Artists, journalists and lawyers declare independence from Sana’a’s syndicates
This show of independence is expected to heighten tensions with the north and add yet more challenges for the national unity government and the newly elected president.
Since the creation of the Southern Movement in 2007, there has been a youth association that separated itself from the youth association in Sana’a in 2010. The Southern Youth Association was established by the son of a Southern Movement leader, Fadi Hassan Baoam.
Similar unions have surfaced, particularly in 2011 and 2012, to increase support for demands of southern independence.
The Southern Women’s Association, the Southern Artists’ Association, the Preparation Committee for the Southern Journalists‘ Syndicate, and the Bar Association were all announced early this year.
There are indications that other unions will be formed by activists in the Southern Movement covering engineers and doctors.
On March 7th, one day ahead of International Women’s Day, a ceremony was organized in Aden where women leaders of the Southern Movement declared the Southern Women’s Association. It was announced as a female entity that struggles for the declared goals of the Southern Movement.
During the ceremony, head of the new association, Dr. Eman Ali Ahmed, affirmed that the Southern Women’s Association in Aden was based upon one major goal, the independence of the south.
On Feb. 15, activists of the Southern Movement resurrected The Southern Artists’ Union, that had been suspended 21 years before. Artists from all of Yemen’s southern governorates attended.
The emergence of these southern based unions are paving the way for unions covering other categories of workers.
A large group of southern journalists held a consultative meeting on March 11th in Aden, with the aim of creating an independent southern journalist syndicate, and separating from the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS) based in Sana’a.
They formed a preparatory committee to coordinate and communicate with all other news institutions and southern journalists, with the hope of declaring the new syndicate in the upcoming weeks. The meeting was considered as a formal declaration of independence from the YJS.
In the consultative meeting, the southern journalists and writers discussed the mechanisms of the future syndicate, and the importance of creating a syndicate that cared for media in the south, conveyed a message to the world, and protected the rights of journalists covering the southern cause.
In an ironic twist, the meeting was attended by the Deputy Chairman of the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate, Mohammad Saeed Salem.
The day following the journalists’ actions, a large group of southern lawyers declared independence from the Yemeni Lawyers Union and formed a preparation committee for the Southern Lawyers’ Union.
Lawyers said in a statement that Dr. Mohammad Ali Al-Saqaf and Yahya Ghalib Al-Shoaibi had been tasked to represent the southern advocates at the Arab Lawyers’ Union, and seek membership within that union.
The meeting elected Badr Basaneed, Raqia Homaidan, Mohammed Nasser Al-Awlaqi, Saeed Al-Isaee, Mohammad Mahmoud Nasser and Salah Al-Din Al-Hamid as members of a supervision committee to prepare for a general conference of the new union.
Resurrecting pre-unity state institutions
It was clear in all the recently formed unions that the participators were keen to host leaders of the Supreme Council of the Southern Movement, and those leaders were careful to take part and support the new unions.
Activists of the Southern Movement consider that the resumption of the trade union entities that existed before the unification is one step in a journey of a thousand miles to recover the state institutions that were in force before the unity of May 22, 1990.
Abdul-Salam Jabir, who was asked to prepare for a Southern Journalists‘ Syndicate, says that that the goal behind the creation of the syndicate is the revival of southern state institutions, stressing that the syndicate will assume its responsibility to defend press freedoms in the south.
While the leadership of the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate in Sana’a and its branch in Aden stayed silent regarding these movements, the writer and journalist Fathi Abu Al-Nasr described the creation of such a union as a chauvinistic policy aiming to punish the YJS because of its positive stance towards Yemen’s peaceful revolution.
“Southern opponent journalists were supposed to operate to correct any faults and imbalances of the YJS, and make it responsive to the demands of the general assembly, not to deepen divisions at this critical time,” said Abu Nasr.