eating from the garbage pile up
27. A child labor selling tissues on the street
28. A homeless guy on the street
29. A group of Yemenis placed on on a truck as they are being deported from Saudi
30. An elderly woman begging for money
31. A child labor collecting recyclable cans to sell them
32. A child labor selling sesame candies
33. A man digging for food and re-sellable stuff in the trash dumpster
34. A little girl on her way to get some water supplies for her house
35. A child labor collecting recyclable items to sell them
36. Child brides with their husbands
* Photos used are courtesy of Rashad Alsame'ee, Zainab Yahya, Shohdi Al-Sofi, Ahmed Basha, Taiz City, Mohammed Al-Ariqi & Mohammed Al-Emad