Celebrating Yemeni Unity [Archives:2007/1052/Viewpoint]

May 21 2007

As a Yemeni citizen, I am proud of the Yemeni Unity as an achievement not only for Yemenis but also for all Arabs. And as the anniversary is being celebrated currently, I feel happy recalling this achievement and what it signifies. But as a human being, my happiness is stained because I know that in essence, there hasn't been much to celebrate anyway. The fact that my country is at war makes the celebration incomplete. And the fact that the living standard for my people is deteriorating rapidly is even more heart breaking.

This year the celebration is taking place in a new governorate called “Ibb”. It used to be the green valley of Yemen, and still is greener than the rest of the country relatively. I had been in Ibb earlier this month, for the first time, and I am not sure I will be going again any time soon, at least willingly.

Being trapped most of the time in the capital city, despite the huge pollution and massive traffic jams, I still think one can get by from day to day. But when I was in Ibb I remembered how less fortunate the other cities, let alone towns and villages, of Yemen are. Most if not all, of the investment takes place in the capital, and hence the influx of migration from all around the country heading to the capital has never been higher. The idea of celebrating the Yemeni unity every year in a different city is a great one. Especially that a lot of funds and planning is dedicated to these cities on the occasion.

Only to every good story there is a dark side. And unfortunately for this nice gesture there are a million ones. The experience of last year in Hudeidah is still fresh, where many of the projects were not completed on time and many were under financed, despite the allocation of funds from the beginning. The explanation is that a chunk of the dedicated budgets simply disappeared on the way.

If only we can learn from our mistakes and try to save face even once. Some of the projects that were supposed to be completed in Ibb have not been accomplished until now. The pace at which the work was taking place was not adequate and even with less than three weeks to the date, when I was in Ibb, I realized this myself. A fact that made me wonder where the supervisors were and what were they doing while the work was slacking?

But still we celebrate our unity because we want to be united. The Yemeni unity is a good thing, everything else is not.