In Yemen, female activist strives for an Egypt-like revolution

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post.com
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SANAA, YEMEN – Tawakkol Karman sat in front of her laptop, her Facebook page open, planning the next youth demonstration. Nearby were framed photos of her idols: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. These days, though, Karman is most inspired by her peers. “Look at Egypt,” she said with pride. “We will win.”

In a nation where women are considered second-class citizens, Karman is determined to produce a nonviolent Egypt-style revolution. Young people in impoverished Yemen are grappling with many of the same frustrations felt across the region.

As the nation’s most vocal and well-known activist, the 32-year-old mother of three is helping to shatter perceptions of women in this conservative society, while emboldening a new generation of Yemenis to demand an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s three-decade-long grip on this country.

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