A desperate system’s last gasp [Archives:2008/1153/Viewpoint]

May 8 2008

One of the probable explanations to the regular security attacks happening around the country is that they are triggered by people in the government in order to prove that the country is out of control and hence, legitimise any oppressive actions and new laws.

Under the pretext of protecting the country's best interest a number of suggested laws and amendments to existing ones are proposed and now the drafts are being finalized before they are presented to the Parliament for discussion and approval.

These laws include a new one on fighting terrorism and protecting the national unity and amendments to crimes and penalty law.

The terrorism and unity law includes 200 penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment on very judgemental crimes such as harming the unity and jeopardizing the fundamentals of the Yemeni revolutions.

The amendments on the crimes and penalty law include: criminalizing opposition political activities, punishment for affecting any of the national fundamentals negatively, hurting the general moral through publishing information, increasing the punishment of anyone who offends the president from one year to five and adding the cabinet or the security, or members of the Parliament or the public interest to the protected figures or bodies by this law. The amendments include an additional article stating a ten-year statement along with a fine for offending or burning the flag.

Political parties, which are accused of any of the mentioned clauses, are to be closed down and deprived from participating in two electoral terms.

There is no problem in trying to protect national and historic achievements such as the Yemeni Unity. In fact, this is an accomplishment that should be considered with high regards. However, like any agreement we must not forget how the Yemeni Unity came about; two sides agreed on something and signed a paper endorsing what they agreed upon. You cannot force people to stick to an agreement if they have changed their minds or decided it is not working. You cannot keep people together by force. The Yemeni Unity should not and cannot be protected by laws and security measures. Just like you cannot make students any more patriotic by forcing them to sing the national anthem in schools every morning.

I believe that all these measures and strict laws are a desperate attempt to stay in control. The instability and attacks on government and non-government establishments could be a cover up in order to save face and convince the international community that Yemenis don't deserve the democratic margins we used to enjoy relatively. Giving Yemen a bad image is also the objective of opposition who are trying to prove that the country is out of control and the ruling system does not deserve to last.

Ironically, the system and its opposition are doing the same thing but for different purposes. This out of control situation gives the terrorist parasites an excellent environment to thrive in. The only side who loses in all situations is the Yemeni people who despite pressure and misery, conclude every day of suffering by getting high on Qat, as if what is happening around them is not of their concern.

In my opinion, Yemen can handle oppressive regimes, abusive opposition or even terrorist groups, if its people were alert. Unfortunately all this is happening to us because the majority of Yemenis spend one third of their every day sedated and out of coverage. And that is the real problem.