Can you stand my gaze?

I may not be able to neither read nor write, but like my country fellows, I know the alphabet of a decent human being, my alif-ba-ta.
I know what is haram and what is halal, forbidden and lawful.
I know where I come from: I come from Yemen, thousands year old land which was here before all of  your tribes made their appearence.
I stand on my soil, my valleys, my desert, rivers, mountains, peaks and seas.
In my blood I carry the history of humankind: your caravans had to cross  my land to reach destination, your boats had to kiss our shores to escape the solitude of the sea.
My queens have taught the world the basics of governance.
We taught you the art of hospitality, how to count, how to irrigate unfriendly scorching desert, build damns and houses scratching the sky from what the earth gave us.
Remember these words, young man: I stand with my people. We are one firm nation.
Together, we stand with each martyr of ours. Our heartbeats speak of Yemen, over and over again.
It´s my nation which gives me strength. It´s my God which gives me hope.
I may be homeless, wounded, widowed, childless, but I know no foreigner shall ever hold dominion over Yemen.
I know my alif-ba-ta, young man.

Look at me, straight in the eyes and ask yourself if you can stand my gaze.
The gaze of all the blood spilt.
I speak for every mother made childless, every child made futureless, every man made martyr, every home turnt into rubble, every child born dumb, blind, defectful because of your bombs.
I speak in the name of the Yemeni people and remind you that you can take this anniversary of yours, March 26, and celebrate your own downfall.
You may U-turn your war-planes, silence your cannons, sink your warships and swallow your bombs.
I speak for Yemen, young man. We are here to stay.

(short collection of brief sentences I have been told by elderly Yemeni women commencing on March 26 2015 to March 25 2016)

photo: Yusra Ahmad

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