Yemen is complicated.

I should say, the politics of Yemen are complicated. Just when it seemed like progress was made (as always through the pushing and shoving of international actors, some of whom have Yemen’s instability in their own best interests), and a transitional period announced by UN Envoy Jamal Ben Omar, ex-President Hadi fled Sana’a to Aden, apparently in women’s clothes (a la’ Imam Badr in 1962) to Aden, where has declared himself the ex-ex-President, taking over duties once again and declaring all political contracts made after September null and void.

I can’t say anyone could accurately predict what is going to happen next, myself least of all. What I can tell you, is that life is the opposite of politics here in Sana’a. Simply, it goes on as normal. The past week has had few demonstrations, fewer checkpoints, and I’ve gone about my days as normal – buying groceries, working in coffee shops, getting naqsh (yemeni henna) done for a friend’s wedding, waving to the Coat Man, with a dozen or so sport jackets piled on his shoulders, and to the smiling Watch Man in Tahrir, hunkered down over his table of dials and hands. akp_blog_wktwo_02  What is more worrisome to most, rather than conflict, is economic collapse. Should the Rial suddenly lose all it’s value, oil and gas drop out, and all international investment disappear, that would be a real disaster. However, as Laura Kasinof mentioned in her recent Zocalo piece, “Yet I am confident of this: if the Yemeni government…continues to mirror a scenario from an apocalyptic future, Yemen will not be a land where ever man is for himself. There is a social contract in Yemen more ancient than the one that exists in the United States, and the ties that bind people to one another can step in when the government fails.”akp_blog_wktwo_07 (Installing a battery for the house. If there is extensive power outages and fuel shortage – as expected, should conflict come to the deserts of Mareb – a generator won’t be much help. Huge batteries have been popping up for sale everywhere in Sana’a. Hooked up to the grid of the house, it will run four laptops, four lights, the internet, Tv, and a few other appliances for at least 10 hours before it needs recharging. Sustainable energy!)


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