As preparations go in full swing in the construction and maintenance of roads and other facilities for Unity’s 10th anniversary celebration, will the government make it on time? MISSION IMPOSSIBLE! [Archives:2000/18/Front Page]

May 1 2000

In preparations for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the birth of the united Yemen, Anniversary Celebration Committee has been formed to handle all the preparations for this event. The committee is supposed to carry out the maintenance and construction activities of roads, sidewalks, buildings, and other facilities. Such activities have become quite evident to everyone in Sanaa, and will soon be in Aden and other cities.
A great achievement is most probably the maintenance of the sewage system in Al-Rowda. The road from the airport does not have the old sewage stinky smell that used to disrupt the environment and bring unpleasant times to the visitors. Many streets are being maintained around the 70-m street. Several streets including parts of 60-m street are closed until today. It all seems to have started roughly one month before the celebration’s date. People were quite happy that cleaning and such activities are going so quickly and efficiently. These are simply things they are not used to! There even was a quote of a famous businessmen saying, “See, that means that if there is a political will, everything is possible.”
The 5-star hotel industry in the city is also satisfied as all rooms have been fully booked for the celebration.
Not only that, but preparations to completely furnish tens of VIP villas are underway. There has also been contracts signed in bringing hundreds of Arab servants from abroad just to serve the delegations coming from all over the world.
However, it is somewhat disappointing that all these actions that are taken in the last minute basis, did not include the unlucky neighborhoods that delegations will not pass by. Hayel Street is one of them. Add to that, the motorcycles are already forbidden in the streets of the capital.
On the other hand, a common thought is that it could have been much easier if there were a long-term plan for all of this long time before construction. However, despite the time restraints, and despite the rainy weather, the government believes that everything would be ready on time.
It is indeed a challenge, and almost an impossible mission. Can the government make it on time and have everything ready and as scheduled on 21 May?
The only worry that all Yemenis in Sanaa are having is “will all the enhancements and constructions continue after the delegations peacefully leave the country? Or is it just a temporary action for the duration of the celebration only?”
However, it was not always a happy story. Yemen Times discovered while making an investigative story on the Central Prison that hundreds of street sellers and car cleaners in jail. When asking the police officers why they have been put there, he replied “They will only stay for one month and then we will let them go.” It was quite a surprise to witness the confident tone of the officer. In response to our question asking why he was put in jail he cried, “We have done nothing at all. It is unfair to put us in these cells without committing any crime. I am afraid that my case would be like the other prisoners and spend my life forgotten in this damn prison.”Then we witnessed that the traditional fruits market on the 45-m and 70-m streets crossroads was actually displaced to an area far from the original spot. We then realized that the market will be pushed further away from the 70-road for the road constructions being carried out. Not only that, but we also learned the whole market will be lifted. We asked one of the sellers, what would you do afterwards? How will you make ends meet later? He replied, “We will simply continue to wander and run away from the police and municipality officers here and there. Else, I believe we will have to starve.”There has been news stating that there will be a clamp curfew on Sanaa City during the days of celebration. This would probably cause a lot of suffering and misery to many who depend on their daily work to earn their bread for the day.
Yet, we are all thinking of one thing: What if preparations were not completed on time? We hope there would be no reason to try and answer this question.