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The Yemeni peacemaker

Given the extensive negative media coverage of Yemen since the botched Christmas airplane bombing, and our focus on a military rather than humanitarian response to the country’s plight, I was happy to catch this video on Al Jazeera English a couple days ago. It tells the story of Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Marwani, an amazing peacemaker in Yemen.

The founder of Dar al-Salam (House of Peace), an organisation that aims to bring feuding tribes together and to end revenge killings, al-Marwani travels around Yemen unarmed acting as a peace negotiator.

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As a youth he was attracted to extremism and violence, but over time, as he took advice from clerics and read a range of books, including the Bible, his views began to change.

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His daily work involves negotiating a truce between warring tribes or trying to negotiate the release of a kidnap victim, meeting government or international representatives, organising workshops or plays, and dealing with the administration and promotion of his organisation.

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Al-Marwani expects to die on a peace mission long before his country sees peace but his young son is preparing to one day take on his father’s role – it will probably be a lifetime’s work for him too.

To read the article that accompanied the video, click here.

To watch Part 2, click here.