Outrage after US refuses to grant Yemeni journalist a visa to collect his Pulitzer Prize

Outrage after US refuses to grant Yemeni journalist a visa to collect his Pulitzer Prize
Alisdare Hickson https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Journalist Maad al-Zekri, along with Maggie Michael and Nariman El-Mofty, was among the reporters who won a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the war in Yemen. But while Michael and El-Mofty were able to attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 23 and receive their awards in person, al-Zekri — who is from Yemen — was unable to attend because the United States refused to grant him a visa. And a great deal of outrage has followed that decision.

The Associated Press officially stated it was “terribly disappointed” that al-Zekri couldn’t attend the May 23 event. Yemen is one of six predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens were barred from entering the U.S. because of an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in 2017; that order was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling.

Twitter has been full of support for al-Zekri and indignation that his visa application was denied.

When artist/author Molly Crabapple noted on Twitter that al-Zekri had been denied a visa, Belgium resident @HananeFreePeace responded that the denial was “unfair and pathetic” and said of the U.S., “what a weird country.”

Journalist Afrah Nasser, meanwhile, tweeted that she felt “disappointed yet defiant” after hearing the news.” And journalist Roger Anis asked, “Does the US embassy think that a Yemeni investigative journalist reporting for AP is a terrorist?”

@Dee_Kholaif expressed her solidarity with al-Zekri, tweeting, “Congrats, Maad. You’re an inspiration,” while Reuters reporter Fanny Potkin denounced the visa denial as “complete bullshit.”

Eman El-Sherbiny, a Business Today contributor, offered her congratulations, lamenting, “Sorry you couldn't be there.” Women Organizing Women Network Co-Founder Ebyan D. Abdulle congratulated al-Zekri as well, and Lala King told him, “You’re awesome, no matter what continent you’re on.”

On May 29, Al-Zekri discussed the visa denial on his blog, explaining, “As all embassies are shut down in Yemen, I had to travel to the closest country to Yemen and apply for the visa in a U.S. embassy. So, two months ago, I visited Egypt and applied for the visa. My application was supported by so many letters from high-ranked institutions, including the Associated Press Agency. And yet, my application was rejected.”

Al-Zekri, in his blog article, went on to address the Trump Administration, writing, “My message to the U.S. administration is that it has to rethink its policies against Yemen and Yemenis. One of the key reasons why this land is so impoverished in the tragic condition it has reached to today is the U.S. administration's mass punishment on Yemen. They must rethink that.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}