By STAFF WRITER APRIL 13, 2015
Yemeni women’s rights activist and Nobel laureate, Tawakkol Karman called on the US to be a model to the world and elect a woman president, saying it’s unacceptable that there is no woman president till now. For her audience at a college in Boston last week, she may have appeared to be a Hillary supporter but, Mrs. Karman was there to speak on range of issues including her role as women’s rights activist and the current crisis in Yemen.
The first Arab woman to win the Nobel peace prize, Karman was at the forefront of the youth revolution in 2011 that led to the resignation of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In a heavily armed society like Yemen, convincing protesters to keep their weapons at home and march peacefully was her biggest achievement in the run up to the Jasmine Revolution.
Karman highlighted the important role the Internet played in organizing the protests that toppled the 33-year old dictatorial rule. But to her, the revolution is not yet over since the former president launched a counter revolution stirring Yemen’s latest crisis.
She fell short of voicing open support for the Saudi-led Arab coalition that launched military strikes against the alleged Iranian-backed Saleh-Houthi alliance, which ousted the Yemeni government last February. She stressed that the Yemeni populace in general still believes in nonviolent struggle.
Fending off accusations that the Arab Spring is foreign-orchestrated, she asserted that it was a homegrown movement born out of repression and injustice. She instead accused Saleh of supporting Al Qaeda while in power to embezzle Western countries for funds to fight terrorism.
A charming speaker, Karman expressed her optimism that the Arab Spring revolution will achieve its goals and the current crisis is just a process that will eventually bring tyrannical regimes down. Because according to her, “No one can be against freedom and win”.