Who is Timhouthi Chalamet? The Yemini mystery man touring captured cargo boats in the Red Sea

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Jan 19, 2024 at 12:45 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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A young Yemeni man known as “Timhouthi Chalamet” has gained popularity on TikTok after he began posting videos of himself touring a captured cargo ship in the Red Sea. However, his account has since mysteriously disappeared, raising questions about whether the platform removed it or if he took it down himself.

The man, identified as Rashid Al Haddad, has also garnered a substantial following on Instagram, where he currently has around 34,000 followers.

On both his former TikTok account as well as his Instagram, Al Haddad posted numerous videos aboard the Galaxy Leader—a shipping vessel that was hijacked by the Houthi militant group in November 2023. The Houthi group, an Iran-backed team that has been labelled as a “terrorist organisation” by the US, have struck multiple ships in the Red Sea with missiles and drones.

Several Yemeni social media influencers have joined the trend, documenting their presence on the cargo ship’s deck. Through images and videos, these influencers proudly display themselves strolling along the vessel’s deck, waving flags of Yemen and Palestine. Accompanied by armed individuals, presumably Houthis, the influencers share their content on various platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Their posts celebrate the ship’s capture while expressing solidarity with Palestine and the people of Gaza.

@philipdefranco

Houthis Hijack Israeli Ship #usa #israel Yemen’s Houthi rebels have seized an Israel-linked cargo ship named Galaxy Leader in what most nations would consider an act of piracy. They seized the ship by rappelling down from a helicopter. They have taken 25 of its crew members hostage, and say they will treat them in accordance to Islamic values but they haven’t elaborated on what that means. The Houthis say they will continue to attack all ships linked to Israel and say that Israel only understands the language of force. The ship is operated by Japan who condemned the hijacking. Israel insists that the ship is British owned but public data says it’s associated with one of the richest men in Israel according to AP.

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According to Forbes, Al Haddad is only 19 years old, identifies as a “Red Sea Pirate” and has stated that the only motivation that they have is their solidarity with Palestine.

On 15 January, a user on X reposted a TikTok of a young man sailing around the Galaxy Leader and captioned the video: “Yemeni pirates posting casual TikToks while the entire western imperial core is having a meltdown about their blockade on their ships is the funniest sh*t of 2024, surely.” At the time of writing, the video has been viewed more than 19 million times, with social media users dubbing the handsome man “Timhouthi Chalamet” due to his apparent resemblance to the actor.

https://twitter.com/comrademika/status/1746958702207259042

While there is no evidence suggesting Al Haddad’s direct involvement in the hijacking, some of his social media posts depict him wearing military clothing and carrying an AK-47.

The Houthi group’s attacks on shipping vessels are part of their broader strategy to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza. They claim to have targeted dozens of ships passing through the Suez Canal in retaliation.

The disruptions caused by these attacks have the potential to significantly impact the global economy as the Red Sea is a crucial trade route connecting Europe to Asia. Additionally, there are reports that the hijacked Galaxy Leader has become an unexpected tourist attraction, with people taking selfies and touring the vessel.

The disappearance of Al Haddad’s TikTok account adds a layer of mystery to the situation. It remains unclear whether he removed the account voluntarily or if TikTok took action. The incident highlights the complex dynamics between social media influencers seeking popularity and the serious geopolitical realities of conflict zones.

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