Hundreds in Yemen rally to denounce kidnapping and killing of foreigners

Below is a message we received from our coordinator in Yemen.

Dear Friends,
For some of us it’s been a while since we last wrote. We, at Al Mamoon, hope this email finds you well.

The last facts in Yemen have somehow put a distance through us. Our correspondence has slowed down and, at the end, from both sides we let silence accompany our days. Along with the dreadful news. This email is not a marketing tool and has nothing to do with our business relation. This is just an informative email to tell you that the population in Yemen is not silent. Least, passive.

Last week the Tourism Union joint hands with the Yemeni population, hotel personnel, tourism professionals in an unprecedented rally to say no to terrorism, no to innocent killings, no to violence.

Under a boiling sun, people stood with banners and flyers. Under a boiling sun, people cried their disgust to the last happenings. Under a boiling sun, people humbly moved to the German Embassy to bring flowers and pay respect. Under a boiling sun common people, soldiers, professionals and dignitaries shared their will to protect Yemen and its visitors.

We were there. And we found our friends: the guides, the drivers, colleagues of other tour operators and our next door neighbors.

Yemen hits the headline news only for the tragedies. Last week Reuters, Al Jazeera, Al Arabya and plenty of journalists were with us. Where is the news?

Attached you will find the chronicle of a touching day (Yemen Observer, 30 June). We retyped it for you.

Love and peace to all of you.

Your friends in Yemen,
Yahia, Mona and Beatrice
the Staff of Sam City Hotel
the Staff of Europcar
the Staff of Land of Two Paradise Hotel
the Guides and Drivers

****************************************************

YEMEN OBSERVER
Yemen Observer is the link between reader and news. It is the source of exclusive news, presenting facts objectively in a professional manner.
It provides the most comprehensive and accurate information for the world
Tuesday – June 30, 2009 ISSUE 52

Hundreds in Yemen rally to denounce kidnapping and killing of foreigners

Demonstration march under the scorching sun to the German Embassy to pay tribute to the families of the murdered foreigners. The tragic kidnapping has united all factions of Yemeni society in solidarity; condemning all acts of terrorism.

By Zaid al-Alaya’a & Mohammed al-Qiri
Yemen Observer
—————————————————-

Hundreds of demonstrators representing Parliaments, travel and tourism agencies, and civil society organization marched today from al-Sab’aeen to the German Embassy to express solidarity with the kidnapped, denouncing kidnapping and terrorism. Demonstrators carried signs that condemn terrorism, killing, and kidnapping of tourists, which harms society as a whole and affects investment, development, and Yemen’s image and relations with other countries. The demonstration organized by the Yemeni Union for Travel and Tourism Agencies, issued a statement that expressed deep condolences to the families of the murdered Germans and Korean. Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, chairman of the union, called on all citizens to help security authorities to put the perpetrators of murder and kidnapping to justice to get the punishment that they deserve.

“Those criminals are not targeting any people or system in particular, but they are targeting the country at large and have support from foreign forces that want to harm Yemen and stop its development,” said Yahya.

He said that terrorism has no religion and no country, and that only people with deviant behavior practice terrorism. This rally that we organized today will submit a letter expressing our condolences to the German and South Korean Embassies.

“First of all, I would like to convey the deep condolences of all participants to the victims of terrorism, targeting doctors working in Sa’adah and all other victims of terrorist attacks that target tourists and foreigners working in Yemen,” said Yahya. The attacks also resulted in deaths among Yemenis who have done nothing wrong but were present during the terrorist attacks.

“In this parade I call on the government to consider the murdered foreigners in Sa’adah as martyrs of duty in recognition of the great medical services they have provided to the people of Sa’adah in a period of more that 35 years,” said Yahya. He also said that rally comes in solidarity with the Yemeni public, the first ones to be harmed by these terrorist attacks. The attacks aim to shake Yemen’s economy, security, and stability and bar any investment or tourists from coming to Yemen.

“We are working to develop Yemen but terrorists have an outside, or maybe inside, agenda that wants the country to move backwards. These terrorists do not realize that they are harming the country at large, not just a few in particular,” said Yahya. Yemen is not the property of any party or any group. It is for all Yemenis at large and every citizen has to defend it. The first victims of terrorist attacks are the public, development, security, stability but not authorities as terrorists are trying to show.

More than 55% of tourism programs in Yemen were cancelled as a result of recent terrorists’ attacks; many other sectors like hotels, handicraft shops, car rental, and many other sectors have suffered great losses as a result of this more than 300,000 families, or around two million people, benefit from tourism and have suffered greatly since the recent terrorists attacks. Terrorists who dare to commit such acts have no morals, no feelings, and only aim to defame the reputation of Yemen. Security and the army can not protect the country’s stability alone, but all citizens and all people in Yemen have to stand against any calls for violence. Citizens of Sa’adah have to report to the authorities with any information that can lead to the whereabouts of the kidnapped.

Abdu al-Hothefi, MP Head of the tourism Committee in Parliament, said that these acts do not belong to Yemeni Culture that has always been, and will always be, tolerant and peaceful. The demonstrators walked to the premises of the German Embassy and presented flowers and a statement from the organizers and participants to show their condemnation of the murders and kidnapping, calling upon Yemeni security forces to hunt down the terrorists and kidnappers.
“I call on all people in Yemen at large to stand against all destructive forces in Yemen that aim to distort the image of Yemen, its economy, stability and security. Tourism is one of the main source of revenues for the country and the source of income to a large number of people in Yemen, but such acts deprive a lot of people of their means of living.

We all have to work to protect this industry and take strict measures against all those who try to harm this sector,” said al-Hothefi. MP Osman Mujali said, “We denounce this behavior which contradicts Yemen’s traditions. This country is known for honoring guests and welcoming all people, but unfortunately this is a terrorist act which is supported by terrorists and damages the country’s reputation, security, and economy.”

Mo’mar al -Eryani, the General Yemeni Youth condemn this cowardly act that targets not only the foreigners, but all Yemenis and the country in general. The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Abdul-Jabbar Saeed, said that they demand that the authorities track down all criminals and terrorists and refer them immediately to justice to face the penalty for their crimes.
The Children’s parliament Member Safa al-Watari, said “There are people who devote themselves to hostility because they are far from principles and are deprived of humanitarian values and ethics. They have used the children as a way to express the malice and hatred hidden inside them, seeking to destroy the children’s future.” She said that she calls upon the government and all parties to punish those who use children to carry out their subversive agendas for damaging the community’s stability.

Beatrice de Filippis of al-Mamoon Intl. Tours said that her heart is broken twice, as a European she stands in solidarity with the Europeans, while her heart also cries for Yemenis because these actions affect the reputation of Yemen in the rest of the world. She went on saying, “I am a European woman working in a humanitarian field, trying to defend the Yemeni people who were described by their prophet as kind hearted people.” Miss Fillippis added that those people who committed these actions are not normal people, but people who are against all laws and rules.
Airline representative Fahd al-Ariqi said that the airlines are the sector most affected by these terrorist actions, leading to decrease in airline passenger numbers and trips.

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