By Rame Sharaf
‘Ugh! I shuddered… Not so excited for another day of school, I sighed silently as the school bus came to a halt at the third checkpoint that morning. The young soldier who looked about 16 years old, stuck his head through the front window making sure that we were not any threat to the east part of Sana’a. “Salam,” he murmured to the driver, while I was pulling my biology book from the bottom of my school bag. He froze for a minute, realizing it was a textbook and not an AK-47 or Magnum. He let us pass and, as we drove away, we gave each other relived looks. I giggled nervously, thankful that I did not get us all killed. Next time I should be more careful, most soldiers these days do not give you time to explain, they just react…
I walked into class, surprised to find a poster of the President on top of the white board. Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi, officially the new President of Yemen after that, according to what his people claim, 99.4 % of the Yemeni population voted for him, which I strongly doubt, but who am I to get up and disagree? I could not help but think how pathetic all this is. And for God’s sake this is a school not the Presidential Palace. I did not dare say that out loud, knowing that would give me a week’s detention. Instead I watch my class mates drawing French moustaches on the posters face, laughing slightly, but wondering if that would get us in serious trouble, considering half the school’s parents work with, now ridiculously looking, Abdu Rabbo hanging in front of me.
Mr. Mamoon walked in class, immediately noticing our creativity: his smile was replaced with a furious expression. He started screaming in his Egyptian accent, going on and on about how we should respect our new president, no matter how much we dislike him, how immature our actions are, and how instead of putting so much enthusiasm on such nonsense, we should put that enthusiasm into our studies.
We ended up having a very heated discussion about politics, which literally took half of our period. I was not really talking, afraid to attract everyone’s attention to what I think about all this, and instead I listened and took notes. Now, I know who is with who, and understood everyone’s approach. However, it all leaded me to one conclusion: we all are so confused, we have no idea what the argument is about anymore. It used to be about the former president Ali Saleh, and Al-Ahmar family along with their supporters, but now it is a mix of the old regime and the new one, Saleh and Al-Ahmar Family, the revolution youth movement, the Southern Movement and the North’s one, the Mareb’s, the Tehama’s and it goes on and on. The list of the opponents does not end…
I stared blankly at the clock ticking slowly in the front of the class just above the white board, asking myself why oh why I did not study biology yesterday night, instead of walking around the house aimlessly. I then turned my attention to my piece of paper and started to invent my own theories, species and words with the hope that they may be right. Looking at my paper, almost satisfied with my cursive writing filling it, I handed in my answer sheet to Mr. Mamoon.
Just as I walked back to my desk, I heard a big dull thud, although it was a bit distant. I knew right away that it could not be good, We all immediately raced to the office and turned on the old box looking TV: according to the Yemeni channel there had been a bombing in Saba’een Square. The principle then announced that the school would be closed for the rest of the day, which led some of the boys in the back to roar with happiness. I guessed that they did not have such a great time with that biology test either. Feeling numb, I picked up my backpack and headed out to the bus with my classmates, only worrying about the long way home. It had become a sort of reflex for the government to close all the main streets whenever something happens, and so the bus drove through the small neighborhood maze. As I sat next to the window with my scarf covering the upper half of my face, only faintly watching nervous people racing home, I wondered, What next?
Rame Sharaf is a Teaching Assistant at the American Elementary School in Sana’a. She has finished her high school studies and wishes to pursue her University studies in Fine Arts.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect La Voix du Yémen’s editorial policy.