Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jersey girl defends journalist, irritates Yemeni government


I'm visiting my daughter in Chicago again. Off and on the weather's been hot and humid and she has no air conditioning in her studio apartment. At times I've felt like screaming because of that. I am 65 and appalled at my inability to "process" warm and humid environments; I've come to worship the evaporation as a cooling process and mourn situations (high humidity, etc) which short circuit its operation. Chicago is a place where summer heat waves kill old people living in apartments without air conditioning.

I'm not complaining, mind you, at least not seriously complaining. How could I with the flooding in the Midwest, the earthquake in China and the ongoing weather worsened situation in Burma, not to mention the horrors faced daily by the hungry and poor everywhere on the planet.

The "Damn. it's hot here in Chi-town bit" is my way of setting up a note about something fabulous about my current visit to the Windy City: my discovery of Chicago Public Radio. No time whatsoever for classical music programs which take up about one half of daily programming on Nashville's public radio station. Not that I dislike classical music, but...All week long, all day long this Chicago station airs one fascinating news/talk/feature show after another with stories from ever corner of the world.

The one that sent me to blogdom here just a few moments ago was about a New Jersey wife and mother who after 9/11 decided to reach out to the Arab/Muslim world through internet research and a blog. Her name is Jane Novak and somehow she learned about a Yemeni journalist, Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, arrested by his government for writing a news story about the discovery of mass graves in the northern part of Yemen. He was charged with sedition which carries the probable penalty of death.


The "Damn. it's hot here in Chi-town bit" is my way of setting up a note about something fabulous about my current visit to the Windy City: my discovery of Chicago Public Radio. No time whatsoever for classical music programs which take up about one half of daily programming on Nashville's public radio station. Not that I dislike classical music, but...All week long, all day long this Chicago station airs one fascinating news/talk/feature show after another with stories from ever corner of the world.

The one that sent me to blogdom here just a few moments ago was about a New Jersey wife and mother who after 9/11 decided to reach out to the Arab/Muslim world through internet research and a blog. Her name is Jane Novak and somehow she learned about a Yemeni journalist, Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, arrested by his government for writing a news story about the discovery of mass graves in the northern part of Yemen. He was charged with sedition which carries the probable penalty of death.

Jane began to write about al-Khaiwani's plight in her blog. http://janenovak.wordpress.com/ Then, she began to get e-mails from Yemenis thanking her for her stories, begging her not to stop writing her stories. She learned about the Yemeni government's military operations to suppress rebellion and dissent within Yemen. She waged a campaign for the journalist; the charges against him were changed to "damaging the morale of Yemeni soldiers performing their patriotic duty" with an expected penalty of six years in prison.

In the wake of Jane's internet campaign Yemen has curtailed internet access. The last time she heard from al-Khaiwani was before the charges against him were changed. Still under the shadow of his possible execution, he thanked her for letting the world know that he was a journalist and not a terrorist as his government had portrayed him.

You can participate in the campaign to gain his release from prison by contacting the Yemeni government. Her website, Armies of Liberation, has the details: http://armiesofliberation.com/