In Honor of Jamala al-Baidhani

April, 2018

Source images:

Front: (1) Jamala al-Baidhani’s portrait. (2) Illustration of an alabaster stele depicting a warrior. (3) Aden Harbour; Dhow sailboat. (4) Yemeni banknotes.

Back: (1) Shibam Hadramaut, ancient capital of Hadramawt Kingdom, described as the oldest skyscraper city in the world, constructed around 16th century. The houses, made of mud brick, rise between 5 and 11 stories (approx 100 feet high) (2) Yemeni banknotes.

 

Born in Al Aeoff village in Yemen in 1977, Jamala was gifted with immeasurable compassion for humanity and the determination to advocate for peace and equality for all. She wore a radiant smile that filled others with joy. At age 7 she became paralysed due to complications of meningitis. Living in a society that stigmatized the disabled, Jamala faced many obstacles. She finished high school with honors and started her first government job at the Ministry of Social Affairs. She was the first disabled woman in Yemen to be appointed National Disability Rights Coordinator for Community-Based Rehabilitation program (CBR). She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences.

In 1999 Jamala founded Al Tahadi Association for Disabled Women, one of the first non-governmental organizations committed to helping women and girls with disabilities. She worked tirelessly to expand the center to advance education, rehabilitation and civil liberties for the disabled community, particularly women who struggled with political disenfranchisement and high rates of illiteracy.

Between 2005 and 2012 Jamala expanded the association, creating an early intervention center, a training/rehabilitation center, a dental clinic, a media education facility, a charity kitchen, a central library with resources available for disability research, and a physiotherapy center. She also established the Alesrar NGO for Youth Development, which trains volunteers to work with people with disabilities. Jamala provided boarding for people from distant villages who were unable to afford residency. Jamala died in 2012, leaving behind a rich legacy.

Yemen is entering its third year of civil/proxy war. Houthi forces continue to fight the Yemeni government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition (Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan with Qatar withdrawing in 2017). Both sides are responsible for more than 6,000 civilians killed, over 8000 wounded, widespread internal displacement, and the fastest-spreading famine in recent history.

After the collapse of the public health system, millions of Yemenis are grappling with a cholera epidemic, exacerbated by starvation and malnutrition. The outbreak of this preventable disease is due to the fact that two thirds of the country doesn’t have access to clean water.

Both Houthi forces and the Saudi-led coalition have unlawfully prevented the delivery of medicine, food, and urgent humanitarian aid to Yemeni civilians. Many NGOs cannot reach people in desperate need of urgent care. The US, France, and the UK continue to be complicit in war crimes in Yemen, providing arms to the Saudi-led coalition despite indiscriminate airstrikes and the use of cluster munitions. The Houthi rebels have been using antipersonnel landmines. Both weapons are banned by international treaties. In 2017, US arms sales to Saudi Arabia totalled US$110 billion. Foreign interference has contributed to the destabilization of Yemen. This bill honors the courageous work of the people on the ground who know best what their country needs.

 

This banknote is available for sale for US$200. Half of the proceeds goes to Zakat Foundation towards emergency relief in Yemen, and the other half covers production costs. For more information please email: 

 

Mission statement from Zakat Foundation:

The Zakat Foundation of America is unique among humanitarian organizations in advancing zakat as a vehicle for social change. The third pillar of Islam, zakat is an obligatory claim on the wealth of the affluent to empower the indigent. The egalitarian spirit of zakat is channelled into a global vision of social development that transcends national boundaries.

 


Foreign Exchange incorporates the emblems taken from banknotes and utilizes images from news media to highlight voices of resistance from countries that have been impacted by U.S. national interests. The banknotes feature influential figures and monumental events that draw attention to socio-political tensions existing both within a country’s borders and beyond. Foreign Exchange offers an alternative platform to archive and share cultural currencies.