Former Houthi Fighter Recounts How He Came to His Senses

Republican Yemen – Sami Almaqtari

Since late 2014, when the Iran-allied insurgents stormed Yemen’s capital Sana’a and announced themselves a de facto authority in the most impoverished country in the Arabian Peninsula, the Houthi militias have been mainly relying on recruiting young fighters by using misleading slogans to brainwash these innocent, enthusiastic youth and push them into deadly frontlines where many of them lose their lives for a lost cause.

Hamza Hashem Al Dailami, former Houthi fighter, recounted how he got rid of the way of life he used to have as a combatant fighting for the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

The young man, 24, posted two pictures of him showing how he looked as a fighter with a head full of radical and violent concepts and how he looks now after he decided to leave the frontlines and pursue a new different way of life that enables him to have peace inside.

“Those were the moments when I first embraced the slogan of ‘no to life, no to education or humanity, saying yes to death, ignorance, brutality, and terrorism,”‘ Mr. Al Dailami wrote on a Facebook group, commenting on a picture of him holding the infamous Houthis’ slogan that reads, ‘Death to America, Death to Israel, God Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.’

Hamza asserted that he, like many other young men, joined the frontlines because of the manipulative way used by Houthis to mobilize fighters.

“Raising the slogan of ‘yes to life, education, and humanity’ was not the immediate outcome of a decision that I abruptly made. It came after a long intellectual conflict that I had deep down as I was stressed having questions that overwhelmed me to a great extent,” Hamza Al Dailami said.

“When I was raising the slogan of death, I thought I was Mr. I-know-it-all. I used to take part in discussions that I did not even have background information about, not to mention those ridiculous, irrational topics I had been involved in.”

Hamza says reading intellectual books has broadened his horizons and brought about the change he sought.

“I was determined to stay away from all forms of fanaticism, sectarianism, extremism, and violence,” he said. “It was not an easy thing to do, but with God’s help I am now a different man.”

After abandoning the frontlines, Hamza decided to go back to studying. Now he is a media freshman at Sana’a University. He hopes the war stops and things get back to normal as he dreams to see all Yemenis live in peace.

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