‘Ana Insan Madani’ can best be translated as ‘I am a citizen’. In this regular feature, we meet prominent Yemenis from various backgrounds and fields and hear their thoughts on matters related to Yemen, being a citizen and what ‘madaniya’ means to them.
Hind al-Eryani is a writer, journalist and member of UN Women’s Yemeni women’s pact for peace and security. Many of her articles have been published in several languages, and she also has a weekly slot on radio Monte Carlo. One of her most popular articles, ‘Why don’t men cover their faces?’, was translated into five languages and published in a number of widely read international news sites and publications.
Throughout 2012, al-Eryani led many campaigns against Qat and its negative effects on the economy, water and agriculture. After two years of campaigning and protesting, a strategy that would solve the qat problem was gradually included in the constitution, which was supposed to be voted on by the people of Yemen. Her latest independent campaign is titled ‘Don't return without peace to Yemen’, promoting peace in Yemen. It was launched during the Kuwait talks. Many Yemenis from different cities and villages participated in the campaign, and influential people also reacted to this campaign, including the UN envoy to Yemen.
1. What does the word madaniya / مدنية mean to you?
A civil state is the fair and just state that preserves the rights of citizens regardless of their religious, intellectual or political affiliation.
2. What does homeland mean to you?
Homeland is the place where I live in full freedom and I have all my rights as a citizen: education, health and work. Home is the place that accepts me and gives me the right to choose what suits me in thought and lifestyle. Home is also where I feel safe, with those I love.
3. What does it mean to be a citizen to you?
A citizen is a civilized human being who rejects violence, respects laws and accepts the other who is different from her/him and in difference with her/him.
4. How would you describe the advantages and disadvantages of the rule of law?
One of the advantages of the laws is that it equates people with their rights. The disadvantages are bureaucracy in some countries regarding applying these laws.
5. When you hear the word equality, what comes to your mind?
Equality between man and woman.
6. Have you voted before?
7. If you had the power to make one change in Yemen, what would it be and when?
Stop the war and return to negotiations, and reach a political solution that will save Yemen. RIGHT NOW.