Sunday, June 22, 2008
This was a story that I honestly had hoped that I would not have to tell. Even though I wish I was writing a different out-come than what I am about to write I believe that this is a timely story and a story that we need to think about. It is a long story but Supersekrit is not here to keep me in check right now.
Mr. Karim Al-Khaiwani is a 42 year old professional journalist in Yemen. He was convicted on June 9, 2008 of being a terrorist in Yemen because he had written about and had photographs of the human rights abuses of the Yemeni government towards the people in northern Yemen. He was an outspoken critic of Yemen's current leadership. He was in effect jailed for being honest and caring enough about the people in Sana'a and his country Yemen to tell the truth. His sentence is six years hard labor. I will let your imagination carry you to where what that must be like in an Islamic country that is run by a corrupt governmental apparatus made up of President Saleh's family members and friends. This regime is a run like the old La Cosa Nostra except they have some pretty impressive weapons, the friendship of my country, the United States, in spite of the fact that they have refused to punish the USS Cole bombers and last but not the least in a long litany of sins they starve their populace in the north and utilize elements of Al-Qa'eda to murder and terrorize them.
Mr Al-Khaiwani did not have to be a journalist. He could have been quiet and just went about day to day living with his wife and girls. That is not who he is and this is what is special. This is what I would like you all to think about. I think about this all the time. Would I have the courage to stand up and risk so very much to right a wrong? Would I go to the wall and be shot for something that we as U.S. citizens take for granted? Would you? I hope that I would. Mr. Al-Khaiwani is that rarest of souls. He believes that it is an inalienable right that people have the right to self determination. He stands for freedom and integrity. He has more courage than I can imagine. He is a gentle patriot of Yemen. A good man and I thank God everyday that this world has a Karim Al-Khaiwani. He gives me hope and something to aspire to. This dear man just received an Amnesty Internationale's Human Rights Award For Media on June 18, 2008. Jane Novak, at Armies Of Liberation has the entire acceptance speech from Mr. Al-Khaiwani. I encourage you to read it!
If I had thought about it I would have named this "The Lady & The Patriot" because of Jane Novak who has been instrumental in helping me to see Yemen through the eyes of Mr. Al-Khaiwani and Yemen's beleaguered populace. Jane Novak is a wonderful force of nature and incidentally is considered and enemy by Yemen's government. She is my favorite type of U.S. citizen ..... hated by tyrants everywhere.
It is still not to late to sign a letter to the Yemeni government letting them know that Mr. Al-Khaiwani should go free. The letter will also go to our US State Department letting them know how you feel about this.
Mr Al-Khaiwani, every day when I see elements of our populace march in the street and call the United States a fascist government I think of you. Every time I see the press in the United States slant a story for sensation or political gain I think of you. I wish we had an Al-Khaiwani. I so very much wish. This is why I think this is a timely story; every person that is a citizen or journalist in this country think very carefully about what a thugocracey or fascist government really is; every journalist think what Mr. Al-Khaiwani has given to be honest in his reporting of news. Hold your freedom that you take for granted a little tighter and maybe you will not become a Mr. Karim Al-Khaiwani or we may not become a Yemen.