Dead at Only 24, Yemeni Anti-Drone and Pro-Democracy Activist Left Legacy of Peace and Justice
Ibrahim Mothana (1988-2013); 'As surely as he will be missed, his work and his example will continue to inspire his colleagues, friends, and compatriots'
Friends and colleagues of Yemen social justice campaigner and political activist Ibrahim Mothana have been expressing shock, sadness and loss over the early death of the 24-old-man who died in Sanaa on Thursday.
Known internationally as a voice for the peaceful pro-democracy uprising in Yemen that began in 2011 and as a tireless critic of the U.S. drone campaign that has terrorized his country in recent years, Mothana was both a co-founder of the Wantan Party in Yemen and an international spokesperson for what many term the "New Yemen" envisioned by many of its citizens, especially the youth.
The cause of his death was not being reported, nor were those expressing grief discussing the circumstances.
In announcing Mothana's passing, the Yemen Peace Project, released a statement, which read in part:
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.
From Western journalists like Jeremy Scahill and Iona Craig who spent time with him in Yemen to other leading Yemen activists like Farea Al-muslimi who worked closely with him, the loss of Mothana was being expressed in heartfelt posts on Twitter:
@imothanaYemen was th smartest person I have ever met in my life; incrediblly intelligent &caring.This is beyond what laguage can describe
— Farea Al-muslimi (@almuslimi) September 5, 2013
Horrified to hear of the sudden death of my friend Ibrahim Mothana, an amazing, tireless activist who never stopped fighting for Yemen
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) September 5, 2013
— Iona Craig إيونـا (@ionacraig) September 6, 2013
Recounting some of his anti-drone campaigning, the Huffington Post adds:
Last year, Mothana penned an op-ed in The New York Times, "How Drones Help Al Qaeda," arguing that "Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair."
This past May, Greenwald published Mothana's testimony for a Senate sub-committee when the activist was unable to attend the meeting.
Mothana wrote in the testimony: "We Yemenis got our first experience with targeted killings under the Obama administration on December 17, 2009, with a cruise missile strike in al-Majala, a hamlet in a remote area of southern Yemen. This attack killed 44 people including 21 women and 14 children, according to Yemeni and international rights groups including Amnesty International."
Mothana concluded, "I call on the United States to critically reflect on using targeted strikes and the existing counterterrorism policy in Yemen and to see that, it is insecurity and not security that these are creating in my country, the region, the US, and the entire world."