Interviews

Fri - 08 Nov 2019 - 08:53 PM ،،،

 
 It was an important historical ceremony with the presence of the Arab coalition, Saudi Arabia, represented by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as the UAE represented by Abu Dhabi's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Yemeni president and many figures which fought with it and against it.
The people of the south were unwearyingly waiting.

I remembered the beginnings, I went back to 1994 when I was sentenced to death, during the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the day I fled to Djibouti. I lived in the mountains.  I did not doubt that the  Southern issue would one day be on the Kings’ table.

The pursuit that surrounded every step of my life made that dream impossible, even when I returned with a special pardon from the president. I was the target of four assassination attempts. I survived all of them miraculously. The dream that was in the shadow of great corruption, seemed to me like a dream that will never come true.

An hour before signing the Riyadh Agreement, royal vehicles took us to the Al-Yamama Palace, for the first time I felt fearful. A stream of memories took me back to the villages of Zubayd in Al-Dalla governorate, where I was born.

I remembered my elementary school teacher and the Air Force College in Aden, my memories took me back to the day I graduated as a Second Lieutenant in 1988.
It was a dream, suddenly my thought’s travelled to the Ministry of Interior where I joined the Special Forces in the summer war of 1994. I  fought with what was known then as the Army of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, in  Dovs Front in Abyan governorate.

We arrived at the ancient Al Yamamah Palace, but the torrent of memories carried on and refused to stop. They led to when I called for the right to self-determination which I founded secretly in 1996. I was accused of treason and faced a military trial and was sentenced to death in absentia. I secretly hid in the corridors of politics and I  worked secretly until the 6th June 2011, I publicly announced that I will return to practice politics.

The protocol of signing the Riyadh agreement ceremony in the hall, required that we sit in a specific way ,I did not think about it because the stream of memories carried on and drove me towards Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2013, when he ordered his men to bomb a gathering of mourners who were bereaving the dead from the  southern movement in a village in Sinah in Hajr district in  Al-Dalla governorate.

That attack drove me to fight against Ali Saleh and against the cruelty and arrogance he represented. I called for an extended meeting with the Sheikhs and dignitaries in Zubeid to join me in my pursuit, all those who attended the meeting agreed to continue the fight.

Soon after the military coup against President Hadi in Sana'a, the Houthis continued their march towards the cities of the south, we moved to defend the president and legitimacy and expelled them. We headed towards Lahj governorate and broke into Al Anad the strategic military base.

After the liberation of most of the southern regions, we went to Aden governorate and met with leaders of the southern resistance. I remembered December 2015, when President Hadi issued a decree and appointed me as the governor of Aden, but in April 2017 he dismissed me as governor.

The guests began to enter the hall, the host was great, like his father, the world witnessed his generosity and wisdom and integrity. The details did not bother me but the stream of memories reassured me that my dream can come true. I recalled the discontent of those who opposed us and those who attempted to jump on the bandwagon of the sacrifices of the southerners once again.

On May  4th, 2017, we rallied and issued the historic Declaration of Aden, which authorized the formation of the Southern Transitional Council, the whole of the southern people came out on May 21st and supported our council and commend it.
The STC’s team was and still is, to this moment, enjoying statesmanship, wisdom and has a vision.

Moments later, the prince read his historic speech, at his side was Mohammed bin Zayed and the representative of the STC sat facing the legitimacy's representative. My stream of thoughts turned into tears of joy which I never felt before, I believed that my mission was over. But the prince assured me in a private conversation that I have an important assignment ahead which will double my mission. That came from a trusted friend and ally, who had never broken a covenant before, I knew that I, without any doubt, had to guarantee him that I will be the patron, I replied to him, “ Consider it done”.

I felt the warmth creped into me when we held hands during our exit, I was sure that all the southerners and the Yemenis felt it too. The dream came true.
I realise that whatever one attempted to do with goodwill and accuracy it will always come out fruitful.

By Noura Almoteari
Translated and edited by Sahar Noman