About Yemen’s Unity [Archives:2001/21/Focus]

May 21 2001

Jalal Al-Shara’abi
Yemen Times
May 22, 1990, marked a turning-point in Yemen’s modern history and a dividing line between two eras. On that date the country bade farewell to the age of division and started a new age of political life, democracy and ruling system.
Yemen’s re-unification terminated fierce confrontations that strained the relation between the north and south of Yemen where there were two different political systems. The southern part was ruled by the socialist system whereas in the north there was the mixed liberal regime.
Many of the obstacles impeding realization of the re-unification of Yemen had been basically related to foreign interference in the affairs of the two parts that were coming under external pressures opposed to establishing the Yemeni unity because it was deemed as a danger posing a threat to those forces’ interests in the whole region.
Although the unity was accomplished in May 1990 and the new government had been formed on basis of political sharing between the General People’s Congress party and the Yemeni Socialist Party, many vital and important institutions such as the army, information and education remained divided the matter that resulted in the outbreak of the catastrophic war of 1994 which brought calamities to great many of the people who had fallen victims of it. Moreover the war had created a social and economic rift, rendering the process of healing it a very difficult task even after the lapse of seven years following its eruption. Unity as a great historic event represents the most important step in Yemen’s march throughout all ages. But the road of this great achievement was not strewn with flowers. In fact, a constellation of martyrs and freemen had fallen on its altar over the seventies and eighties of the last century.
National reconciliation among the Yemeni political forces is still the urgent demand for the meaningful realization of the unity that embodies the revolutionary and heroic characteristic of all sons of the homeland without any exception. The return to homeland of the 17-member journalists who fled the country in the wake of 1994 war on the very occasion of the anniversary of the unity represents a marvelous event and highly appreciable gift offered by the unity and a serious move of reconciliation and application of the principle of general pardon.
On the Unity Day of this year Aden would become so proud for the presence of Arab heads of state and governments sharing with the Yemenis their festivities. On our part we wish that this happiness and joy would remove all painful impact of the war and memories of the past that overburdened the people and the country. Would the Yemenis maintain their pride and ecstasy and ensure the return of more cadres that had migrated and could now contribute to building a new Yemen? It is not something impossible for the unity. A significant event deserves to be followed with serious decisions and steps covering various areas.
We are in need of freedom of press as stipulated in the unity agreement, peaceful political pluralism and the call for adopting the language of dialogue instead of praising history and the past at the expense of future.