The Houthis Have Opened Pandora's Box: Suffering From Deep-rooted Weaknesses
23 October 2014
By Diana Moukalled
It was not just an isolated photograph or image, but a
slew of videos that showed several fighters entering
the homes—even bedrooms—of their enemies, which they
proudly pillaged and plundered in front of the camera,
on numerous occasions.
These fighters, restrained by no one, stood in the
middle of the bedrooms in the homes they had stormed,
taking photographs of themselves, and quickly
uploading them onto their personal social network
Some of these shocking pictures posted online showed
fighters belonging to the Houthi movement raiding the
homes of a number of Al-Islah Party figures, bearing
down with their weapons on whole families while
chewing leaves of the psychoactive stimulant plant Qat.
One of them even had time to take a photograph himself
wearing a dress he found, while others went through
private underwear cabinets belonging to the families,
who quickly fled the Yemeni capital Sana'a after its
takeover by the Houthis.
Even government and university buildings, media
outlets, and security service facilities were not
spared this destructive orgy of pillaging and theft.
Nor were the depots dotted around the city which were
used for vaccinating children against a multitude of
Sana'a is certainly not the first Arab capital or city
to be violated in this manner. But what made the
matter even worse was that while these citizens' homes
were being broken into and looted, with the
accompanying pictures brandished proudly all over the
Internet, numerous "opposition" media outlets
throughout the region ran headlines such as "A
revolution in Yemen" following the Houthis' seizure of
the capital. The pictures on the Internet, meanwhile,
showed us the true, uncivilized face of this
"revolution." They showed us how Yemenis cowered in
their homes, fearful and shocked to see the
destruction of their country before their very eyes.
They swapped laments on Facebook and Twitter about how
far, and how quickly, the situation had deteriorated,
interspersed with personal stories about what they had
endured the last few days—all while the "opposition"
media hailed the snowballing chaos which accompanied
the "revolution" in Sana'a.
The way the Houthi takeover has been presented in the
media as "completing the revolution" in Yemen is an
obvious message of support for what is happening. It
would be foolish to claim that things were much better
in Yemen before the Houthis rolled into town, but the
welcome extended by some to their takeover will cause
even more crises for Yemen, its people, and the region
as a whole.
There is no worse condemnation of the actions of this
group than the one that came out of the mouth of the
movement's very own leader, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi.
Attempting to defend what some members of his group
had done, he asked us what we expected from them; they
had not come from "Plato's Ideal City," after all.
Inhabitants of Plato's city they certainly were not,
but neither are most members of the political class in
Yemen. So if things were not much better before the
Houthis' takeover, it is clear Yemen has been
suffering from deep-rooted weaknesses in its security
services and economy, as well as from the collapse of
its political system.
The images we saw were examples of the disintegration
of Yemen and the civil war we could soon see, which
will endanger every one of its citizens. These images,
which showed us these aggressive scenes acted out by
homegrown invaders, will have painful consequences
from which it will take decades to recover. The pain
caused by the Houthis who attacked Sana'a, storming
the houses of their enemies along the way, will not be
exorcised except with an equal and opposite reaction.
This whirlpool of action, reaction and
counter-reaction is one we've been caught up in
before, one we know very well and have grown tired
of—though it seems we haven't learned anything from
its many previous outbreaks.
Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected
TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her
phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked
Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas
and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and
satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a
veteran war correspondent, having covered both the
wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the
Isreali "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern
Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained world wide
recognition and was named one of the most influential
women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine