Act not, you’re a Yemeni, complain aplenty [Archives:2008/1168/Reportage]

June 30 2008
Photo from archived article: photos/1168/report1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/1168/report1_1
Hashim Harazi
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

Ever stop to think…and forget to start again? Days go by in gray shades with no change to be foreseen ahead because today was the same as yesterday, and tomorrow most certainly will be alike. You sit there in a superficial Qat-induced trance and hope for a better thing, planning and scheming for hours, just to realize that the harder you thrash about through this quicksand of a situation the deeper you sink, and by the conclusion of the Qat euphoria, you just hit rock bottom. By night time, you toss and turn in your bed with a million thoughts bombarding your head, mostly depressing and suicidal, and think to yourself, shut up brain or I'll poke you with a Q-tip!! You fumble to hang on to your sanity as nightmares invade your dreams but you are so stressed that you wake up screaming and realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.

The next morning, you struggle your way out of bed, exhausted and beat, with demons dancing in your head setting you up in a hellish mood as you realize you have to make it through another day. And as you think of the day ahead, you conveniently come to terms with the illusion, created by nobody else but yourself and accepting it as a fact, that your war is lost, even before the fighting has begun, and abandon every hope for a change. You then go about your life with a mean demeanor, cursing and complaining about everything that crosses your path starting from the poor begging for money to the president who has all the money.

Unconsciously, you start talking to yourself, you daydream and hear voices, and even if the voices aren't real, they seem to have some good ideas, especially the thought of running over a man with your car when you are stopped at one of the million checkpoints by an AK47 wielding trigger happy baboon in a city where surprisingly the army governs daily civil affairs; you see them everywhere, on the streets, government offices, right under your bed, god forbid should your dreams be invaded by terrorists. I mean come on! Security is one thing and an undeclared state of war and martial law is another. Well anyway, no need to complain here, this seems to be working out somehow, journalists and freedom speakers are safely locked behind bars while extremists and corruption goons ransack the country.

People say 'psycho' like it's a bad thing, but that doesn't bother you; the good thing about schizophrenia is you never run out of people to talk to. Consequently, you have no problems with adopting a new skin for every other day, double or more standards for everything in direct or inverse proportion to what you need or who you meet. No, you don't suffer from insomniac insanity, you are pretty much enjoying every minute of it. Voilla! Your reality check just bounced – account closed! You have crossed to the other side and now officially a delusional zombie amongst many in a nation so drained, tired, and confused to the point of walking like the dead with no goal ahead nor offer any resistance to what's becoming unto them, a nation Arab rulers have come to know as 'Sha3b 3artah', a populous easy to enslave. And as Hitler put it, what luck for the rulers that men do not think.

Welcome to the club of twenty million plus of self-pitying Yemeni's wandering the land with a sincere directive to make a point of their miserable life known to all, and in the process, ruin everybody else's. This nauseating apathy fed with blemished logic in addition to livelihood plights thrown in the mix make for a disastrous recipe which will, and already has, put us all in a path spiraling down uncontrollably to catastrophe.

Wizen Up!

The fact is we have problems, a lot of them actually, especially recently and in the south. Well, in the north too, wait, somewhere in the center if I may add to that. The point is, we have too many of those lately and at multiple fronts, and guess what, they won't self-resolve anytime soon, the government can't do it with a swivel of some magical wand,, and your bitching isn't really helping either. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that we need intellectuals to solve the problems, better yet geniuses who could have prevented them, but your howling is simply exasperating and getting us nowhere but towards the edge. I too, just like you; if I could get a firm grip on reality I'd choke it. But since it is our collective reality and here to stay, let us do something about it and give a helping hand, and I don't mean rioting and breaking stuff, then gleefully running off to chew Qat and plan for yet another act of anarchy.

Well first of all, violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, Asimov. Second, believe you me, such actions will get you nowhere, and most importantly, neither the people nor the government likes it. But unfortunately, our state of mind has been twisted over and over so many times, our spirit broken, and our vision clouded enough just to be led by the nose and goaded into believing that we are fighting to restore what is ours when we are actually demolishing all we have built so far.

We are all in this together, believe it or not, rulers and leaders would hate to upset their subjects, to a well-gauged certain point that is, as that would simply stir unrest and wreck havoc in the state, stability vis-a-vis current status quoi, and most importantly, their office; a predicament they would avoid at all costs, and so should you. Who in their right mind would push to the brink of civil war, don't you know that such an affair, just like fire, would consume all indiscriminately. You think I'm exaggerating, then judge by example; Somalia! What do you think will happen here where everybody is armed to the teeth, a hundred leaders with changing agendas heading an exponentially increasing number of factions, Qaeda running free with extremism taking an unprecedented spike, and most are already prepped on verge of explosion in the belief of having been disfranchised and now maybe allowed the chance to unleash vengeance against government and other opponents. Dust won't even have chance to settle before the fight for prominence and a position of power will follow, look at Iraq.

It is granted that the government may suffer from rampant corruption, maybe oppressive, and basically hopeless. But you keep forgetting that many of us if not most, are employed by the same government we have come to despise and blame for everything all the way to global warming. There is an overwhelming sense of 'we the unwilling, led by the unqualified, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful'. Enough! Don't you see that the problem is not as much as with the system as it is fundamentally with you? Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's ambition and action, but you chose to wallow in grief because you simply believe the world has somehow decided to conspire against you and now suddenly it's everybody's fault that your life stinks. I understand everyone is entitled to be stupid, but you are abusing the privilege.

It quite apparent that change needs not be at the top alone, it must be at all levels, staring with ourselves. And as far as government conspiracy theories go, it's actually not as bad as you think, its worse, and yes, they are out to get you, and what's ironic is that knowingly or not, you are actually aiding them to do so. But for you to suddenly conclude and decide to wage an all out war against the government is simply ridiculous; what kind of a moron would you be to intimidate a lion into a bare hands fist fight! Such a direct confrontation will only result in your demise, no matter how skillful you think you are. Use your head. Skill is successfully walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Intelligence is not trying in the first place for it is a fool's errand.

Smarten up, plan, and strategize; diplomacy is that art of saying “Nice Doggie”…till you can find a rock. And yes, it is inevitable for you to learn and play the game of politics if you are serious about effecting change. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors, Plato.

To the Opposition, Make me a Believer or Quit Preaching

You say you believe in your case, believe you are a majority and shall by the good grace of God topple this tyranny, well, as egotistical as your propaganda may sound, charming yourself for speaking authoritatively in the name of all the people, you also claim to be endowed with superior education, knowledge, and wisdom that shall outdistance the leadership in fixing all the state's ailments; then why don't you set forth a plan with clear goals and act upon it already for crying out loud. I have yet to hear a sound plan or an intelligent proposition for how to fix all disorders and crisis the government has led us into and you, never missing a chance, so eloquently outlined and scrutinized.

Einstein put forth that any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex, it takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. You take actions or events and convert them to crises, then over-react in the hope it will be acted upon. All you have done so far is managing to pin point cracks in the dam and scream “it's falling apart! Typhoon is coming!”, without proposing a solution. Instigating panic, fear, and disorder by blaming the masons, architects, and what have you, while the cracks go further and deeper will only accomplish one thing; flood catching us all right in the face with our mouths open from yet to the last second still squabbling over whose fault it was the dam was doomed to fail. After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done, and what is mind-boggling is that you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I know you THINK you are doing your best, but it is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and THEN do your best. What is 'The Plan'? A great many problems do not have accurate answers, but do have approximate answers, from which sensible decisions can be made. Don't you have one for all the vehement critique, opposition and boycotting of government planning. Run for office, maybe? Does that mean I will have to bear with your bickering for yet another full term before I see yet another disappointing melodrama? And please don't venture something silly, Lincoln's law of keeping your mouth shut, it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. It is insulting to my intelligence telling me a more holes in a boat will sink it. Duh! That still doesn't resolve the quandary of how to get to shore safely and guided through this vast ocean, especially with our limited depleting resources and everybody chaotically paddling upon whim in every other direction. How, how, and more to the point, HOW, is what we all need to know. How to reduce poverty, increase GDP, cut taxes, build accountability, you know, things statesmen usually at least pretend to know about.

Yet conversely, you seem to have figured out Conti's politician and followed the creed by being the actor who doesn't really believe in his script himself but has the incredible skill to make everyone else believe in it. You pray on my dilemmas and emotions filling my gut with hate and anger up to the point of gargling my heart out in a blazing fire; 'The government stole your wealth, took away your chances for a living, and in heaven, they already confiscated your lot and leased out your soul'. Enough! You've outdone Lucifer himself, don't you have a better symphony to play upon; how can the government take money that I haven't yet earned, a chance of living I didn't strive for. Don't just tempt my greed for easy undeserved fortunes to be found in the golden city of Eldorado; which you say government has access to and I have to snatch keys for from their dead cold hands.

Durant said, the political machine triumphs because it is united minority acting against a divided majority. What are you, the opposition, doing to unite us, the utterly divided majority?

My Moment of Zen

I get it, you are using Truman's doctrine, if you can't convince them, confuse them. Well I'm bloody confused and mighty disturbed as well, happy now! I'm also deeply worried. Frost over the reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work. Don't get me worried; I have too much on my mind, besides being unemployed and hungry. Additionally, aside from being surrounded by incompetence, now the rest have lost any interest in working or contributing and above all caught in a vicious cycle of bigotry holding each other responsible for the current state of affairs. Worst case scenario, well, we can always blame the government. But unfortunately, it doesn't stop there, it has boiled over to the sum of all fears; we are disintegrating from within, and very rapidly. You walk into a Dewan today for a little social session and you get the sense you are walking into a battle zone. Most of the folks give you a mean look and after an irksome classification fashion you are fired upon with the question in a very interrogative manner, “Min ain ant?”, where are you from?. I'm Zex from planet Jupiter! What kind of a monkey question is that? Do I not look Yemeni enough to you! I later learned that the goal is to determine if you are a southerner or northerner, what village, which tribe, are you one of us, or 'them'. And 'them' is a very broad and loose term used for everybody who is not one of us. The lines have been drawn, and unconsciously an irresponsible murky war declared.

To Government & Opposition; Grrrrr! (growling)

I noticed you have been smirking and smiling a lot of late, the man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on, Bloch, well of course you have, the usual prime suspects at both ends of the spectrum, the government for all state failures, the opposition for all disorders hence failure, and terrorists for everything else. Fine, have your duels and snicker at each other's failures, but not using me as ammo. You see, I've come to understand politics after all, thanks to Hardman; The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites'. The lots of you vampires are feasting on my blood and worse, since you've gotten it through my head that I am useless, don't know what is good or bad for me, what I'm fighting or living for anymore, I might as well just lay still while you enjoy your meal on my back and occasionally be the sack of sand you playfully yet tactically throw out at each other every once in a while.

However, both of you are forgetting something here; there are much bigger issues at stake, ones you have been timidly ignoring. And I can't help but find a great resemblance in your approach to resolve between you and what Churchill once described as an appeaser being the one who feeds a crocodile, and hoping it will eat him last. The problem is, we have way too many crocodiles in many forms and shapes from poverty, corruption, to terrorism and state anarchy. You may feed the people to the crocs for being at the bottom of the food chain, but it will do you good to remember that supply is not infinite and disruption in the chain will eventually lead to your imminent starvation and your name being brought up next on the menu.

Pepper rightly stated that the mistake a lot of politicians make is in forgetting they've been appointed and thinking they've been anointed. Graves are full of those who thought life wouldn't continue without them. Everything changes but change, nothing is forever. No matter how gullible you think the people are, you should never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups, caught in a moment fueled by fury of accumulated burdens of injustice and hardships of basic livelihood, will unleash an unequivocal backlash. Remember what Twain said, even if the numbers of the people are skewed are a minority, it's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters; it's the size of the fight in the dog. Get your act together.