10 days to go for the first death anniversary of Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf’s: “MEMORIES OF YEMEN’S UNIFICATION BRING ME STRENGTH AND HOPE” [Archives:2000/21/Front Page]

May 22 2000

Less than one month before his tragic death in a car accident on the 2nd of June 1999, Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, Founder of Yemen Times, and the Chairman of the Human Rights and NGOs Committee of the Consultative Council was interviewed by “Al-Mar’a” newspaper, in which he revealed a wonderful picture of his passion for unity and fond hope for a prosperous united Yemen. Here are some excerpts of what he said:
“I recall memories of the declaration of unity to derive strength and hope from them.”
I was among the few who were living away from home and I remember that I was then in company with some Jordanian and other Arab friends when I received the good news on the declaration of Yemen unity and I outrightly felt elated and proud. In that week I gave a lecture in Amman explaining the unity of Yemen, that great historic achievement and how it would support the determination and fervor of the Arab man and mitigate his frustrations resulting from previous Arab experiments in this regard.
I remember those days that were in fact as a feast day and I can still recall the change that consequently took place inside the milieu here when I was living in Amman. Then I made up my mind to consider going back home, because at that time I was occupying the post of Director of the Arab Institute for Banking Studies, an Arab establishment concerned with qualifying banking cadres in the Arab Homeland.
I was still abroad when the Yemeni Unity flag was hoisted on May 22. Immediately after the accomplishment of unity I tendered my resignation from the Institute but asked to continue as such for three months more, I could not resist my strong desire to leave for home and was unable to hold myself there even for a single day.
It was very impressive and moving for every Arab citizen, and of course for every Yemeni, when the Jordanian television screened a special program showing President Ali Abdullah Saleh hoisting the Yemeni flag of unity. We had recorded the program and replayed it before the Yemeni community there. We had also sent a telegram of allegiance and gratitude to the political leadership.
In fact those were certain moments of indelible memory which we have treasured. When at present I feel faced with difficulties, I try to recall those memories to get hope and strength from them.
I would like on that occasion to say that President Ali Abdullah Saleh had lived many experiences and I appreciate his capability to adapt himself according to the dictates of our country’s interest. He had moved worst from circumstances of instability accompanying what was termed the Arab Republic of Yemen and brought stability after he managed to surpass the ordeals and close the Yemeni ranks and restore the orientation of the country. This can particularly be said when in 1982 he founded The People’s General Congress as an umbrella accommodating all the political parties and could manage to create an atmosphere of permissiveness even towards the recent past enemies. President Saleh himself allowed preparing for the unity so as to unify the facade representing the then Arab Republic of Yemen. Even after the unity that tolerance continued towards other political parties. But tolerance has its own limits when it comes to threatening the national or public interest.
I still remember his famous phrase ” Unity or Death”. I would like on this occasion to give my congratulations to the people of Yemen and to all those who work for consolidating the unity by building modern Yemen characterized by a promising vision towards future, for reviving a glorious heritage we have been missing for long.
In conclusion I would like to affirm that despite the evident difficulties we are encountering in our everyday life we have to be armed with hope and optimism because they are the most efficient weapons for a promising future for our country. This would not and could not be realized except by being sincere with ourselves and loyal to those who made the unity and preserved it.”