Interview & translation from Arabic by Azza Rojbi
Ahmed Jahaf, is an artist and graphic designer living in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. He uses his art to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and to speak up against the over 4 years long war on his country led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States and other western countries. The graphics showcased in this article are some of Ahmed’s work, to see more from his art visit: www.ajahaf.com and follow him on twitter @A7medJa7af
Fire This Time: Thank you, Ahmed, for taking the time for this interview with Fire This Time. You are living with your family in Yemen’s capital city, Sana’a, under constant brutal bombing by the Saudi-led coalition. Can you describe a bit daily life under the bombardment in Sana’a?
Ahmed Jahaf: About daily life in Sana’a under bombing. After more than four years living under raids, under shelling, under siege, it has become a normal thing for Yemeni citizens, for me, for adults in general. Hearing the sound of aircraft, hearing the sound of air raids became normal for us, we only worry about children when they hear these sounds, we fear how these sounds will affect the children even if it seems to be coming from an area far away. As for us adults, it became very, very ordinary. Sometimes, when a few days pass by and we do not hear the sound of the planes, we are surprised and find it strange. Imagine the situation, more than four years, if a day passes without hearing the sound of an air raid, then we hear the sound of planes flying over.
Today, for example, there were air raids on Sana’a airport. In the morning and while
people were sleeping in Ramadan, it was normal, we got up to the sounds and then I asked in my house “I think I heard the sound of an air raid, I think I heard the sound of flying”, someone said “yes they dropped bombs in the north of the capital Sana’a”. It has become a normal thing to live under air raids, unfortunately. We say unfortunately that it has become such a normal thing, that sometimes even when we hear the sound of air raid and an explosion and realize that it was in a residential area, we take our phones and camera and go to the area targeted even though it is dangerous because during the last four years, fighter jets deliberately returned to bomb the same place again.
This is life under constant air raids. As you may know 14 days ago there were several air raids in the capital Sana’a, one of which targeted the Ministry of Information which is right next
to my house. Part of my house was affected, it was a raid on the ministry building and a raid that targeted a densely populated residential area, an area where a lot of people live.
They targeted the president of the Yemeni Media Union, Professor Abdullah al-Sabri, a Yemeni journalist, they bombed his house. At that time, six people from the building where he lives were killed, one of whom was his son. Four days after, his other son died succumbing to his wounds and this morning we attended the funeral of the mother of Professor Abdullah al-Sabri. Yesterday she martyred also succumbing to her wounds because of the coalition’s air raids.