Women Journalists without Chains
Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (Arabic: توكل عبد السلام خالد كرمان Tawakkul ‘Abd us-Salām Karmān; also Romanized Tawakul, Tawakel) (born 7 February 1979) is a Yemeni journalist, politician, and human rights activist. She leads the group “Women Journalists Without Chains,” which she co-founded in 2005. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. She has been called the “Iron Woman” and “Mother of the Revolution” by Yemenis. She is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the second youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.
Karman gained prominence in her country after 2005 in her roles as a Yemeni journalist and an advocate for a mobile phone news service denied a license in 2007, after which she led protests for press freedom. She organized weekly protests after May 2007 expanding the issues for reform. She redirected the Yemeni protests to support the “Jasmine Revolution,” as she calls the Arab Spring, after the Tunisian people overthrew the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. She has been a vocal opponent who has called for the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime.
A Saudi cable leak from WikiLeaks revealed that while publicly denouncing Saudi Arabia she was secretly arranging meetings with the Saudis to request their support. Karman lavished praise on the Saudis for pushing through a transition agreement that for many reformers, was seen as a deep betrayal of the revolution. She accused Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi of supporting the Houthis and Al Qaeda.
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