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Tawakkol Karman

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Title: Tawakkol Karman  
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Subject: Nobel Peace Prize, 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests, 14th Dalai Lama, Human rights in Yemen, Arabs
Collection: 1979 Births, Arab Nobel Laureates, Articles Containing Video Clips, Citizens of Turkey Through Descent, Human Rights in Yemen, Living People, Muslim Brotherhood Women, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, People from Taiz, People of the Yemeni Revolution, Sana'A University Alumni, University of Alberta Alumni, University of Science and Technology, Sana'A Alumni, Women Nobel Laureates, Yemeni Activists, Yemeni Muslims, Yemeni Nobel Laureates, Yemeni People of Turkish Descent, Yemeni Politicians, Yemeni Women in Politics, Yemeni Women Journalists, Yemeni Women's Rights Activists
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Tawakkol Karman

Tawakkol Karman
Tawakel Karman
Native name توكل كرمان
Born (1979-02-07) 7 February 1979
Ta'izz, Ta'izz Governorate, Yemen Arab Republic
Nationality Yemeni
Citizenship Yemeni/Turkish[1][2]
Alma mater Sanaa University
University of Science and Technology
Occupation Journalist, politician. human rights activist
Political party
Movement Jasmine Revolution
Religion Sunni Islam
Spouse(s) Mohammed al-Nahmi
Children Three
Parents Abdel Salam Karman
Relatives Tariq Karman (brother)
Safa Karman (sister)
Awards Nobel Peace Prize (2011)
Karman in Stockholm 2014.

Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (Arabic: توكل عبد السلام خالد كرمانTawakkul ‘Abd us-Salām Karmān; also Romanized Tawakul,[3] Tawakel[4][5][6]) (born 7 February 1979[6]) is a Yemeni journalist, politician and senior member of the of Al-Islah political party (the Islamist and Yemeni offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood), and human rights activist. She leads the group "Women Journalists Without Chains," which she co-founded in 2005.[3] She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. She has been called the "Iron Woman" and "Mother of the Revolution" by Yemenis.[7][8] She is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize,[9] becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman,[10] and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the second youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.[11]

Karman gained prominence in her country after 2005 in her roles as a Yemeni journalist and an advocate for a mobile phone news service denied a license in 2007, after which she led protests for

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Liu Xiaobo
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
with Leymah Gbowee and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Succeeded by
European Union
  • Official Website
  • Renowned activist and press freedom advocate Tawakul Karman at the Wayback Machine (archived April 5, 2011), interviewed by Nadia Al-Sakkaf, Yemen Times, 17 June 2010
  • Tawakkol Karman interview with Al Jazeera on YouTube
  • Press Conference of 2011 Nobel Laureate, Tawakkul Karman on YouTube Women's eNews.
  • Official Nobel Prize page
  • Karman receives an Honorary Doctorate in International Law from the University of Alberta, Cananda on YouTube

External links

  1. ^ a b "Turkish fm receives winner of Nobel peace prize". Anadolu Agency. 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  2. ^ "Barış Nobeli sahibi Yemenli, TC vatandaşı oldu". Posta. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Al-Sakkaf, Nadia (17 June 2010). """Renowned activist and press freedom advocate Tawakul Karman to the Yemen Times: "A day will come when all human rights violators pay for what they did to Yemen. Women Journalists Without Chains. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  4. ^ Evening Times (Glasgow). Arrest Sparks Protest. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011 from the Lexis-Nexis Database.
  5. ^ Emad Mekay. Arab Women Lead the Charge. Inter Press Service (Johannesburg), 11 February 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011 from the Lexis-Nexis Database.
  6. ^ a b c "Yemen laureate figure of hope and controversy". Oman Observer. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Macdonald, Alastair (7 October 2011). "Nobel honours African, Arab women for peace". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Al-Haj, Ahmed; Sarah El-Deeb (7 October 2011). "'"Nobel peace winner Tawakkul Karman dubbed 'the mother of Yemen's revolution. Sun Sentinel. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to three women". BBC Online. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Profile: Nobel peace laureate Tawakul Karman". BBC Online. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Yemeni Activist Tawakkul Karman, First Female Arab Nobel Peace Laureate: A Nod for Arab Spring". Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d e """Renowned activist and press freedom advocate Tawakul Karman to the Yemen Times:"A day will come when all human rights violators pay for what they did to Yemen.. Yemen Times. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c "New protests erupt in Yemen". Al Jazeera English. 29 January 2011. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c "Tawakkol Karman, figure emblématique du soulèvement au Yémen – L'événement : LaDépê". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c d Filkins, Dexter (1 August 2011). "Yemen’s Protests and the Hope for Reform". The New Yorker. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkul Karman – A Profile". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c Finn, T. (25 March 2011). "Tawakul Karman, Yemeni activist, and thorn in the side of Saleh". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Karman, Tawakkol (18 June 2011). "Yemen’s Unfinished Revolution". New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  19. ^ Shephard, Michelle (2012-11-25). "Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman tours Canada". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  20. ^ Townsend, Sean (2012-10-19). "Honorary degrees recognize inspirational leaders" (public relations). University of Alberta. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  21. ^ a b Blomfield, Adrian (7 October 2011). "Nobel peace prize: profile of Tawakul Karman". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c
  23. ^ "Turkey hopes to grant citizenship to Karman". Hurriyet Daily News. 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  24. ^ "Turkish ID more important than Nobel, Karman says". Hurriyet Daily News. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  25. ^ a b "Female Journalists without Borders". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  26. ^ a b Jane (7 October 2011). "Yemeni Activist wins Nobel Prize". The Jawa Report. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Blacklist names worst violators of press freedom". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  28. ^ "Three women share Nobel Peace Prize – Europe". Al Jazeera English. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "IFJ Global – IFJ Welcomes Nobel Peace Prize Award to Yemeni Journalist". 7 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  30. ^ "Yemen Islamists ready to share power". Oman Tribune. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  31. ^ Solomon, Erika (7 October 2011). "Yemen Nobel laureate a figure of hope, controversy". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  32. ^ Nasir Arrabayee. "Can Yemen Crisis Be Internationalized More?" Yemen Observer, 8 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011 from BBC Worldwide Monitoring in the Lexis-Nexis Database.
  33. ^ Nasir Arrabayee. "Can Yemen Crisis Be Internationalized More?" Nasir Arrabayee (Blog), 6 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011
  34. ^ Karman, T. (19 February 2006). "Burning Embassys is Not the Way". Yemen Times. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  35. ^ Tom Finn in Sana'a (26 March 2011). "Tawakul Karman, Yemeni activist, and thorn in the side of Saleh | World news". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  36. ^ "Yemen releases jailed activists in the face of Tunisia-inspired protesters". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Tawakul Karman gets 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, leads Yemeni women’s Arab spring". 7 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  39. ^ "Yemen: End Child Marriage". Human Rights Watch. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  40. ^ Tom Finn. "Peace prize: Women who fought and won unequal struggles. The Guardian, 8 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011 from the Lexis-Nexis Database.
  41. ^ a b Yemen Post Staff (13 August 2013). "Tawakkol Karman objects to US drone policy in Yemen". Yemen Post. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  42. ^ Karman, T. (10 August 2013). "Dear U.S. administration...". Twitter. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  43. ^ Lerner, Charlene (15 November 2011). "Nobel Prize winner highlights women’s role in Arab Spring". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  44. ^ Tawakkol, Karman (9 April 2011). "Our revolution's doing what Saleh can't – uniting Yemen". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  45. ^ Finn, Tom (23 January 2011). "Yemen arrests anti-government activist". The Guardian (London). 
  46. ^ Baker, Aryn; Erik Stier (16 February 2012). "The Woman at the Head of Yemen's Protest Movement". Time Magazine. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  47. ^ "Exclusive: Nobel Laureate Tawakkul Karman on the Struggle for Women’s Rights, Democracy in Yemen". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  48. ^ Kalpana Sharma (29 October 2011). "Columns / Kalpana Sharma : The Other Half: Women and the Arab Spring". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  49. ^ "Women march in Yemen's capital". CNN. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  50. ^ "Video: Yemeni women burn their veils in anti-government protest after more deaths in Sanaa". London: Telegraph. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  51. ^ "Yemeni Women Burn Veils To Protest Government Crackdown". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  52. ^ a b United States Department of State. 23 October 2011. "Remarks With Yemeni Nobel Prize Winner Tawakkul Karman After Their Meeting." Retrieved 6 November 2011 US State Dept.
  53. ^ "AFP: UN Council calls on Saleh to hand over power". Google. 21 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  54. ^ "Secy Clinton Praises Yemeni Nobel Winner Calls for Revolution to Bring Democracy". Washington Post. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  55. ^ "Yemeni Activist Tawakkul Karman Takes on the White House- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online". Yemen Post. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  56. ^ Finn, Tom (23 November 2011). "Yemen president quits after deal in Saudi Arabia". The Guardian (U.K.). Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  57. ^ "Yemeni Activist Tawakkul Karman, First Female Arab Nobel Peace Laureate: A Nod for Arab Spring". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  58. ^ "Nobel Laureates – FAQ". Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  59. ^ a b c "The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 – Press Release" (Press release). 7 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  60. ^ a b "Profile: Nobel peace laureate Tawakul Karman". BBC Online. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  61. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted 31 October 2000. Retrieved 10 October 2011
  62. ^ a b c Cowell, Alan; Kasinof, Laura; Nossiter, Adam (7 October 2011). "Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Three Activist Women". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  63. ^ "The Nobel Prize Amounts". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  64. ^ "Yemeni activist wins Nobel Peace Prize – Middle East". Al Jazeera English. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  65. ^ "PressTV – We will press on: Yemeni Nobel laureate". Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  66. ^ Fatma Naib (4 October 2011). "Karman: Peaceful revolution 'only solution' – Features". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  67. ^ "Tawakkol Karman – Nobel Lecture: In the name of God the Compassionate the Merciful". 10 December 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  68. ^ "الموقع الرسمي لجريدة الشرق القطرية". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  69. ^
  70. ^ "PressTV – HR defenders main targets of violent attacks". 25 October 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  71. ^ "Launch of the 2011 Annual Report of the Observatory at the United Nations Headquarters in New York – FIDH – Worldwide Human Rights Movement". FIDH. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  72. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. December 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  73. ^ Karman, T. (8 August 2013). "Egypt's coup has crushed all the freedoms won in the revolution". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  74. ^ Karman, T. (9 August 2013). "Morsy Is the Arab World's Mandela". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  75. ^ Ashraf, F. (4 August 2013). "Tawakkol Karman banned from entering Egypt". Daily News Egypt. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  76. ^ "Anti-Coup Alliance, Muslim Brotherhood: Denying Karman Egypt Entry is Police State Practice". Ikhwanweb. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  77. ^ Yemen Post Staff (20 August 2013). "Tawakkol Karman denounces arrest of Mohammed Badie in Egypt". Yemen Post. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  78. ^
  79. ^ "The Scream: Yemeni women make their voices heard". France24. 2012-12-17. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  80. ^ Tusing, David (2012-12-12). "Yemeni filmmaker Khadija Al Salami’s background is as compelling as her film". Gulf News. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 


See also

  • "Morsy Is the Arab World's Mandela." Foreign Policy, 9 August 2013.
  • "Egypt's coup has crushed all the freedoms won in the revolution." The Guardian, 8 August 2013.
  • "In the absence of a free press, there is no democracy." World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), 3 May 2012.
  • "Tawakkol Karman – Nobel Lecture." 10 December 2011. (Includes links to the English, Norwegian, and Arabic versions.)
  • "The world must not forsake Yemen's struggle for freedom." The Guardian, 1 November 2011. (Includes a link to the Arabic version.)
  • "Yemen’s unfinished revolution." New York Times, 18 June 2011.
  • "Our revolution's doing what Saleh can't – uniting Yemen." The Guardian, 9 April 2011.
  • "Burning Embassys is Not the Way." Yemen Times, 19 February 2006.


Yemen filmmaker Khadija al-Salami documented the role that women played in the Yemen uprising in her film The Scream (2012), in which Tawakkol Karman is interviewed. Al-Salami presents three individual portraits - a journalist, an activist, and a poet - in the documentary. The title refers to women who are vocal about their position relative to men in reaction to a traditional patriarchal society. The The Scream had its debut screening at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2012.[79][80]

In popular culture

She has given scholarships to promising students from Yemen to study at Istanbul Aydın University at undergraduate and postgraduate level, in conjunction with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.[78]

As a response to the 2012–13 Egyptian protests and the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, Karman was supportive of protests demanding Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi's resignation on June 30, but was critical of the military's decision to oust Morsi, suspend the Constitution of Egypt and bar the Muslim Brotherhood from participating in Egyptian politics, citing that Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected leader, the constitution was supported by 60% of people who voted in a public referendum and that the coup may cause people to lose faith in democracy, allowing extremist groups to thrive.[73][74] She attempted to enter Egypt to join protests against the coup but was banned from doing so by the Egyptian military for "security reasons" and deported back to Sana'a,[75] a decision that was criticized by the Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance as being reminiscent of a police state.[76] She later denounced the military's arrests of high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood officials and the military's use of violence on protesters at sites occupied primarily by Morsi's supporters.[77]

She was selected as the first place of the Foreign Policy top 100 global thinkers of 2011.[72]

She also made a video message in Washington, D.C. on 25 October on the occasion of the release of the 14th annual report of the Arab Spring, Yemen, and Karman.[22][70][71]

After the announcement, Karman traveled to Qatar where she met with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and also requested the Doha Centre for Media Freedom's assistance to set up a television and radio station, which would be named Bilqis, in honour of the Queen of Sheba, in order to support female journalists and to broadly educate Yemeni journalists.[68] She is on the International Advisory Board of the MBI Al Jaber Media Institute in Yemen which offers free training in all aspects of journalism.[69]

Post-Nobel Prize

In reaction to the award Karman, while camped out in Sana'a during ongoing anti-government protests, said: "I didn’t expect it. It came as a total surprise. This is a victory for Arabs around the world and a victory for Arab women" and that the award was a "victory of our peaceful revolution. I am so happy, and I give this award to all of the youth and all of the women across the Arab world, in Egypt, in Tunisia. We cannot build our country or any country in the world without peace,"[62] adding that it was also for "Libya, Syria and Yemen and all the youth and women, this is a victory for our demand for citizenship and human rights," that "all Yemenis [are] happy over the prize. The fight for democratic Yemen will continue,"[64] that she "dedicate[s] it to all the martyrs and wounded of the Arab Spring… in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria and to all the free people who are fighting for their rights and freedoms"[60] and "I dedicate it to all Yemenis who preferred to make their revolution peaceful by facing the snipers with flowers. It is for the Yemeni women, for the peaceful protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, and all the Arab world."[65] She also said she had not known about the nomination and had found out about the award via television.[66]

Upon announcing the award, the committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said: "We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society." He later added that the prize was "a very important signal to women all over the world"[62] and that, despite the events of the Arab Spring, "there are many other positive developments in the world that we have looked at. I think it is a little strange that researchers and others have not seen them." He had earlier said the prize for the year would be "very powerful... but at the same time very unifying [and would] not create as strong reactions from a single country as it did last year [with Liu Xiaobo]." The 2011 prize is to be divided equally among the three recipients,[59] from a total of 10 million Swedish kronor.[62][63]

Karman, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, were the co-recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work."[59] Of Karman, the Nobel Committee said: "In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the 'Arab spring', Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen."[59][60] The Nobel Committee cited the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, which states that women and children suffer great harm from war and political instability and that women must have a larger influence and role in peacemaking activities; it also "[c]alls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective."[61]

Karman became the first Arab woman, the youngest person at that time to have become a Nobel Peace Laureate and the category's second Muslim woman.[57] At 32, Tawakkol Karman was then the youngest winner of a Nobel Peace Prize. She is younger (born 7 February 1979) than Mairead Maguire (born 27 January 1944), who was a co-recipient of the award in 1976 and previously held that record.[58] In 2014, Malala Yousafzai, age 17, displaced Karman as the youngest winner ever. In 2003, Shirin Ebadi was the first Persian woman and first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Karman was the third female journalist awarded the Nobel after Bertha von Suttner in 1905 and Emily Greene Balch in 1946. Before the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was announced, only 12 other women had ever been recipients in its 110 years, and after the presentation there were 15 women.

From left to right: Tawakkul Karman, Leymah Gbowee, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf display their awards during the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 2011 (Photo: Harry Wad).

2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council's plan 23 November 2011 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saleh would transfer his powers to Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi to start a political transition, according to the terms of the agreement.[56]

Karman also met the United States' Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on 28 October to discuss the same United Nations Resolution, to which Clinton said "the United States supports a democratic transition in Yemen and the rights of the people of Yemen – men and women – to choose their own leaders and futures."[52][54] Karman responded to the comment through the Yemini press by saying, "in Yemen, it has been nine months that people have been camped in the squares. Until now we didn't see that Obama came to value the sacrifice of the Yemeni people. Instead the American administration is giving guarantees to Saleh."[55]

She lobbied the United Nations Security Council and the United States not to make deal that would pardon Saleh, but instead hold him accountable, freeze his assets and support the protesters. The United Nations Security Council voted 15–0 on 21 October on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2014 that "strongly condemns" Saleh's government for the use of deadly force against protesters, but it also backed the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) initiative that would give Saleh immunity from prosecution should he resign. Karman, who was present for the vote, criticised the Council's support for the GCC's proposal and instead advocated that Saleh stand trial at the International Criminal Court.[53]

After the Nobel Peace Prize announcement, Tawakkol Karman became increasingly involved in mobilizing world opinion and United Nations Security Council members to assist the protesters in ousting Saleh and bringing him before the international court.

Involvement of international government organizations

During the protests, Karman was part of a large number of women activists—up to 30 percent of the protestors—demanding change in Yemen.[48] On 16 October, government snipers in Taiz shot and killed Aziza Othman Kaleb, CNN reported she was the first woman to have been killed during the Yemen protests but could not verify this claim.[49] Ten days later, women in Sana'a protested against the violent force used against them by burning their makrama.[50][51] At the time, Karman was in Washington, D.C., where she said the female protesters who burned their makrama were "reject(ing) the injustice that the Saleh regime has imposed on them. And this is a new stage for the Yemeni women, because they will not hide behind veils or behind walls or anything else."[52]

On 18 June she wrote an article entitled "Yemen's Unfinished Revolution" in the New York Times in which she assailed the United States and Saudi Arabia for their support for the "corrupt" Saleh regime in Yemen because they "used their influence to ensure that members of the old regime remain in power and the status quo is maintained." She argued that American intervention in Yemen was motivated by the war on terror and was not responsive to either the human rights abuses in Yemen or the calls from Yemen’s democracy movement. She affirmed that the protesters in Yemen also wanted stability in the country and region.[18] In an interview on Democracy Now!, Karman said, "In our weekly protests in front of the cabinet, we called on the government to allow people to have freedom of speech and for people to be able to own online newspapers. We knew and know that freedom of speech is the door to democracy and justice, and also that part of the freedom of speech is the freedom of movement... The culture of freedom and protests spread all over Yemen. Every time we stood up for our rights the government answered with violence or interfered in our rights...." She credited Tunisia for inspiring others around the Middle East for the Arab Spring protests.[47]

Karman has had some tense disagreements with other organisers, especially after she urged protesters to march to the Presidential Palace in May as a response to the killing of 13 protesters by security forces.[6]

Karman explained the reasons why the Yemeni protests attracted Yemenis: "The combination of a dictatorship, corruption, poverty and unemployment has created this revolution. It's like a volcano. Injustice and corruption are exploding while opportunities for a good life are coming to an end."[46]

She then led another protest on 29 January where she called for a "Day of Rage" on 3 February[13] similar to events of the 2011 Egyptian revolution that were in turn inspired by the 2010–2011 Tunisian revolution. On 17 March, she was re-arrested amidst ongoing protests.[45] Speaking of the uprising she had said that: "We will continue until the fall of Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime...We have the Southern Movement in the south, the (Shia) Huthi rebels in the north, and parliamentary opposition...But what's most important now is the jasmine revolution."[13] She has set at the protest camp for months along with her husband.[8]

After a week of protests I was detained by the security forces in the middle of the night. This was to become a defining moment in the Yemeni revolution: media outlets reported my detention and demonstrations erupted in most provinces of the country; they were organised by students, civil society activists and politicians. The pressure on the government was intense, and I was released after 36 hours in a women's prison, where I was kept in chains.

During the Sana'a in protest against the long-standing rule of Saleh's government. On 22 January, she was stopped while driving with her husband by three plain-clothed men without police identification and taken to prison,[15][22] where she was held for 36 hours until she was released on parole on 24 January. In a 9 April editorial that appeared in The Guardian, she wrote:[44]

Protest on the "Day of Rage" that Karman had called for in Sana'a, Yemen, from 3 February 2011.

2011 protests

Speaking before an audience at the University of Michigan, Karman summed up her belief: "I am a citizen of the world. The Earth is my country, and humanity is my nation."[43]

Likewise, she says she remains independent from foreign influences: "I do have close strategic ties with American organizations involved in protecting human rights, with American ambassadors and with officials in the U.S. State Department. (I also have ties with activists in) most of the E.U. and Arab countries. But they are ties among equals; (I am not) their subordinate."[16] She has frequently objected to U.S. drone policy in Yemen, calling the use of them "unacceptable" and has argued that using them in populated areas violates human rights and international laws.[41] Following an increase in the number of drone strikes in August 2013, she called for an immediate halt of all strikes, proclaiming that the bombings undermine Yemen's sovereignty and contribute to increases in Al-Qaeda recruits in the country.[41][42]

She has also led protests against government corruption. Her stand on the ouster of Saleh became stronger after village lands of families around the city of Ibb were appropriated by a corrupt local leader.[17][21]

Our party needs the youth but the youth also need the parties to help them organise. Neither will succeed in overthrowing this regime without the other. We don't want the international community to label our revolution an Islamic one.

When asked about her Hijab By Journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied, “Man in The early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient times.[37] She has alleged that many Yemeni girls suffer from malnutrition so that boys could be fed and also called attention to high illiteracy rates, which includes two-thirds of Yemeni women.[38] She took a different stand on marriage laws than other members of the Al-Islah party, advocating for laws that would prevent females younger than 17 from being married. In a statement made to Human Rights Watch, a human rights research and advocacy group, she stated that Yemen's revolution "didn't happen just to solve political problems, but also to address societal problems, the most important being child marriage."[39] Despite most members of her party holding a different view on child marriage than her, she claims her party is the most open to women. In clarifying her position, she said:[40]

Women should stop being or feeling that they are part of the problem and become part of the solution. We have been marginalized for a long time, and now is the time for women to stand up and become active without needing to ask for permission or acceptance. This is the only way we will give back to our society and allow for Yemen to reach the great potentials it has.

She stopped wearing the traditional niqab in favour of more colourful hijabs that showed her face. She first appeared without the niqab at a conference in 2004.[12] Karman replaced the niqab for the scarf in public on national television to make her point that the full covering is cultural and not dictated by Islam.[35][36] She told the Yemen Times in 2010 that:[12]

Karman started protests as an advocate for press freedoms in her country. At a time when she was advocating for more press freedom, she responded to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy in 2005 by writing: "We are not to call for tyranny and bans on freedom."[26][34]

Tawakkol Karman is a member of the opposition party Al-Islah and holds a position on its Shura Council, which is a party position and not a parliamentary seat.[14] Al-Islah is an umbrella party, which has expanded beyond it roots as an Islamic political party after it began to oppose President Saleh around 2005, but its core constituents are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.[30] Karman has not aligned herself with either group and is a moderate in comparison.[31] Her membership in Al-Islah is controversial because of Abdul Majeed al-Zindani's membership in the same party. Zindani was the head of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood and is currently the head of the Salafi wing of the party, which has taken more conservative stances on women and marriage. He is also listed on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control's Specially Designated Nationals List, a list which the U.S. has used to prevent money from being transferred from charities or businesses to terrorist groups. Zindani has long been associated with Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. Hellfire missile fired in a drone attack 30 September 2011. The United States linked Awlaki to terrorist attacks and Al-Qaeda. Yemeni journalist Nasir Arrabayee reported that the last three locations where sources said Awlaki had visited were either the home of a relative or the homes of Al-Islah members, including the home of Zindani.[32][33] Karman, who claims independence from the party line, said, "I do not represent the Al-Islah party, and I am not tied to its positions. My position is determined by my beliefs, and I do not ask anyone's permission."[16]

Tawakkol Karman protests outside the UN building, 18 October 2011.

Political positions

Tawakkol Karman was affiliated with the Al-Thawrah newspaper at the time she founded WJWC in March 2005.[25] She is also a member of the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate.[29]

Tawakkol Karman co-founded the human rights group Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) with seven other female journalists in 2005 in order to promote human rights, "particularly freedom of opinion and expression, and democratic rights."[25] Although it was founded as "Female Reporters Without Borders," the present name was adopted in order to get a government license.[26] Karman has said she has received "threats and temptations" and was the target of harassment from the Yemeni authorities by telephone and letter because of her refusal to accept the Ministry of Information rejection of WJWC's application to legally create a newspaper and a radio station. The group advocated freedom for SMS news services, which had been tightly controlled by the government despite not falling under the purview of the Press Law of 1990. After a governmental review of the text services, the only service that was not granted a license to continue was Bilakoyood, which belonged to WJWC and had operated for a year.[15][27] In 2007, WJWC released a report that documented Yemeni abuses of press freedom since 2005.[27] In 2009, she criticised the Ministry of Information for establishing trials that targeted journalists.[12] From 2007 to 2010, Karman regularly led demonstrations and sit-ins in Tahrir Square, Sana'a.[3][28]

Women Journalists Without Chains

Karman claims that her family originated from Anatolia and in a place known as Karaman, which is located in modern Turkey. The Turkish government offered her Turkish citizenship and she accepted her additional citizenship documents from the foreign minister 11 October 2012.[1][23][24]

According to Tariq Karman, "a senior Yemeni official" threatened his sister Tawakkol with death in a telephone call on 26 January 2011 if she continued her public protests.[22] According to Dexter Filkins, writing in The New Yorker, the official was President Saleh.[15]

At a protest in 2010, a woman attempted to stab her with a jambiya but Karman's supporters managed to stop the assault.[17][21]

Karman earned an undergraduate degree in commerce from the University of Science and Technology, a graduate degree in political science from the University of Sana'a.[14][16] In 2012, she received an Honorary Doctorate in International Law from University of Alberta in Canada.[19][20]

Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman was born on 7 February 1979 in Mekhlaf, Ta'izz province, Yemen. She grew up near Taiz, which is the third largest city in Yemen and is described as a place of learning in a conservative country.[14] She is the daughter of Abdel Salam Karman, a lawyer and politician, who once served and later resigned as Legal Affairs Minister in Ali Abdullah Saleh's government.[12] She is the sister of Tariq Karman, who is a poet,[15] and Safa Karman, who works as a journalist for Al-Jazeera.[16] She is married to Mohammed al-Nahmi[8][17] and is the mother of three children.[18]

Personal life


  • Personal life 1
  • Women Journalists Without Chains 2
  • Political positions 3
  • 2011 protests 4
    • Involvement of international government organizations 4.1
  • 2011 Nobel Peace Prize 5
    • Post-Nobel Prize 5.1
  • In popular culture 6
  • Writings 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

[13]'s regime.Ali Abdullah Saleh President in January 2011. She has been a vocal opponent who has called for the end of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali the government of overthrew Tunisian people, after the Arab Spring She redirected the Yemeni protests to support the "Jasmine Revolution," as she calls the [12][3]

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