According to the White House [Archives:2005/832/Viewpoint]

April 11 2005

Last Saturday, the USA and UK embassies closed their doors to the public for security reasons. On Friday, the State Department said the security threat to US citizens “remains high due to terrorist activities” and authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and eligible family members. It also advised US citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Yemen.” No comment as to what the threat maybe or where from. Guesses is that it might have to do with the Sa'ada conflicts, a city 200 kilometers (125 miles) to northwest of the capital, or some information obtained from confidential sources claiming that Yemen is not very safe and that Westerners should try to avoid coming to this unstable environment.

Therefore, this is the information that people around the world are getting, and frankly speaking, we as Yemenis realize that Yemen is not the most stable country in the world but the truth is what is being portrayed in and through the media are exaggeration against facts on the ground. Many foreigners who visited Yemen and stayed for at least a week have totally fallen in love with this beautiful country. “I feel safe walking in the streets and the people are very friendly,” a friend from Europe told me last week. Yemen is not a dangerous country to live in; rather it is fun and interesting. Investment-wise, there are so many potentials and the consumer market is growing everyday. The government is taking slow action in providing a suitable environment for investors but at least there is a political will.

Yemen as a country is full of surprises and wonders. It embraces its people with warm scent that lingers in their memories for years after they leave. The fact that the country is suffering from economic instability and poverty rates are high, and it is the only least developed country in the region that does not put off tourists and visitors, because there is more in favor of this country than its flaws. In fact, with the spread of light arms in this country it should be amazing that there is no civil war everyday. In spite of the fact that most men in Yemen, and especially the tribal areas carry rifles and guns it should be worth noting that these are carried as a tradition and not in acts of aggression. According to the White House Yemen is not safe. According to Yemenis and friendly foreigners who actually visited Yemen, it is.