Ahmed Hezam Al-Yemeni, Yemen

Warscapes Corona Notebooks

As the world enters a state of prolonged lockdown, Ahmed Hezam Al-Yemeni welcomes us all to the party: His country, Yemen, had been in lockdown through five years of brutal war. While some Yemenis great coronavirus with defiance, he worries the virus will wreck havoc on his gravely weakened country. 

Transcript: Hi everyone, this is Ahmed from Yemen - from the midlands in Yemen. A couple of weeks back, we finished our fifth year of destructive war in the country - a war that has been so dramatic, and so bloody. We remember airstrikes - thousands and thousands of airstrikes - and the destruction of infrastructure, all kinds of infrastructure.Thousands of innocent people, including women and kids, have been killed in this war. And yet, we don't know how it will end, regardless of so many truces announced by the coalition - the "Axis of Evil," KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] and UAE [United Arab Emirates], and whoever supported them from Western countries, especially the US. Five years of war. So many things happened. And people are still resisting and fighting back, regardless of so many hardships from the war. We don't look to the sky for airstrikes anymore. We don't care. People are just looking for their daily bread. 

And now, we have this COVID-19, this coronavirus, that's coming, and we don't know what will happen. There are two scenarios: Either it's going to be the end of the end, and the beginning of the real Day of Judgement here in Yemen, or we're going to defeat this COVID-19. Yemen has been "the graveyard of invaders" for hundreds of thousands of years, maybe we'll beat this bastard. Who knows? Who knows? 

But it's quite funny, and kind of dramatic, that five years of blockade and lockdown and siege of the country - and Yemenis are still resisting, despite the isolation and all of the bad things that are happening. So it's funny, because now the whole world - from China to Europe to North America - are witnessing and living the same conditions that Yemenis have been living. Our airports and harbors and seaports are locked, and all the countries of the world have [now] locked down themselves because of this coronavirus. No air flights, blockade, siege. So I wonder if they are really living and feeling what it means to be locked down in your own home and your own country? You cannot go out. Prices go up. Your afraid of looting; security; government instructions; and so on. It's interesting. Yemenis are wondering about this: Maybe this war will save us somehow. However, we wish everyone all the best, from here in Yemen. 

And we wish this war [here] is going to end in peace and reconciliation, regardless of so much hate-speech, and the coalition splitting the country between South and North.  

We wish you all the best, and we wish everyone to survive this virus - this deadly virus. And for Yemen, we're going to survive - though it's gonna be tough, we're going to survive. Take care, everyone. Have a nice weekend. Have a nice day. 

Ahmed Hezam Al-Yemeni is a researcher, writer and previous contributor to Warscapes. He chronicled his harrowing return to Yemen at the start of the war in A Portrait of War: Returning Home to Yemen.