Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tawakul Karman interview

The BBC Arabic did an interview with Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni lady who won the Nobel Peace Prize I think two years ago. I watched an interview of her at that time, and I could piece together two or three words here and there. Today, I understood her not perfectly, but much better. 

It was a spirited debate, mainly because the presenter Tariq kept accusing her of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, this because Ms. Tawakul recently traveled to Egypt to try to join the protests in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

She said: actually, when the MB were in power, I spent all my time criticizing them, and telling them that they must be inclusive of all parts of society, and that they must cooperate with everyone.

So Mr. Tariq told her: ah, but you keep going back and forth, first you say you were criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood, but you recently compared the deposed president Mursi to Nelson Mandela (Mursi was from the MB party, and is currently sitting in jail.)

Ms. Tawakul: anyone who saw how the military treated the Muslim Brotherhood protests must have had an awakening to conscience. That wasn't just action against the Muslim Brotherhood, that was action against the very spirit of the Arab Spring!

Mr. Tariq: ah, but you belong to the Islah party in Yemen - which is philosophically aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, so it really seems like you have a bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood, no matter how undemocratic they acted while they were in power.

Ms. Tawakul: no, I definitely have a bias against a military dictatorship. And I always was criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood for not being inclusive and cooperative enough when they were in power. And I am not a prisoner to any party, I am known in Yemen for have independent views regardless of what party I belong to.

I said once before that Mr. Tariq has the gentle voice of a saint, and he does. But when he does these interviews, he gets riled up. He's really good at coming up with accusations, and picking apart former statements, all to get under the skin of his guests.

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