“Bananas to America, Rice to Israel”

The “Shebab al-Mu’manin” (Believing Youth)–often referred to as the “Houthis” in reference to  the group’s slain progenitor, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi–are a Zaidi Shi’a insurgent group based in Yemen’s far north. While the Houthis and their supporters certainly have some legitimate grievances, their image has been colored a bit by their vitriolic–if easy to remember–slogan. Pulling from stereotypical, internationally-focused expressions of xenophobia and  anti-semitism rather than vocalizing the group’s rather substantive, internally-motivated concerns, it curtly proclaims: “God is great; death to America; death to Israel; damn the Jews; Victory to Islam.”

Far from surprisingly, many Yemenis find the slogan offensive, and this distate, coupled in some quarters with Sunni chauvinism against the Shi’a insurgent group, has apparently spawned a few take-offs of the Houthi chant. Took a photo of two of them, shown above, in a protest tent in Change Square occupied mostly by members of the Islamist Islah party.

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