Yemeni woman fleeing war recounts ‘inspiring’ journey to Qatar

Hangda Zhang

Video still from ‘After fleeing’

A Yemeni woman who moved to Qatar to escape a civil war at home has opened up about her journey in a new short film.

Mariam Al-Dubhani is now a journalism student at Northwestern University in Qatar.

In the film, she explains to one of her peers that she started making films and music in Yemen as a way of expressing herself and defying constraints society put on her.

“Living in Yemen, where a girl isn’t allowed to do much, just because she’s a girl – it always pissed me off, and made me do things my way,” she said.

Missile attack

Al-Dubhani said that she decided to flee Yemen after a missile landed close to her family home, blowing out the windows.

“I just wanted to leave, I had no other thoughts in my head, I would have gone anywhere. I can’t be helpless, I can’t wait for things to happen.”

She eventually moved to Qatar with her fiance (now husband), after a Qatari woman she had previously worked with offered her a new job in Doha.

In the film, she said that she continues to live by her beliefs, which are to “never stop pursuing what you want, and don’t let anyone tell you to stop.”

Student filmmaker

The film was produced by 20-year-old Hangda Zhang, who is studying journalism and economics at Northwestern University in the US.

Last year, she came to the school’s Doha campus for five months, and used her time to make two films about young women she met.

Speaking to Doha News, Zhang said the five-minute video is part of her series on inspiring women.

Santiago Sanz Romero/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

After Fleeing shows the story of a married woman who fled from Yemen to Qatar and who possesses this courage and independence to face her life,” she said.

Zhang’s second Qatar film ��� which has not yet been released – will feature a Qatari woman who has started a global movement to unite young people through charity work.

She explained:

“I want to tell these stories to inspire other women, and to start conversations with the audience on issues seldom covered by media or discussed among people.”

Zhang added that she wants to become a professional documentary maker after graduation.

What do you think of the video? Thoughts?

Please read our Comments Policy before joining the discussion. By commenting, you agree to abide by it.

Some comments may not be automatically published. This is not action taken by us, but instead, depending on whether or not you have verified your email address, or if your post triggers automatic flags.