Apologies for the dearth of posts over the past few months.
My deportation from Yemen has been quite serendipitous–I headed to Sri Lanka for a press trip and then to Istanbul for a holiday. I always wanted to branch out from only focusing on the story in Yemen and I’ve had the chance to write about Syria and Lebanon over the past three months, which has stolen headlines from the Arabian Peninsula.
I’m now in balmy Beirut, helping Reuters out with their Syria coverage from the bureau here and drinking Gin & Tonics on rooftop bars. The smuggled Djiboutian whiskey of Yemen is now a hazy distant memory…
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After a year and a half of reporting from Yemen, I was deported suddenly on March 14th. Although I was accredited by the Ministry of Information (and regularly invited to official press events), the Yemeni government decided to expel me, citing the fact that my Arabic language institute sponsored my residency visa and I was not allowed to work as a journalist.
But why now?
I was deported with two other journalists—Haley Sweetland Edwards (LATimes) and Portia Walker (Washington Post), as well as author and climbing enthusiast Joshua Maricich. We had been covering the violent crackdown on protesters in the preceding days—coverage that we later found out was the real reason for our expulsion.
You can read a TIME dispatch I wrote about reporting in Yemen and my expulsion here:
Prelude to a Deportation: Covering Yemen’s Uprising
Today, at least 40 protesters were shot and killed in Sana’a. During our deportation, I remember wondering what the government was preparing for if they were kicking out half the foreign correspondent community here. With only a handful of reporters in Sana’a, I’m worried events like today will not get the attention they deserve.
I’m applying for a visa back to Yemen, but I’m not hopeful. Other journalists are being deported on arrival and journalist visas are being held up for months.
In the meantime, I’m going to delete the title of this blog. I’m heading to Sri Lanka for a week and when I get back, I’ll decide which story I want to cover next.
These are the numbers we are seeing now:
The Wall Street Journal – Rival Protestors Duel in Yemen
TIME – Yemen’s Big Protests: Saleh’s Opponents Get Critical Mass
Also, here’s a video package I did for the Wall Street Journal. Video work is hard and time consuming, but great fun.
The Baltegeya are thugs. They are surrounding the anti-government protestors and occasionally fire AK-47s at them.
Who are they? Read about them in this TIME article.
Also, here is some video I took the other night.
Caught the redeye back to Sana’a and went straight to the protests. Burning cars and lots of chanting but no violence.
But late last night two men were shot dead when pro-government supporters opened fire on the protestors. I rushed over and arrived as the ambulances got there.
Article out in Wall Street Journal today. More to come, I’m sure.
Picture below for illiterates.