When political conflict takes a toll on social life
Since the moment when protests first erupted, Yemenis have been divided into three categories: those who first sided with the former regime, those who stood with the revolution and lastly, those who remained silent and preferred to look on and see how things played out.
Throughout the crisis, some people performed an about-face with their stances, with some supporters of the revolution becoming opponents of the same. The reverse has also been true.
Political differences and conflicting loyalties have considerably affected social relationships among people.
Some employees were sacked because of their personal political views. Children have not been exempt from the side-effects, and have probably been the most affected segment of society.
Social worker Majid al-Hamidi told the Yemen Times that “recent events that our country has experienced did not bring about big cracks or divisions in social relationships. Father and son might support conflicting parties, but that does not necessarily mean their relationship has been badly damaged."
"Only when one side of the argument has interests in supporting a certain party have big disputes been more likely," he said, affirming that children are more vulnerable to falling out, as they may mimic their elders, with arguments between them ending up in fist fights.
He attributed the negative affects on children to the family and school, and stressed the important role of families and schools in raising awareness among children and providing them with healthy atmospheres away from stressful disputes.
“I think social relationships were affected to a great extent due to the division of society between supporters and opponents of the regime," Abdu Al-Mahbashi said.
"Some relationships worsened between employer and his employee, father and son, mother and daughter, close friends, etc. The detrimental effects on social relationships indicate a lack of awareness," said Al-Mahbashi.
"Because of my strong support for the revolution, my relationships with some friends slightly worsened at the beginning of the revolution. But then my skin thickened. I realized that some of them don't love their homeland - if they did, they would have been more aware of the dangers of societal divisions,” he said.
Social relationships bounced back and grudges faded away after singing the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered deal and the inauguration of a new President, according to al-Mahbashi.
Different political opinions and arguments have led to major divisions in society, with some people even changing their places of worship.
Hodeida resident Imad Al-Saili said that inhabitants of his village argued about their political views. While some stood by Saleh, others supported the revolution. Such differences led to falling outs and the choice by some to stop praying together in the same mosque.
"Those in support of the regime prayed in the mosque at the north side of the village, while revolution supporters prayed in the western mosque," he said.
Because all his friends and family stood by the revolution, Imad said he did not have any political arguments. He said, however, that he had heard of some arguments which had ended in violence.
"Arguments between strangers are more likely to be bitter and end in violence, "he said.
In hindsight, Mohammed Gazi, a young man, expressed his regrets that he and his late father, who had been a supporter of president Saleh, would argue a lot. At times, their debates would end in shouting.
"That should never have happened between a father and son."
Arguments also dealt a severe blow to Gazi's relationship with a colleague.
In stark contrast, Yasser al-Maqtari insisted that political differences had not affected his social relationships. He said, "The revolution has taught people to call for their rights, but at the same time to respect and accept those who think differently."
“For me, I have had my own experiences regarding politically-oriented debates. I've had some arguments with colleagues who had reservations about the uprising against Saleh," al-Maqtari said.
“But after long debates, we realized that our personal opinions converged at points, on general goals that we agreed upon in principle. It turned out that our different views were only about means, not ends."
He added that the revolution created a sense of solidarity and brotherhood among protesters, and added that the revolution's goals are not open to debate, as all people agree on them.