This photo was taken 30 minutes after the voting closed. Not a gunshot was heard in Sanaa. This rifle (though readily placed next to the desk of a media boss in Sanaa) was not needed.
I arrived in Yemen just 12 hours before the election. As a single female traveler, the airport police did not let me out until they could appoint a driver to take me to my friend’s house. Nobody left the airport untraceable.
The election has only one candidate, Mr Hadi, and it is interesting to see that this election aims at non-violence and a peaceful handover of power rather than genuine democracy. Many Yemeni activists told me that 5 other candidates were denied by the government. They were furious, of course.
However, looking at the turmoil that Yemen has been through, I can also see the reasons behind this seemingly undemocratic election. Being a very delicate and fragile country, Yemen needs stability and its people need to know that democracy goes steps by step. The country is like a patient after a big operation. He needs soft food and milk instead of steak.
I am happy for Yemen, that the country has moved one step away from dictatorship, being in a transition of moving forwards to a real democratic election in the near future. Democracy is a process, and it needs a lot of patience and dialogue.
You made various nice points there. I did a search on the matter and found mainly persons will have the same opinion with your blog.
Thank you for your feedback, Genaro. Mai’s trip is quite fascinating to me, to imagine a Vietnamese woman, now a citizen of the world, tracing the roots and journey of Islam in this way. If only more of us had such curiosity!
Thanks Genero and Dianne. This trip is teaching me a great lesson of how culture influences out thinking and practice, and also how circumstances surpass cultures, something that i did not really understand well before this trip. All in all, we are the same in kind and different in levels.