Tawakkul Karman, the first Arab woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, has achieved an important honor for all Arabs. This activist has worked tirelessly for years standing up for justice, freedom, human rights, and a better life for all Yemeni people. Karman has bravely faced the dictatorial regime (of Ali Abdullah Saleh), his police, armed forces and media, all to uncover the corruption in Saleh's political life.
She was arrested several times but that didn't weaken her will to continue the fight. She didn't do it abroad in five star hotels. She was living among her people, sharing with them the toughest life details, talking to them from the heart, so they believed in her.
While most of the opposition agreed that the president should step down and guaranteed protection from subsequent legal and financial investigations, she stood fast with the support of millions in the streets, demanding that he step down and be tried with corruption charges and charges of killing thousands of innocent Yemeni people.
She deserved the Nobel Prize for peace because she was unarmed facing the dictator's army, her only weapon was her faith in the power of the Yemeni people that they are capable of making the change. She is the first Arab women to win Nobel prize, the second Muslim woman, and the youngest ever to win the Nobel prize.
She was called the “Iron Woman" and "the Mother of Yemeni Revolution.” We could also give her a new name, such as "the Queen of Peace" or "Lioness of Peace."
In the Western media, Arab women have had a negative face; they are on the sidelines, passive, and do not have an impact in the society or in social and political life. But this is not a true picture of Muslim and Arab women. Thankfully, Tawakkul Karman jumped in at a critical time in history to change such an infamous profile. She stands out not as beside the men in the revolution, but rather as a prominent leader.
Arab winners of Noble prize are only few: Najeeb Mahfooz is a winner in literature which he deserved, was one. Two others won the Nobel prize; Anwar Al Sadat along with Menachem Begin, and Yasser Arafat along with Yitzhak Rabin; people had reservations about Sadat and Arafat because of the compromises they offered for peace, and their Israeli counterparts who had a bloody history blotted with terrorism.
Tawakkul Karman is different. She is for peace in her country without any compromises, as a journalist and human right activist she demands justice for her community and that Ali Abdullah Saleh receive what would be a historic trial.
Tawakkul is a moderate Muslim, she put off Niqab (a cultural not religious symbol in her mind) and wears hijab; she demands Democratic civil institutions for Yemen. She keeps reminding us of the peaceful nature of the Yemeni revolution despite the continued killing of innocent Yemenis by their regime.
When you look this woman in the eyes, you see optimism, faith that the change is coming despite the current odds to the contrary. She is determined to continue the path, endangering her life, to see a Democratic new Yemen .
Tawakkul is a magnificent prominent humble woman, but she is not a rarity in the Middle East, there are thousands of women who are fighting for freedom in Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Egypt,Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, and all over the world.
Mrs. Karman is the symbol of freedom and bravery. The Nobel Prize for Peace is a crown on her head and the heads of all Arab and Muslim women. We are proud of her and her determination, and we are sure, as she is, that she (and the Yemeni people) will win their battle against the dictator.
We salute the " Lioness of Peace" and thank her for visiting Dearborn.
The Arab Spring bloomed in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and it is on its way to blooming in Yemen and Syria. It is not going to stop there. It will spread to create a new Middle East, the one that we have been dreaming about forever.