Yemeni activist Ibrahim Mothana passed away in San‘a today. He was 24 years old. In those 24 years he accomplished more than most of us ever will. He was a prominent voice in Yemen’s youth-led uprising, which began in 2011. He was a co-founder of the Watan Party, one of a few new political organizations to emerge from the revolution. He was also a prolific writer, who opined on Yemen’s political and social challenges with insight, humor, and optimism.
A recital of his resumé does not do Ibrahim justice, though. He was 24 years old, and as someone of that age should, he defined himself by what he hoped and planned to do, rather than what he had already done. Ibrahim was devoted to his country, and he saw in Yemen as much potential as we all saw in him. Though a harsh and realistic critic of Yemen’s flaws, Ibrahim believed in the idea of a New Yemen, which he and so many other revolutionaries struggled for. His hopefulness for his country was pragmatic; he understood better than most what it would take to build the Yemen he imagined.
For everyone who knew him, it is hard to imagine the New Yemen without Ibrahim. But just as surely as he will be missed, his work and his example will continue to inspire his colleagues, friends, and compatriots through the difficult years to come.