40 Days After Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf’s Death, the Consultative Council, the Yemen Times, and the YJS Hold a Memorial Ceremony to pay a: Final Tribute to a Great Man [Archives:1999/28/Front Page]

July 12 1999

Since the death of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf in a car accident on the 2nd of June, 1999, people have not gotten over their shock. Dr. Al-Saqqaf was an extraordinary man, who held extraordinary ideals and lived by them. He was a man who believed that his country could reach the highest levels of civilized culture and really felt that with will power and commitment by all, half the trek would have been trodden. He was a courageous patriot who felt that the best service one could render for his country is to work towards the institution of civil rights, the elevation of human dignity and the establishment of an active civil society. He was a journalist, a teacher, and above all, he was a defender of Human Rights, Liberties, and Democracy.
Few were the people who really understood Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, however, many did value his work. Despite facing many obstacles, and being subjected to intimidating attacks, he stood tall and strong, and was able to meet the toughest challenges, and overcame all the obstacles. It has now been forty days since his departure, and we are beginning to feel the void he left behind. We now realize the true dimensions of this loss.
To pay a final tribute to this great man, the Consultative Council, the Yemen Times, and the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate joined hands to hold the final memorial ceremonies for the late Dr. Saqqaf yesterday. This final tribute was held at the Officers’ Club in Sanaa, and was attended by hundreds of senior government officials, lead by Abdulaziz Abdulghani, Chairman of the Consultative Assembly, Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Iryani, the Prime Minister, several Ministers and other government officials, diplomats, members of the press, etc. All were there to say “You will never be forgotten.”
During the memorial commemoration, several speakers expressed their sorrow and grief at the untimely death of the late Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, which is a loss not just to those who are related to or acquainted with Dr. Al-Saqqaf, but to the whole country.   In addition, the speakers praised the principles which Dr. Al-Saqqaf stood for, and the causes he advocated and valiantly defended.
The speakers included Abdulaziz Abdulghani, the Chairman of the Consultative Council, Brigadier General Ali Abdullah Al-Sallal, Yahya Al-Jubaihi, members of the Consultative Council, Abu Bakr Al-Kirby, Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights and NGOs Committee in the Consultative Council, and Mahboub Ali, the Chairman of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate.
The Head of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate pointed out that the tragic loss of 
Dr. Al-Saqqaf is already having its adverse effects on the YJS, as efforts are being accelerated to take over the Syndicate by elements reportedly representing the current regime. Mr. Mahboub Ali emphasized that, in his opinion, if Dr. Al-Saqqaf remained with us today, such efforts would not have arisen. Dr. Saqqaf would have challenged them and worked to insure that the YJS remained an independent, non-partisan organization, which is free from any external influence or manipulation.
The Yemen Times considers any move to try to take control of the syndicate, by any group, organization or political entity, to be a serious threat to press freedom in the country.  Accordingly, on behalf of all of the patriotic and freedom loving journalists of Yemen, we urge President Ali Abdullah Saleh to intervene and block all efforts to change the complete independence of the YJS, as this threatens the most important institution for the defense of human rights and civil liberties.  In addition, this would be the most fitting honor and tribute that could be given to Dr. Al-Saqqaf.
Walid Al-Saqqaf spoke on behalf of the Al-Saqqaf family and the Yemen Times, thanking all those who attended and all those who expressed their sympathies for the tragic death of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, including the President of the Republic, Ali Abdullah Saleh. He also expressed his commitment to enhancing the Yemen Times, and even increasing it to a bi-weekly newspaper. The elder son of the deceased reminded the attendees of the spirit of Dr. Saqqaf, best summarized as hard working. He explained how he used to accept condolences, and at the same time work on the issue of the Yemen Times scheduled to be published the week after the death of his father.
One of the focal points of his statement was the importance of the support of intellectuals, friends, and journalists who knew the deceased. He thanked Dr. Abubakr Al-Qirbi, and Mr. Mohamed Al-Tayyib for their assistance and their offers of help in the days since the death of Dr. Saqqaf. At the end of the eulogy, Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghanis closed with a speech in which he expressed his sadness at the loss of Dr. Saqqaf, and expressed his support to the Saqqaf family and to the Yemen Times.
On this occasion, Yemen Times printed and distributed 500 books dedicated to his memory. This is an indication that Dr. Saqqaf will not be forgotten.