AL-Qaeda has no interest in us, therefore they do not exist.
Day 17 – July 2 – We made it to an area where we no longer have protection.
Most ideas of al-Qaeda grow in all directions. One well known international relations scholar and an expert on Yemen, has consistently said, “al-Qaeda” does not exist. One way to understand the fabrication is to be in an area supposedly where they have reached. And with this opinion, in hopes of doing more essential service to the country of Yemen, is to question where is the root of this fabrication? I ask this because the police stopped us before we entered the area saying ‘al-Qaeda’ has moved in and for our safety should travel with them. But we were not persuaded and not at all surprised ‘al-Qaeda’ was mentioned. We will instead find another way back to al-Ghaydah.
In the last update, there was a rumor we would gift Kensington once we could no longer cross the desert without protection. It’s no longer a rumor. We’ve decided to gift Kensington. When we thought about how we would remember Kensington, it was hard to imagine him with just anyone. Our last ‘guide’, Sheikh Salim thoroughly knows the desert back when crossing with caravans was part of his livelihood. He would be the right person to give Kensington to. When thinking back, we could imagine Kensington with Sheikh Salim. Even though his livelihood no longer depends on crossing the desert, Sheik Salim is a Bedu in heart and in mind.
Sheikh Salim goes back to his family knowing a little more about women not from the desert. To no surprise, Tanya has made an impression on Sheikh Salim. He has two daughters and from this journey, he sees more potential for them. It would be interesting to know exactly what he says to his daughters about what he learned from Tanya. After 30 to 40 years of not meeting foreigners, let alone a western woman, we wanted to leave more than just ‘talk’. Tanya will leave them with strong impressions of a woman. I will leave them with anticipation knowing that maybe one day another mad explorer may cross this desert.
Speaking of anticipation, we do not want to anticipate the capabilities of ‘al-Qaeda’ if they decide to show themselves. By ‘al-Qaeda’, I mean the group that is getting all the attention from governments, in Yemen and globally. I may have already met them. The police already acknowledged our presence. With this, I’m assuming ‘al-Qaeda’ has no interest in us. Throughout this journey, I’ve come to understand cooperation may not mean the same thing as interests. In other words, if the police and ‘al-Qaeda’ cooperate, they will have their own interests in mind. Our plan is to leave this area tomorrow – this is in our best interest.