Another Eid, more suffering [Archives:2004/790/Viewpoint]

November 15 2004

Eid Al-Fitr has come. It is now the time for Muslims throughout the world to enjoy the reward for patiently fasting throughout the month of Ramadan and get together with friends and family for a wonderful feast.
However, again one notices that there is a segment of the community that is not celebrating, and this segment has grown from last year significantly.
The poorest section of Yemen's population is still living on less than one US dollar a day. They are scattered everywhere in the country, but they are more visible in the rural side where they cannot beg or find governmental support.
Those people end up suffering more in Eid because it is the time in which they don't work and hence, don't find the means to support themselves.
For this poor segment of Yemen, a full day's work can barely be enough to bring home a few loafs of bread to eat. Hence, having to wait for a whole week without a source of income turns out to be a nightmare.
Statistics that are provided both by the government and independent institutions unveil a somber reality about a dangerously increasing level of poverty in every single sector of life in Yemen.
The hardships are truly biting, and little attention by the international community is being given to those suffering from them.
The good thing about Ramadan and the consequent eid is that people become more sympathetic towards the poor. As the final days of Ramadan approach the level of contribution to the poor increase until they reach the peak just before the eid.
However, a lot of the funds given are received by those who ask for them and knock on doors and gates. But for the majority of the poor, asking for alms or beginning is in itself unacceptable. Their pride and dignity prevents them from doing so.
Hence, those remain the most vulnerable that require more attention by the authorities and the international community.
As the press, we are merely conveying the facts on the ground. We know that there are millions living in terribly poor conditions in various areas of Yemen, particularly in rural and coastal areas in Tehama.
There were reports filed noting the incredibly unlivable conditions of people in the rural side of Hodeidah governorate. In some cases, humans would live alongside with their animals and would die of easily curable diseases because they don't have enough money to go to a doctor.
I hope I didn't ruin the mood of those who are now celebrating eid with joy and happiness. But I felt I am responsible to let you think about those who couldn't and cannot celebrate Eid the way that you do.
Let's keep them in our minds and try to work on helping them as soon as the eid vacation is over.
Happy Eid, and many happy returns