Twenty-four-year-old Yemeni social activist, Ibrahim Mothana, died mysteriously on Thursday, according to Yemini blogger.
He was a co-founder of the nation’s Al-Watan Party, which was formed with young professionals who sought to limit the role of the state in society. He was also and the youngest member of the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF), a non governmental organization (NGO) whose objective is to “promote pride in the Arab nation’s core values and identity through appropriate cultural programs and activities.”
Mothana was prominent for his frequent writings and debates on the United States’ drone policy. Given al-Qaeda’s presence in Yemen, the country has been a key target for US drones – killing at least 40 people since late July, according to Reuters.
Last year, he wrote a very powerful Op-ed in The New York Times explaining how the drone program in Yemen was actually aiding terrorism by providing al-Qaeda with a recruiting tool. Mothana pointed out how drone strikes were promoting anti-Americanism in his country due to the high number of civilian deaths. He wrote:
“Anti-Americanism is far less prevalent in Yemen than in Pakistan. But rather than winning the hearts and minds of Yemeni civilians, America is alienating them by killing their relatives and friends. Indeed, the drone program is leading to the Talibanization of vast tribal areas and the radicalization of people who could otherwise be America’s allies in the fight against terrorism in Yemen.”
Independentjournalist Jeremy Scahill andThe Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald tweeted their condolences for the young activist:
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
Greenwald also published a written testimony by Mothana for Washington’s Senate sub-committee over the legality and wisdom of Obama’s drone policy:
“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.”
He further requested the United States consider the adverse effects of the drone attacks and put an end to the program.
Yemeni blogger and freelance writer Afrah Nasser wrote on her blog that Mothana was working on a lot of social projects besides managing his organization’s affairs. According to her, he was almost done with his first book (which may or may not get published in near future). He was also working in cooperation with Lund University in Sweden on a project focusing on Yemen's elections due next year.
She also posted her condolences on Twitter:
'What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal’ - @imothanaYemen— Afrah Nasser (@Afrahnasser) September 6, 2013
You can watch Ibrahim Mothana’s speech on different social and political issues concerning Yemen in the video below: