A woman’s courage [Archives:2006/987/Opinion]

October 5 2006

Munir Al-Maweri
While I was in a hotel in Beirut last June I discovered the director of the National Democratic Institute in Sana'a, Robin Madrid, happened to be in the same hotel. I did not hesitate in contacting her at her room to ask for a meting. The lady was surprised because of the intruding journalist without knowing the reason behind his interest.

Madrid may or may not know the heaviness of the task she is carrying out in Yemen.

I knew more about her through the Washington Post newspaper. I used to hear a little about her but the Washington Post had made clear the degree of her bravery in her job in Yemen, her courage in standing by the Yemeni people's civilian forces and the tribal society in their opposing of despotism and backwardness.

Unfortunately I could not indulge in discussion with Madrid in Beirut because she was waiting for an important long distance call from Washington and the following day morning she was due to leave for Sana'a. Nevertheless, I felt that she was showing a kind of security caution and fear, which is an excusable behavior in a city like Beirut that could be more dangerous than Sana'a. The following day I met her by chance, preparing to leave the hotel and learnt from her she was determined to continue her difficult mission in Sana'a despite discomforts she faces. I therefore appreciated her spirit for the sake of serving the values she believes in, for serving democracy and freedom and the fact in Yemen as well as for serving the people who are in very much need for her services.

I recalled this courageous woman as I was reading about her in one of the Yemeni newspapers as she was expressing anxiety on possibility of acts of violence during the local and presidential elections. And instead of pondering on the statement by a researcher experienced in Yemen's affairs, I found out the newspaper accusing her of heralding acts of violence as if she was going to carry out violence. The newspaper has moreover accused the NDI of carrying out intelligence activities and working for instigating violence during the electoral process. The same newspaper unleashed accusations at the American Republican Institute and other American institutions. Those accusations were in harmony with a description made by advisor of president Saleh who in his talk about the relations with America described them as an unavoidable evil.

In this way the people at the top of authority look at America as an evil because they no longer trust them and wants to deal directly with live forces of the people and their live organizations and even with the sheikhs of their tribes, away from mediation and interference of the government.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh ridiculed Madrid in one of his speeches saying she wanted to spread democracy with US $300,000. The president does not realize the American taxpayer holds accountable the responsible institution for every cent and they could not spend the money of the richest country in the world in the way he spends the property of the Yemeni poor people. America is not an absolute good or an absolute evil and we have to benefit from those who intend good for us. We have to benefit not from their money because their money is far from us and will be so under the existing corruption. We should rather benefit from their ideas because they do not represent the American government or its intelligence bodies but rather represent the highest human values. These values make Robin Madrid a value in Yemen by offering services to the population of Mareb, Al-Jawf and Sana'a, instead of staying in Washington in luxurious offices, pure air and clean water.

Madrid is a courageous woman and knows the president of the country does not like her or wishes her to stay and despite that she sticking to the people who she loved and they loved her. The Yemenis will remember in future books and recognize her favor as soon as despotism removal of despotism from their shoulders.

Munir Al-Maweri is an American journalist of Yemeni origin.

Source: Al- Wasat newspaper