Don’t forget your roots [Archives:2004/800/Viewpoint]

December 20 2004

While I was in Washington DC for a short conference last week, I decided that this time, unlike earlier attempts, I must go visit representatives of the Yemeni community in New York City. After all, it has always been my deep desire to see what the largest Yemeni community in the USA was thinking about Yemen and its future.
With the assistance of Yemen Times NYC correspondent Shaker Lashuel, I was able to do this. It was an excellent opportunity to share thoughts.
But even before we went to the deep issues, I felt that they all missed their home, Yemen. Even if some of them did go to visit recently, it was obvious that the are still attached to their homeland.
Then a question was raised to me about how Yemeni immigrants in the USA could help Yemen in its development, and how they could assist those who are trying to develop the country from within.
I wanted to make clear that the minimum that one should do as an immigrant is to remember his country and not abandon it. “You should always think of yourself as Yemeni American and not forget where you come from. Once in a while try to remember your village and
grandfathers and grandmothers. Don't let your children forget where they come from,” I responded.
Indeed, that is the minimum Yemeni immigrants should do. Even for children of the second generation of Yemenis, this principle should be applied. It is healthy to show children of immigrants photos of villages and landscapes, of people and even animals, and to remind them that they have a duty towards that land that they belong to.
I felt tat this created emotions in the Yemeni immigrants I met, especially as we are going through a transition period with thousands of Yemenis now that are not able to even speak their original language because they have merged into the American community fully.Some readers in Yemen may think that this is an easy task. But from what I saw, it is extremely difficult to raise children to know their original language and be attached to their country.So immigrants who are able to do this need our appreciation and respect.
Some may try to blame Yemeni immigrants for not sharing the agony, misfortune and suffering that their countrymen may be going through in Yemen, but I could see that they also want this to change and for Yemen to go back to its glorious days of prosperity. They seem to have the intention to make change, and that is what made me happy and enthusiastic.
So, for all those Yemeni immigrants reading this, I want to reaffirm that even by reading this newspaper, you are supporting your country as it shows you still have bonds that would never be broken by time. Just keep up the faith in the future of your country, and keep on thinking about it. That in itself is a great contribution.