Terrorism engulfing Yemeni youth
Details of one of the worst terrorist attacks this year, which happened in May at the Sabeen Square parade in Sana’a and claimed the lives of more than 60 Yemenis, revealed none of the executors were older than 22.
Intelligence found tapes of the terrorists documenting their plans and taking us step-by-step through their work. They were so young and yet so blinded, as if brainwashed. The operation’s leader was only 18 years old, still on the loose while the mastermind, definitely much older, sits safely somewhere in a hideout, running the entire operation through remote control.
Now, there are frantic security personnel spread across the country checking cars and monitoring activities, trying to prevent another tragedy from happening. But how much can they really do? I am not underestimating them but being realistic about the threat we are facing as a nation.
These young men make up more than 60 percent of our population. The terrorists did not wear beards or look any different from the boy next door. It becomes the responsibility of their families more than anyone else to really report suspicious acts and prevent another attack from occurring.
But, would Yemeni families really report their own children? I don’t think so. For one, they are not really aware of the risks they take by allowing their sons to engage in “religious” activities, and second, which is equally important, they don’t really trust the state. These boys come from different areas around the country, many of which are impoverished and lack rule of law. Entire communities don’t associate with the nation or feel the connection between the stability of the country and their own actions.
We need to educate our citizens so that they are more engaged and more responsible, otherwise no matter how many checkpoints, no matter how many security personnel patrol the streets, we will never win the war against terrorism. We need to rely on citizens and their interest in protecting their country, but before that happens, they need to feel loyal to their country and be interested in protecting it.