Fuad Al-Himyari speaks to the Yemen Times
In response, the Supreme Coordinating Council’s mouthpiece, Fuad Al-Himyari, said some protesters have relocated to new spots, but many staunchly remain in the square.
Al-Himyari, a well-known pro-democracy speaker, said a new revolt could arise to overthrow the reconciliation government if it neglects the demands of revolutionaries.
Tents have been removed and revolutionaries have withdrawn from Change Square. What is happening?
First, the word withdrawal is inaccurate. I personally visited those who left the square because I wanted to know why. The ones who left the square are from nearby governorates; they don’t live in Sana'a. They came to the square last year when it was subject to repression and shelling. While they’re now gone, they will continue their revolutionary activities elsewhere.
Some say the reason behind clearing out the square is an agreement between President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and members of the Islah party in preparation for the national dialogue.
You should ask the government and the Islah party about it, but we are not a part of any agreement. The coordinating council in Change Square held a press conference last Friday, "Steadfastness in the Square." The removal of some tents was a personal choice; however, that doesn't indicate a lack of resolve. On the contrary, the square received new momentum.
Some consider the square to just be full of tents that have played no real role since the signing of the Gulf Initiative power transition deal.
It is true that some revolutionaries feel this way; therefore, some decided to leave, and others have changed their location in the square.
Is the revolution dying down?
Yes, but the current goals of the revolutionaries are different from last year’s. The government last year tried to oppose the revolution through killing and destruction of property. Such acts gave momentum to the revolution. I want to emphasize that we do not seek violence. Anyone paying attention to the revolution would see that we’re expanding to new areas where demonstrations used to be banned.
Youth have been imprisoned. How have you tried to secure their release?
We cannot forget them. Therefore, our primary condition to participate in the national dialogue is the release of the detainees. We have informed government and international officials that the dialogue will not be successful unless the revolutionary detainees are released. We have selected members to closely follow this issue.
Do you know exactly how many are currently detained?
Yes, we have lists of all those detained. We have given copies of these lists to local and international organizations.
Both the president and the prime minister have ordered their release. What’s stopping the process?
There is a new government and president; however, that doesn’t mean we have a new regime. The former regime has not vanished yet. Some orders have yet to be executed.
Is there a stronger political power than President Hadi's?
There is a state within the state. The former regime still has foreign and local networks. These networks continue imposing their agenda powerfully. The revolution was not against superficial aspects of the state but against these deep-rooted interests and networks. They’re not gone, so we aren’t either.
What do you think of the reconciliation government?
The Gulf Initiative created the reconciliation government. At the start, we turned down the deal, but we agreed on a few points. We agreed a reconciliation government was an ideal way to alleviate the suffering caused by the former regime. It also showed the former regime was no longer legitimate. For this reason, the Gulf Initiative and the non-competitive presidential election had their advantages. We deem the reconciliation government to be a caretaker. Its tasks are to reduce the suffering of citizens and to defend the revolution.
If the reconciliation government fails, what will you (the revolutionaries) do?
I assure you: if the behavior of the reconciliation government convinces the youth that it doesn’t intend to stand by the revolution, a second revolt will take place.
Who will represent youth in the national dialogue?
The coordinating council will hold a youth conference in the square. Many revolutionary factions will participate. God willing, we will determine who will represent the youth in the national dialogue.
What was your reaction to the terrorist attack on security forces in Al-Sabeen Square a day before National Unity Day?
It was a heinous crime. It was a proof that Al-Sabeen Square is just like Al-Sateen Square, and there is no difference between the value of civilians and the army. It proved that Yemenis are targeted by one attacker. The nation wants to be free, but there is a human devil trying to prevent liberation. The nation aspires for change, but the enemies of change endeavor to block it. The incident gave a clear image of the conflict. The day of the terrorist act in Al-Sabeen, I demanded the removal of certain top military figures.
Why didn’t you demand for the defense or interior ministers to resign?
If we restructured the military and security institutions, we could have called for the resignation of the two ministers. However, currently, the defense minister is not really in control of the military forces and the security units don’t obey the interior ministry either. The entire world knows that the military and security forces are not at the disposal of these two ministries. So, it isn’t fair to demand their resignation.
Let’s talk about a significant event of the revolution, Dignity Friday, that occurred March 18, 2011. What did it mean to you?
Dignity Friday was the spark of the revolution. It highlighted the 33-year reign of Saleh. It showed how brutal and inhumane the former regime was while it systematically demolished the nation and murdered its citizens.
You were the speaker on Dignity Friday. The security administration in Sana'a said you instigated rebellion and crime. What is your response to this accusation?
First, the speech is recorded. Anyone can listen to it and decide for themselves. But I want to ask this question: did I incite thugs to kill or martyrs to be slain? This needs clarification. Secondly, when the court investigated me, I was acquitted.
Have you been acquitted from the latest investigations of this crime?
You should ask the law committee in the square.
How did you react to such a charge?
Since the beginning of the revolution, I believed that the regime was criminal. It showed its criminality not only to individuals but to the whole nation. It destroyed humanity before us. Therefore, I expected the worst from that abysmal regime. I saw dear friends murdered and bullet-ridden bodies. I used to believe that a human can’t be worse than a monster, but I now know that the former can be bloodier than the latter.
Could you tell us about harassment and threats you have faced?
Before the revolution, my political activities were known. The police broke into my house more than once. I’ve been followed many times. I have been in the square for more than a year, and I’m always under surveillance. The former interior minister accused me of the Dignity Friday massacre.
On God's Victory Friday (Sept. 9, 2011), the security administration in Sana'a made a report on my speech. The report was handed over to the interior ministry and then they asked the general prosecution to look into the matter. It was an attempt to legally entrap me. I risk being killed every day, but I’m ready to face death in order to give life to others.
Did General Ali Mohsen help protect the revolution?
General Mohssen defended the revolution, just as all the sheiks did who came to the square in order to defend the unarmed revolutionaries. All of those affiliated with the revolution are proud of it.