In the wake of today’s revelations of a package bomb orgininating in Yemen and bound for the U.S. it is perhaps useful to remember the linkages between poverty and terrorism and indeed poverty and religiosity in attempting to understand the trajectory of this event. The linkages between poverty, civil discontent and terrorism have been discussed frequently in the academy (Barros et al 2008). Yemen is in this light a textbook case. Ranking 151st out of 177 countries in the Human Development Index of the UN, an index measuring such things as infant mortality and life expectancy: it can be seen that Yemen has one of the lowest HDIs in the world and indeed is the poorest of all the Arab nations. This is only exacerbated by dwindling natural energy resources, an internal war and an education system that has all but collapsed.
Writing in the UNICEF press release above, Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative in Yemen highlights the crucial role of education in any peace-building initiative. With this in mind today is perhaps a timely opportunity to notice and discuss equilaterally, any attempts to show women of Yemen who have chosen to be in education as aligned with those against peace. However, it may be crude and mechanistic of me to view recent revelations in the news-media as only damaging to Yemeni women in education. In fact this may be about diffusing a western discourse of commenting on oppression of women in countries such as Yemen. An agenda seeking to damage and undermine support for them from the west. In time, much time, no doubt the course and origins of this cruel attempt on the lives of innocents will be revealed. However, in the meantime the war goes on and though it is a process through which poverty touches all, it is important to note that in Yemen, the face of poverty is undoubtedly female.
Read article by Lloyd-Evans for Geography Compass http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-8198.2008.00157.x/abstract
Watch video interview with Ghadia Al Absi http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2009/04/08/video-interview-with-ghaidaa-al-absi/
Read UNICEF press release http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/media_56431.html
Read article by Rachel Cooke (2008) http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/may/11/women.humanrights
Read Barros et al (2008) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V82-4P940HP-7&_user=10&_coverDate=02/29/2008&_rdoc=1&_fmt=full&_orig=search&_origin=search&_cdi=5858&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=a8f19e9b565b17457c544e928510abe9&searchtype=a