Today marks the one-year anniversary of Saudi Arabia's entrance into Yemen's war. The war takes different shapes in different parts of the country, and all parties to the conflict have committed horrible acts of violence against Yemeni civilians. For residents of the capital, San‘a, the past year has been defined by daily airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. This post was sent to us by a special guest contributor, Fatima Noman. Fatima is 17 years old, and in her fourth year of high school. 365 days are no longer just a year
Tell me how did you spend the last 365 days? Did you end up getting that job offer? Did you get that scholarship you were working so hard to get? Did you graduate high school/university or perhaps you just got your PhD! Whatever you achieved I congratulate you! Well I'd like to speak of my 365 days. You know how we always chant the phrase day by day it all seems the same but looking back it's so different. I aged a life time within 365 days. I have experienced so much from fleeing my home to running down a set of 70 stairs in fear of a jet blowing up our third floor. Crying for nights and nights feeling death encircling me to laughing to the sound of explosions. Yes, I have lived some of the worst days of my life but I wouldn't change them for the world. Only now have I realized what an enormous amount of pride comes with being Yemeni.
I am now in my senior year and I have broke down into fits of tears more times than I can count in school due to the sudden air raids but my friends support me with a jolt of strength I've never experienced before. This year everything is so different. once I was crying in class from a mix of fear and stress then suddenly the whole class surrounded me with a group hug and I don't remember feeling so loved in my entire life. This coalition has done and is still doing damage that seems irreparable at time but one thing that no one but them has managed to do is unite this country into one.
I feel so complete. Now I know I am capable of facing anything life throws at me, I know I am strong enough. I will always have a constant reminder of my strength the blood of the martyrs who sacrificed everything for me to be able to live a life, a life worth living. It's truly quite peculiar how even though death has the key to my back door I sleep safe and sound. I still do get grounded and I still am clumsy you'd think death would make me a bit more graceful but nope! I still am the same girl who runs around tables and makes weird faces at my mom to make her laugh cause oh boy does her laugh make me feel five again.
365 days are enough to change people's perspectives, their ideologies. 365 days of undeniable strength, of determination. 365 days are no longer just a year.
You can read more of Fatima's reflections on life during wartime on her blog, here.