Change is Near [Archives:2001/21/Viewpoint]

May 21 2001

Eleven years after the Republic of Yemen’s flag was unfurled high in the sky, the nation is feeling the sincere intention of H.E. President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bring about massive and drastic changes. He seems determined for Yemen to catch up with the rest of the world, and that the Yemen of today should not stay as it was 10 years ago. Many things have changed, and there is little time to waste.
The world has come to a stage where information technology, education, human resources, economic efficiency, and many other issues should be given much importance in Yemen.
I can personally feel that the president is keenly noticing how the world is changing around him yet how Yemen is still in the same place. He probably feels that it is about time Yemen moved on with the rest of the world.
No doubt, Yemen’s significant strides in the democratic rights and press freedom have given it a sparkling image. Yet, there is a lot left to be achieved.
Yemen suffers from severe problems in all aspects. These problems may be challenging and tough to resolve, but never impossible to solve given the political will. We still have the time to do our utmost in this regard and tackle the problems one at a time.
The president’s realization that there is no arms race in the region made him halt the implementation of the compulsory military service. This wise decision has been received with admiration and optimism.
Indeed, this is no longer the era in which the number of soldiers is important. It is the era when the machinery, technology, and skills are of more importance. It is quality not quantity that counts these days, not only in the military, but in each and every sector in the world.
Change is coming, one can sense it. The president needs to consult with people who are out of the country to get a clear image of Yemen’s rank worldwide. Being bogged down by the counsel of the old syndicate, who have outdated minds and thoughts, will result in misery and suffering for this nation.
The cordial relations forged with our brotherly neighbor countries are yet another boost for our development process. Just as Yemen cannot be ignored by its neighbors, we cannot ignore the fact that those neighbors have developed and improved rapidly. Why not learn from them and share with them their ideas and experiences.
Just as a Saudi diplomat friend said once, “It is in our favor as Saudis that Yemen improves its standard of living, security measures, and social life. It serves best for both of us to live peacefully and have Yemen integrate itself after years of isolation.”
Indeed, it is in the interest of all countries in the region to have the standard of living of each as close to the other as possible. This will result in less smuggling, more cooperation, and better trust.
It is not too late. It can never be so. All that is needed is commitment and dedication. Hard work must follow from now on to limit all the negative phenomena in this country and have it develop in all sectors.
With the latest measures adopted by the leadership I feel optimistic that things will change for the better and I hope you have the same feeling too.