We are following Gandhi's path of non-violence

Yemeni women's rights and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman.

Tawakkul Karman, the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate and also the first woman from the Arab world to receive the honour, spoke to HT on her trip to New Delhi. Excerpts of the interview with the Yemeni.

What were the key factors that led to the Arab uprising?
The main reason is the awakening of the youth and women to the gross injustice meted out by dictators. This also could become possible because the new social and electronic media facilitated the youth and the women to raise their voices and turned the anger into a peaceful revolt on the streets.

You are scheduled to meet President Pratibha Patil, PM Manmohan Singh and others leaders here. What will be your message to them?
India is the largest democracy in the world and we expect more support from India in the Arab uprising … This country has given us our biggest source of inspiration: Mahatma Gandhi. We are following his path of non-violence.

Post-revolution, the Arab countries have seen the Islamist parties come to power. How do you see this?
I am not afraid of Islamist parties coming to power. Now there is a space for different parties to participate in the democratic process. I would have been scared if these Islamists didn't participate in the government formations. That could have given rise to terror activities or other forms of extremisms.

How do you see the West's role in the Arab Spring? Do you support the Nato strikes?
No, no. I don't support bombings and killing of civilians. But the West must support the people's aspirations in the Arab World. It has to do its bit.

What will be your future role?
I will remain with the people. I will not take any government position.

So, you want to be like Sonia Gandhi?
Yes, yes. Sonia Gandhi (laughs).


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