DETERMINATION [Archives:1999/06/Viewpoint]

February 8 1999

I would like to call this quality “determination”. Determination is an important value that helps bring success. It is especially necessary in times of hardships and difficulties.
Today, the Republic of Yemen lives through hard times. There are tribulations of various kinds, including the following:
1. Economic Hardships:
The country’s income from oil has fallen by 50%, because of the fall of oil prices in international markets.
The country’s income from tourism has fallen by 80% because of the kidnappings and violence.
The rate of unemployment now exceeds 40%, and is more problematic among the young and educated.
The interest rates have gone up, leading to scarcity of capital that can be borrowed by entrepreneurs.
New investments – whether local or foreign – has not been forthcoming.
2. Security Problems:
The level of violence has been rising. While low-level violence permeates different strata of society, open crimes have become very common. Most companies and even individuals have now employed special security services and body-guards because they have concluded that the formal security system does not provide adequate protection.
The implication of this on foreigners, especially tourists, has been disastrous.
3. Political Uncertainty:
The opposition parties continue to call for national reconciliation. This is often understood to mean their participation in the power structure. The ruling People’s General Congress, having control over the army, bureaucracy, official media and the public coffers, says it is willing to compete in direct elections, which it is assured to win. The uneven competition means that the PGC will remain in power for a long time.
4. Administrative Failure:
The government administrative capacity has fallen to unprecedented levels. Almost no function of government is free from corruption and inefficiency. Actually, some organs do not function any more.
In short, no bureaucratic service is available unless there is a direct payment of bribes. As a result, the poor who cannot afford to bribe bureaucrats get no services.
The situation is distressing, to say the least. But, it is exactly these situations that call for more determination to face the challenge and rise above it. Instead of being frustrated, the people of Yemen need to persevere and conquer the difficulties.
It may be easy to say this. It may be easy to ask people to rise up to the challenge. But, if there are enough community elders and leaders who can mobilize the people of Yemen, it can happen. It has happened before many times. It has to happen again. The alternative to rising up to the challenge is disastrous.