In today’s NYT, A Living-Room Crusade via Blogging
And yet Ms. Novak has become so well known in Yemen that newspaper editors say they sell more copies if her photograph – blond and smiling – is on the cover. Her blog, an outspoken news bulletin on Yemeni affairs, is banned there. The government’s allies routinely vilify her in print as an American agent, a Shiite monarchist, a member of Al Qaeda, or “the Zionist Novak.”
The worst of her many offenses is her dogged campaign on behalf of a Yemeni journalist, Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani, who incurred his government’s wrath by writing about a bloody rebellion in the far north of the country. He is on trial on sedition charges that could bring the death penalty, with a verdict expected Wednesday.
I have the honor of having met Jane and regard her as a friend.
Go to Jane’s blog Armies of Liberation right now and read this,
Welcome New York Times readers! If you want to help entrench civil rights in the Middle East, please sign this petition, click here. It’s a letter campaign to the Yemeni government, US and EU for the Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani who may be sentenced to death in tomorrow for insulting his president in an article. We can’t have that. No, no, no. So please click here. It will help, really!
Besides the near genocidal war in the north of Yemen that displaced 100,000 civilians, there’s broad and growing civil unrest in the south regions, the 10 million Yemeni children are the third hungriest child population on earth, and the city of Taiz only gets public water every 40 days. It’s terrible. Yemen released all the terrorists who were convicted in the USS Cole attack that killed 17 US sailors in the port of Aden in 2000. There’s an agreement between the Yemeni government and al-Qaeda, and the Yemeni government publicly defends it. The Yemeni military and security services are all in hands of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s direct relatives, and so is all the money from the oil revenue and donor aid. Corruption and nepotism is rampant, so about half the people live on under $2/day. There’s almost no heath care, educational facilities, electricity or security in the rural areas where 70% of the people live. However, there is a strong democracy and reform movement that routinely gets crushed by the government, as is happening in the case of al-Khaiwani. For more on Yemen, click the Janes Articles link above. Details and supporting links on al-Khaiwani:
While the USS Cole bombers are all free in Yemen, my friend the Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani will be sentenced May 21 in a bogus trial and likely will get the death penalty or a long prison term. He is charged with insulting the president and demoralizing the military with an article about the Sa’ada war. He is an internationally renowned journalist and one of Yemen’s most prominent and outspoken democracy advocates.
This is the guy I made the online petition for in March 2005 and the bloggers all helped and he got amnesty. Since then he and I have become good friends. He loves democracy as much as I do. And he’s paid the price for it. Since he was released in 2005, Al-Khaiwani has been beaten, kidnapped, censored and imprisoned. His paper was cloned, his website blocked and his children threatened.
Read the rest. Sign the petition. Save a life.
Cross-posted at PoliGazette