Backward developmentsOne after another [Archives:2005/873/Reportage]

September 1 2005

Hakim Almasmari
Yemen Times Staff
[email protected]

As we entered the 21st century, many questions arose. One that passed threw everyone's mind was, is our country going in the right direction, or not? Observing government officials while giving their lovely speeches, one would definitely say “yes”. Unfortunately it's the other way around. People only recently realized the crucial situation they are handling and are starting to prepare for a dark and unstable future.

World observers are noticing a shift in tone in Yemen's political agenda, as they are seemingly heading backward, while in the other hand authorities are not doing enough to prevent this country from future droughts and a possible full pledge catastrophe. A dedicated and honest government is the only solution to guarantee rapid success for the future of this long oppressed nation.

Despite its location in the oil rich Middle East, Yemen is still one of the poorest countries in the world. On going efforts to reduce poverty is usually heard of, but until now, no positive progress has been noticeable. Oil fields are drying out, water resources vanishing, and poverty rates reaching an unbearable sixty percent. Unemployment was running at almost 40 percent two years ago, not to mention the present situation, which could only be worse.

University graduates with no jobs reaching unimaginable numbers, while those who occupy jobs in some situations rarely get $1 an hour! According to the latest World Bank Report, forty two percent of Yemen's 21 million people live under the U.S $2 per day. Illiteracy rates are estimated near 50 percent in total, and a whopping 87% among the poor and lower class citizens.

Pledges and promises made are never given the importance they deserve. The government is ruled by a handful of uneducated tribes whom in return don't look for a prosperous future for Yemen. Sales taxes are the newest of our non-stop tragedies, and much more unknown hidden surprises coming.

Picturing Yemen ten years from now, and imagining the outcome of this on going episode, we ask ourselves one question, who is responsible for all these backward developments? Fingers pointing at one another are seen. People trying to desperately convince themselves that there could be hope in the near future. Is a bright future possible? Looking at the current circumstances our country going threw, I don't think so.

Developments, which are essentials of life, are considered by the majority of people, as a great success and a positive step forward. Government authorities are continuously being thanked for sacrifices and promises that have not yet been accomplished. Changes must come from within our mentality. Yemen is heading threw a one way dark passage, which has no way out, but turning back and returning threw the same path. What makes this issue even more horrifying is that most people don't feel responsible for what is happening, and for this they seem to lose hope on having any chance to change the current situations. In order to make a great leap, tremendous efforts must start immediately.

Almost eight percent of people in Yemen experience severe hunger, and cannot afford to buy food for themselves or their families. According to Naila Sabra, the UN World Food Program (WFP) representative for Yemen, Poverty has dramatically increased during the past two years, as officals are not giving poverty a great concern. She quoted ” Most of the funds are being spent on construction and does not reach the poor”.

Turning the view to a number of various issues, why are crimes spreading so vastly? Theft cases heard of on a daily basis. According to a recent survey, an estimated 50,000 mobile phones get stolen yearly in Yemen. Adultery noticed like never before, and has turned into a normal issue in our once called conservative society. Temporary marriages on the rise as wealthy Gulf citizens flock the country and marry young innocent girls whom many are under the age of 12. Polio cases reaching the hundreds, while hundreds more suspected to be carrying the deadly disease. I could only imagine what would be the outcome

Looking at the standard of living in other Arab countries and comparing them from were we are now, it's very sad to even compare. The success of the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990 was a sign of commitment to the people, but the bulk of its success vanished as time passed.

Incredibly awkward, authorities somehow manage to overcome any crisis it faces, turning a difficult to survive situation into a convincingly normal issue. I just wish that these great skills, which they possess in politics are used for the benefit of the people, and not the opposite.

People have lost hope for even having a chance for a bright future. The only perception that many citizens are worried about is, will our children's lives be better or worse than ours.

It is not too late for developments. Changes are always on the table and are like a deck of cards waiting to be picked up. God willing, if we follow the right procedures we can come out prosperous in this dangerous fight.