OP-ED

On the International Women’s Day: A Yemeni Female Writes About Her Abduction Story With French Aid Worker in Sana’a

Written by Fakhri Al-Arashi

By Fakhri al-Arashi

Exclusive: The National Yemen website is publishing the first letter of the Yemeni abducted female, Shereen Makaw who was abducted with the French aid worker in Sana’a two years ago. On February 24th, 2015, Makawi was abducted by unknown Yemeni gunmen along with her French workmate Isabelle Prime, from the street in Sana’a, while they were in their way to work. “ The No. 1 Execution Bullet”
Kidnappings of westerners used to occur sporadically in the major cities of Yemen, mostly carried out by al-Qeada militias and tribesmen, either for money or for obtaining political matters or social projects in Yemen.
The international women’s day, which marks today March 8th, is found to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Makaw had been hiding her story and pain due to certain social restrictions in Yemen that may identify her in the list of shame for something that is not in her hand. Unfortunately, this is the traditions of Yemen tribes where they may promote her in the side of guilty women for working with westerns and for accepting to work stand by here when she refused to leave Prim to face her fate alone with merciless people.
As a Yemeni, Makawi did have zero coverage from the international media, none from the women rights advocates and women organizations who have treated and looked to her similarly as the Yemeni community do. From my perspective, they have ignored her case because of two issues. The first one is linked to the political upraise in Yemen and the Houthi militia’s coup against the legitimate president Abdrabbou Mansour Hadi and his government who were under house arrest at that time, so the case of Makaw was not so attractive at that time. Secondly, the calls for liberating the French aid worker was much more important than a poor Yemeni young girl, whose government and community do not bother about her future
While the international women’s day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity, Makaw feels she is a victim of what so called a gender parity, because she tried to practice this calls in her daily life, among female friends and within the Yemeni community who have knocked her out after she was freed two weeks later of her abduction.
Makawi did not loss her reputation only, she is losing her deteriorating health because of the torture and the psychological effects that is harming here up to date.
Makawi is working to write her full story in a novel structure and how she was neglected either by the Yemen government, French government and maybe her workmate Isabelle Prime, or the organization that she was working for.
On the international women’s day, Makaw pick up a title for her today’s story “ The No. 1 Execution Bullet” this emotional head line is part of her coming book whom she dreams to produce in the near future.
Please read here Makaw’s original letter in the international women’s day.
While I was cuffed, she was whispering in my ear that she will miss me and the paradise is better than life. They isolated me from my friend Isabelle Prime, and they kept me in the yard of execution as one chapter of the human torturing chapters. At that time, I couldn’t differentiate between the death of abduction to the soul and the slow embarrassing of death to human body.

The death is well-known to all of us, and it’s the one which they do not know about too. It’s a fact of life that died body lives with all sense of life, and the existing human beings believe that fact as a silence death.

“Waiting for the call execution is much more difficult than the death itself, the phase of waiting for death is the phase of death aftermath in few minutes. Today’s women international day has brought me back to the past two years mummeries, to the moments when I was abducted along with my French colleague Isabelle Prime in Sana’a on February 24th, 2015 . I refused to let her face the aggression of people who share nothing with the world of humanity at all. At that time, the whole savagery turned into my humanity who rejects the worst of their ugly hospitality.

Despite of being from the same land whom they assume they belong to it, the value of humans to them is measured to the none Yemeni nationality, so my value to them was counted by the weight of my Yemeni passport pages only.

“The surprise that the number of my passport pages did not either help me for survive for extra days in the dark and privet jail for Yemeni abductees only as they prepare me for execution.”
Suddenly and without advance notice, they have decided overnight to isolate me by force from Isabelle Prime. while I was informing her gently with full confidence that it will take me few hours and I will return back to her, she was quite sure at that moment that I won’t return back to her. Sadly, I paid a heavy price for 15 days in an individual dark jail, days full of pains, pains that I have decided to hold through the rest of my remaining ages.

In fact I was not scared at all, I didn’t hesitate to protect her or to continue doing so. My personal feelings as a Yemeni national in my country brought me more courage to say no for the abductors and my responsibility is to safe Isabelle Prime more than myself. I have paid the tax of that defending because of value of the nationalism that I have taught and brought up for since I was born. I have did that as well to prove to tell the world that we are peace makers and we love life and the killers are not part of our country (Yemen).

At one midnight, the women who was serving Isabelle Prime approach me, she covered my eyes with fabric, she took me with cold blood into area in which I did not either hear my hard escalating breathing. “I wished to have her jailed in me rather than leaving her forever” I said in myself. In the midway, the women was holding my hand strongly and she was whispering in my ear to be strong and not to feel worry at all. She said, the paradise is beautiful.

At that moment, I felt my breathing was ceasing, my heart was quickly beating, I lost my conscious and I start creeping in my knees trying to understand what she was saying. Unfortunately , I couldn’t understand what she was going on. I was struggling to collect my oppressed stained and diaspora, trying to stand on my foot once again. I have rejected the help she offered, trying to hardly walk into the death road and small hole without thinking and her help too.

I had no choice at that time, only to collect the remaining poor power I still have my body. This first thought that came to my mind, if I will be killed I should deserve at least a respected burial, so others can have the chance to make the last good bye for me. “I still deserve that right” talking again to myself.

Maybe, I didn’t have that right either, whenever I tried to understand that, I was thinking on the awaiting death in that women’s hand which was accelerating very quickly. She was the heroine of that death, she was guiding me in irrelevant way reciting some of the holy Quran in my ear, repeating some verses of Hadeeth. I still do believe that no one in my situation will pay attention to her grumbling only the slaveries of death. She told me that she will miss me very much and it’s a short time and I will not feel anything at all, by then I came to realize that everything was so serious.

I can tell you that the death has changed its waiting row
It’s to die and some of your body cells are still vibrate
It’s to die and your soul is still breaths
It’s to die and your heart is still beating
Briefly, and from my experience is to die and to die slowly.

Suddenly and after all, strong sound cleaves everything, it was the sound of death. I had to pry with internal silence , I was handcuffed by all types of constraints. Even without it I wouldn’t be able to run out of my fate, and I would face it bravely. At once the death owner have to prepare his gun to shot the first bullet announcing clearly the violence against me or what is so called with Arabs the black shame.

My soul was falling apart repeating the echo in my internal parts. I felt as if i was falling very quickly from the highest point of life into the lower part of death, then i entered into a different world with different features and sharp face and huge storm that shifted me upside-down.

They have forgot that the Yemeni women is not rated for misbehaving with her, as she is identified like stone that stands out in the middle of those who trays to overcome her under any circumstances and hard live.

These moments do still live in me since that long time, each day of it worth’s a full year in my novel’s chapters. “A new age of a woman after her death” writing to you, by her fingers that narrate one story of a woman is still struggling in this land, in a day named “the international day of women”

May every year and the woman is the whole year.

May every year and the Yemeni women is all years
The novel is yet to be produce

Shereen Makawi