Arab governments need overhaul [Archives:2004/799/Letters to the Editor]

December 16 2004

Farouk Al Samawi
[email protected]

Thank you for writing about the governor of Aden and his responsible act, when he chose not to spend public money on un-necessary propaganda.
I am glad you had the courage to write about a specific person by name. That is the way we can make a difference, not general statements about nameless people.
I am a Yemeni-American and I cannot help but to compare western people's relationship with their governments and that of the Yemeni people and the Middle East.
It seems to me that when there is a holiday here in the U.S. the president is the one who extends his warmest wishes to the people, but in Yemen we do the opposite. Believe me I have nothing against president Saleh. As a matter of fact I think he is one of the best in the Middle East. Actually I don't think he even asks people to kiss up to him as they do. I think it is the people around him that are always competing with each other as to who is the most loyal.
I was impressed when I heard president Bush say he was “honored” that some of his cabinet agreed to work for him in the second term. In the Middle East, however, cabinet members are honored to be kicked by their presidents.
The relationship between the government and the people should be reversed in the Middle East.
I am of the belief that the illiterate farmer in the village who is working hard all day behind his oxen is the boss. Not the military officer with the pressed uniform running around Sana'a with his escort terrifying people (and not stopping for red lights).