Political Analysis

Fundamentalists Attack Minister of Culture Over Photograph

National Yemen

By NY Staff

After the appointment of researcher, writer and civil activist, Arwa Abdo Othman, as Minister of Culture, a group of fundamentalists have launched a campaign against her, including defamation of her photo dancing with youth and students of  Socialist Party members.

The photo was taken at the celebration of the 52nd anniversary of the 1962 Revolution, whose organizers demanded to eject the Houthi militias presence in Sana’a.

Othman was nominated the new Culture Minister, as the first Yemeni woman in this position. The news of her appointment was welcomed widely in the political and cultural arenas and at the grassroots level.

While many agree with her appointment, the extremists believe that she will destroy the morality and culture of Yemen because of her openness.

On the night she was  appointment, Othman  dancing photo was posted on her Facebook page titled Dance To Live, proving that she is proud of her humanitarian moment, ignoring all the intimidation of fundamentalists.

Participants in the campaign reject the decision of President Hadi. The new Yemeni government was established under the political, security, and economic conditions in the country.

Despite all the challenges and obstacles, Yemeni’s hope that this government can save what can be saved.

The cultural sector suffers from stagnation and marginalization, especially after the events of Sana’a Capital of Arab Culture 2004.

Othman is betting on opening up and modernization in a harsh and closed male society, dominated by the culture of shame and Haram.

Many writers, poets, and novelist have commented on the news of Othman’s appointment. One of them is poet and novelist Ali Mokri, who said, “Arwa Othman is mollified by nature. I could not congratulate her of being Minister of Culture because I am afraid of her difficult days, though she has been a friend to struggles for more than thirty years.”

He added that Othman is a fighter against racial discrimination and for civil rights and freedom of expression.

Novelist and writer Mahmoud Yassin said that Othman is the right person for the ministry, because she is from the people who are keen to spread the culture of Yemen, adding that she is a modernist, even in popular cultural heritage.

A few weeks ago, Human Rights Watch Organization granted her the 2014 Allison De Forge Award for her extraordinary activism.

Arwa Abdo Othman is a powerful woman who inspired youth in rebellion against closed values. Yemenis are still locked in ideological battles, but Othman is against still finding a way to convince people.

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