This is what it feels like to have dear ones in a war zone: the moment you know of a suicide bomber, a bomb explosion, aerial airstrikes and the lapse of time it takes for news from those you care about to reach you, sum up to a long, exhausting, corroding wait.
There was a bomb explosion yesterday, May 6, in the troubled city of Mareb, 156 kms East of Sanaà, Yemen. It happened after Friday prayers at the qat market. Being Friday (weekend), the qat market was packed with people. Virtually everyone in Yemen chews qat, the mild leafy stimulant, on a Friday.
I happen to have a friend in Mareb. The area has been always a nightmare: it rests on Yemen´s richest oil and gas fields and has been the constant battleground between tribes, government, smugglers, AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) fighters and, since 2015, a nevralgic point of fighting between those loyal to former President Hadi´s Saudi backed government (in exile) and Ansarallah militia supported by Yemeni military forces loyal to ex President Saleh.
The war in and on Mareb has been long. Devastating.
Only today my friend replied to my immediate message, making me realise that the explosion of yesterday is only an additional bomb to a daily story of fighting, pain and struggle.
‘The battle is close to me, it is just 3 kilometers away.
God will save us though the war is in all Yemen, it is everywhere ..but in Mareb we have an ongoing war basis.
The battle is from 4 sides. North and West is where they use all kinds of heavy and light weapons: missiles, artillery, Katyusha and aircraft. Sometimes we don’t sleep at night Dear.
We all pray, you pray too Dear.
We will be OK, with God’s will.’
My friend survived, yesterday.
He has not seen his son who lives abroad in more than 8 years. Talking about lapse of time.
featured image: Nabil Hassan