Do I owe my country when it offers me nothing? [Archives:2002/08/Focus]

February 18 2002

Mohamed Zaid al-Jerhoom
[email protected]
With due respect, I was delighted to come across my comment which was published in the last issue of your newspaper.
Regarding this article, I want to point out some pressing problems which are prevailing in our country. Yes, we claim to have established equality in our society. But is this reality? I believe not.
I just came back to Yemen four months ago, after four years of studying abroad. During my time away, I noticed that there were many members of one family having state-sponsored scholarships. When I asked them how they got their scholarship, I was surprised to learn that most of them were sons of Yemeni ambassadors, while the rest were relatives of VIPs and high-ranking officials.
As we know, scholarships are supposed to be granted to students who attain remarkable grades in their high schools. At least, that is according to government laws and regulations.
Instead we are giving the impression that sons of ambassadors and VIPs are more intelligent than other Yemenis. Were those born with silver spoons also given unique intelligence? Of course not. Sons and daughters of ordinary Yemenis are often much more intelligent.
Before leaving the country, I desperately tried to get a scholarship using my high scores as a basis. However, I failed to do so because I did not have a strong influential figure to help in my paper work in the official circles.
Why do the sons of rich and influential personalities have the right to enjoy sponsored education while we, regular citizens do not? I need some answers?
I don’t want to go further in this topic, as there would be no end to it.
The second point in my letter is also related to the first. After arriving to Yemen with my bachelor degree, I tried to get a job in the government. But unfortunately, I couldn’t, due to some alleged reasons including experience.
I referred to some job vacancy announcements in the government trying my luck but the officials asked me of a degree, which thankfully I do have. But they also asked for extensive work experience which was a major stipulation. But for Allah’s sake, how could I ever get work experience if I cannot even start working after graduation? I don’t blame private sector companies for not recruiting fresh graduates, as they are using their own finances and have no obligation to do so. Those companies need to spend a lot of money in training new employees, so they have a right to ask for experience.
But what about our government?
If both sectors have the right to ask for experience, then who is to blame for unemployment of fresh graduates? I do need an answer!
I would like to conclude by saying that constructive criticism is a necessity in order to change situations to the better, remove obstacles and look forward to a bright future for our next generations.
I believe that journalists have the power to push for change. The words that you publish in your publications can have bigger impact than artilleries. By criticizing the government, you are serving our country, even when you face restriction.
You have the obligation to underline problems that we are facing, including the points I raised. As the voice of the public, you are obliged to do so. Thank you for following through.
Finally, as a fresh graduate who studied hard to obtain my degree to serve my country, I have one final question to ask.
Do I owe my country something if mt country offers me nothing?