Ceremony In Commemoration of the Late Dr. Abudulaziz Al-Saqqaf Remembering a Great Man [Archives:2000/23/Reportage]

June 5 2000

The first death anniversary of late Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf was organized by the Yemen Times last Saturday at the police officers club in Sana’a. The ceremony was attended by members of the Consultative Council, ambassadors, university professors, students and journalists.
In the beginning of the ceremony Mr. Walid Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf welcomed the participants and referred to the colossal loss the Yemen Times suffered by the death of Dr. Al-Saqqaf. He highlighted how the departed leader was able to groom the Yemen Times until he made it a press establishment strong enough to confront the challenges. He said that the Yemen Times was founded to be a symbol of the spirit of freedom and ethics of information.
In his speech, Chairman of the Consultative Council, Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani shed light on the contribution of Dr. Al-Saqqaf as a member in the Consultative Council. He recalled how he volunteered to shoulder the responsibility of the most demanding issues such as human rights. “He was full of ambitions, one of which was the Yemen Times. This newspaper was the one with which we sometimes agreed and in others did not,” he said. He added that although he sometimes disagreed with him, Dr. Al-Saqqaf was worthy of love and respect.
On the other hand he lauded the efforts of the Yemen Times newspaper headed by Mr. Walid Al-Saqqaf. “The Yemen Times represents press freedom at both local and international levels. We will defend the Yemen Times as well as freedom of expression,” he concluded.
After that a film depicting the life of Dr. Al-Saqqaf was screened. The film showed his studies, his local and international awards, the stages the newspaper went through in its relentless struggle for truth and justice as well as a brief reportage on the seminars and workshops organized by the paper.
On behalf of the journalists, Mr. Mahboob Ali, chairman of the YJS delivered a speech highlighting the outstanding characteristics of Dr. Al-Saqqaf’s personality. “Today we have gathered here to pay our respectful homage to a distinguished person, a professional journalist, a perspective intelligent politician and an advocate of human rights. We pay tribute to a man as great as a political party,” he said. He highlighted his multifarious activities as the founder of the Yemen Times, of the committee of freedoms in the Consultative Council and as a professor in Sana’a University. “The death of Dr. Al-Saqqaf was a great loss not only for journalism but for the entire country. We in the YJS have decided to name the lecture halls in the syndicate after him and the journalist card no.1 will bear the name of Dr. Al-Saqqaf,” he concluded.
In regards to Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf’s activities in the Consultative Council, Mr. Abdulhamid Al-Haddi, member of the Consultative Council in Human Rights Committee, said “Dr. Al-Saqqaf did his utmost to make the unity as well as social solidarity take roots. He devoted himself and his efforts to raise awareness among the people and intellectuals to understand that constructive criticism is of prime importance for development. Advanced technology and information revolution require – in his thinking – drawing up an agenda of studies and plans that ensure progress and development of the country. He used to emphasize that people should be given the freedom to think and create which is the main basis for realizing comprehensive progress in different spheres of life. When he established the Yemen Times, he wanted to build bridges of contact between Yemen and the outside world. He used to believe that we can never make any progress unless we keep in touch with the other countries of the world. He used to have strong relations with many local, regional and international personalities for the benefit of the country.
He was highly qualified, competent, very helpful, courageous and dependable.”
Sana’a University used to be his second home. He was very much admired and loved by his students. On behalf of Sana’a University’s staff, Dr. Sa’eb Sallam, chairman of Business Management department at the Faculty of Commerce and Economics, said “Dr. Al-Saqqaf had impressed me most by his tenacity, hard work, great ambitions, being modest and his strong character. He was unique in every thing. He used to be a great teacher, a professional journalist, a successful manager and a well-respected father.
He was actually an example to be followed by all. It is almost impossible to find a person like him. He a keen vision on how we can improve and develop. Although he had a short lifetime, he had done a lot for his beloved Yemen. His sons have proved to be as great as he was. Many a person thought that the establishment of Yemen Times would be closed after his death. However, his sons proved that it will continue to carry the same mission and with the same pace.”
Dr. Saqqaf played an important and dynamic role in establishing and supporting the NGOs. Mr. Abdulaziz Qassem, chairman of Al-Tadamon Non-Governmental Organization, delivered a speech in which he said “Dr. Al-Saqqaf’s prime attention was to establish NGOs to shoulder the responsibility of modernizing the society. He has represented Yemen in different regional and international meetings. He was dreaming of achieving a comprehensive reform in all spheres of life and to establish the civil society organizations. He was an absolutely distinguished personality.”Dr. Al-Saqqaf was loved by lots of people. Dr. Mohammed Al-Maitami delivered a speech on behalf of his friends and said “Three hundred and sixty five days have elapsed since Dr. Al-Saqqaf left us. News of his death dismayed everybody. He was a strong supporter of human rights. He used to fight corruption and corrupt people. He was a relentlessly struggling for fighting the misdeeds of influential people. He left us at a time he used to say “I have a lot of things to do.”He was in the prime of his life and accomplishments. He has left a very wide gap too difficult to bridge. He was very friendly even when he used to disagree with others. His unforgettable memories are a lot. What I can recall now is when we were in Taiz during Ramadhan in 1996. It happened that we were driving a car. However, he suddenly stopped his car and started staring at a small boy in the street. That boy was an orphan standing outside a clothes’ shop. His eyes were full of tears, the small orphan was looking at another boy whose father was buying him Eid clothes. The greatness of Dr. Abdulaziz was marked when he went out of his car, took that child, went into the shop and bought him a new suit, shoes, etc. That was Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf.”