Yemeni Youth Addresses Congress About Drones
"I don’t know if there is anyone on Earth who feels more thankful to America than me." Farea al-Muslimi, a YES Alum and youth activist, addressing the U.S. Congress earlier this week in a hearing on the use of drones following a strike on his rural Yemeni community last week. He shared his experiences in America and the impact it has allowed him to have on his community, stating, "I strongly believe that I have helped improve America's image, perhaps in ways that an official ambassador or other diplomats cannot. I have access to ordinary Yemenis. For me, helping the people of my country understand and know the America that I have experienced is a passion, not a career."
Muslimi's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, however, emphasized the negative impact drone attacks are having on his message to Yemen. He explained, "The friendships and values that I experienced and described to the villagers helped them understand the America that I know and that I love. Now, however, when they think of America, they think of the terror they feel from the drones that hover over their heads…"
Farea is evidence of how powerful and critical YES Alumni voices are around the world, and is an example of the kind of cultural ambassadors that emerge from the YES program. To read more of Farea al-Muslimi's testimony please view the articles published in The Atlantic and The New York Times, or watch the video clip to see other speakers at the hearing.