Live ammo, RPG-style fireworks and weddings
Ashraf Al-Muraqab (author), Ashraf Al-Muraqab (photographer)
Thursday is the worst day of every week for him because several weddings are always held in Sana’a on Thursdays. They cause Al-Yusfi insomnia, particularly those weddings held inside camps in streets, which block roads and make loud noise because of the microphones used.
“Live ammunition is also being used, which makes me feel as if I’m in an armed attack.”
Many residents in Sana’a shoot live ammunition and fireworks during weddings as a gesture of happiness. Barely can people differentiate between the sounds of bullets and the sounds of fireworks.
“When I hear bullets and fireworks, I feel as if war has broken out in our neighborhood,” Al-Yusfi said. “Sometimes heavy guns are used, and then I feel undoubtedly that it is war and not a wedding.”
For his part, Haj Abdulwahab Al-Khawlani, a Sana’a resident, said weddings in the capital city aren’t as beautiful as they were in the past. Neighborhood residents used to enjoy such occasions.
“Now, residents suffer from weddings, and even their children can’t sleep,” he said.
Al-Khawlani said the sound of fireworks is a source of concern and a disturbance for elderly and sick people. He said the use of fireworks is negligent toward the rights of neighbors.
Ali Al-Harazi, a customer in a fireworks shop, said new kinds of fireworks were imported this year.
“They are of different sizes and prices,” Al-Harazi said. “Some fireworks are like RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades). It is written on their cover B20, B30 and B40, and they are being sold for 3,000 riyals or 4,000 riyals (about $19).”
Al-Harazi said some young men use fireworks that are called bombs—the sound of which is very loud. They are shaped like bombs, rockets and bazookas.
Lama Al-Haddad, a nurse in Maka Hospital in Al-Asbahi, spoke about injuries caused by fireworks, saying, “There are several victims of fireworks. A child lost his eyes when small fireworks, like a rocket, hit his eye. Another child burnt himself when a firework burst in his face. Moreover, a child sparked his firework near the kitchen, which caused a fire inside of it.”
Fireworks present a danger not only to those who use them but also to people near the area where they are launched from because they can cause temporary or permanent disabilities, according to Doctor Abdurrahman Shamsan.
“Fireworks also cause noise pollution, which affects the eardrum and in return causes a functional imbalance in the function of the brain,” Shamsan said.
Adel Al-Sharjabi, sociology professor at Sana’a University, said fireworks spread boosts of murderous tendencies among children, particularly in a country where arms are found everywhere.
“It is noticed that some children use strong fireworks to frighten people, and this increases the aggressive side and boosts violence among children,” he said.
Relevant authorities asserted a determination to combat fireworks.
Abdulqadir Helal, secretary of the capital, said in an interview with Yemen Times that he coordinated with general prosecution authorities to take effective actions against smugglers who bring fireworks into Sana’a. However, this trade remains active, and fireworks are publicly sold.
After Eid, weddings were held all across Sana’a, and fireworks and live ammunition were often used for celebratory purposes.
The large demand for fireworks increased during the holiday, indicating that the Sana’a Security Administration failed to follow and track down those who purchase fireworks.
“Why doesn’t the police take effective measures to prevent this phenomenon that penetrates our society?” Mohammed Al-Mazna’i, a college student, asked.
Mohammed Al-Faeq, an Imam in Sana’a, said, “Unfortunately, many people spent money to disturb residents. Isn’t it better to spend this money on charity works for people who starve of hunger instead of wasting it?”
The Ministry of Interior prepared 20 military vehicles from Central Security Forces, 10 from police and 10 from Military Police for a campaign aimed to prevent shooting live ammunition and fireworks at weddings in Sana’a.
Interior Ministry Security Media said the interior minister gave orders to put 40 military vehicles under the control of Security Administration in the capital.
The military vehicles will spread in different areas in the capital to detain whoever shoots fire during weddings.