A standstill moment [Archives:2008/1170/Opinion]

July 7 2008

It appears that the War in Sa'ada is going to bring everything in the country to a standstill for a while to come. With the booms getting louder to those living in the periphery of Sana'a and the pictures getting uglier of the images being exchanged over the internet, one wonders if the Yemeni leaders can't come to realize that their fellow citizens really deserve better than this. Can the authorities here realize that before trying to pacify the rest of the world, they can start first by pacifying their own homeland? It is not that Djibouti should not live in peace, but when the booms are getting ever closer to the capital city, one wonders if Yemen should be a priori point to pull full throttle on all the attempts for peace to peace at home, before worrying about the welfare of others, who are not even at full scale war yet. The war in Sa'ada is no more a confined war on the people of Sa'ada but a nightmare that is beginning to haunt the still world we have become accustomed to for some time. The moment that many have dreaded and saw coming for quite some time now has become so frighteningly real. The continuing parade of ambulances to and from the airport signifies something very unpleasant and the early sounds of all those Migs in their various numbered formats breaking the peaceful morning quiet and interrupting the chirping of the birds soon after the sunrise bring this ugly war ever so closer to the once happy suburban peace that characterized the periphery of the City of Sana'a. The people of Sana'a have almost come to believe that war is forbidden on them and on all those who bring war to them. But alas, wishful thinking can be so unhealthy sometimes, when at night the still evening becomes an evening of looming danger as the sounds of machine gun fire and the pounding artillery even cease the dogs from chasing the speeding cars that the ears hear, but the eyes have no sense of their destination inside the high mud walls that surround the small yard of the peaceful suburban home of this observer. Nevertheless, it is clear that we are at war and with whom does not really matter anymore, because war is deadly to all those who declare it, fight it, resist it, cry against it, scream for a halt to it – to no avail. It is war and war just hovers like a deadly storm taking anyone and everyone on its way with burning ferocity. It is war and there is no way to bring a peace to it, around it or before it, before it engulf one's peaceful abode. The deadly ignorance of just exactly what is really happening in Sa'ada and now Bani Hushiesh and elsewhere in Yemen makes the observer shudder at the thought of imagining the possible evil that may befall relatives there, who are as far away from being on any side of the animosities unleashed in this war as one can imagine, but in war, when you are in the middle, that would not make a difference at all. There is too much random fire in the air! Random fire does not care if you are friend or foe. You are simply an easy target and that is all that matters to random fire. It is an ugly inhumane reality we live in when war has dominated the sky, the earth and the sea. “Why the sea?” One might ask. The Somalis are dying by the scores daily as their leaders squabble over an empty earth, which has yet to accept one in peacetime let alone during war. Or, is there something that is hiding beneath the surface that makes all this killing worthwhile. For the people in the area, it does not make a difference what is above ground or below the surface. They have never been the happy beneficiaries of God's good Grace on the land. That is divinely ordained for our leaders and their masters elsewhere in this world, who have turned the entire world into a play board for their interests to be determined by the destructive volleys that destroy our peace in the morning and in the t night.

For most of the people in Sana'a the peace has been shattered and even the ID searches along the roads leading into and out of Sana'a means one cannot find laborers to work the last inches of grape plants that still adorn the yard outside the yard surrounding the modest dwelling we call home. The migrant workers are complaining of undue duress because they never thought that IDs are necessary for common workers in their home turf. Our future and destiny has been tampered with beyond repair and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide as Martha Reeves and her Vandellas once said a long time ago.

Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.