In the face of the current attempt by the Saleh regime to take Yemen down the route of “Civil War”—or at least make it seem as such to the media and hence the world—it has attempted to arm disgruntled neighbors around the squares where protesters gather, and encouraged them to take on the task of protecting themselves against protesters. That coupled with the fact that neighbors around these squares do have grievances of their own, esp. in regard to easy and free access to and from their homes. Neighborhood Support Committee aims to prevent Saleh regime plans of inciting a Civil War in Yemen, quell the fears of the neighbors, address their grievances, and bring about unity between all Yemenis.
Following steps must be taken:
1) Form a committee of members (both men and women) with good social skills who are dedicated to the above objective.
2) Make sure committee members are trusted among the neighborhood—strangers to them will make the task more difficult.
3) Women in the committee will help facilitate and address concerns of wives and children in the neighborhood—as Yemenis we all know that Yemeni women inside homes are a strong and affecting factor.
4) Listen to the neighbors grievances and make a note of them—literally take notes in their presence.
5) Apologize for all the hardships that they claim to have faced—do not try and defend the protesters actions and get into confrontation with them. Apologize, their space, privacy, calm and stability out of necessity has indeed been invaded—there is no denying that.
6) Educate about the objectives for the current uprising of Yemenis all over Yemen and the world. Have proof—videos, newspaper clipping, etc local and international—to show them it has indeed gained support.
7) Educate about the future implications of a Yemen free of this regime, and that they and their future progeny will benefit from it.
8 ) Educate about plans to transform revolution to topple regime into full blown civil war.
9) Raise awareness that their safety is as important to the protesters as it is to them, and that they are related. Let them know that offering their rooftops to thugs with snipers, and to carry out operations against protesters affects them as much as it does protesters. They are vulnerable to the live ammunition and nerve gas that they are using in the area.
10) Grant them free and easy access in the neighborhood by recording their names and providing to all search points in the area. Friendliness and welcoming gestures to them at the checkpoints absolutely crucial.
11) Guarantee that they will not be searched, but also explain that searches are to guarantee their safety as much as that of the protesters. But form log of names of people in the neighborhood to keep promise and provide to search points.
12) Set up tents at a distance from houses for free and easy access from and to their homes.
13) Support local shops inside the square by encouraging protesters to buy from them, and families of protesters as well.
14) Make a list of their needs, and create a team to help them cover those needs.
15) Kindness to their children—provide sweets, toys etc.
16) Visit them to see if they are doing well, or if they need help.
17) Keep them updated of impending attacks on the area, and guidelines and tips of what they can do to help. Include them in the objectives of the revolution.
Developed by Dr. Lamya Al-Mas