Financial aid for YemenDraining money down the toilet [Archives:2005/891/Reportage]

November 3 2005

Hakim Almasmari
Yemen Times Staff
[email protected]

Street beggars have become a sign of everyday life in Yemen, trying to survive from the very little charity they receive. It is a depressing depressed to see people having to feed their families only by spreading out their hands and accepting petty cash from richer, more successful members of the society, in a similar manner how our government needs financial aid from successful nations to aid its development. The Yemeni government has no dignity and shame as it continues to 'beg' from donor countries, in spite of having considerable wealth and sources of income that exceeds most other countries in the region.

Yet, many donor countries continue their financial aid to Yemen in order to provide the Yemeni people with a number of basic life necessities, such as literacy education and water purification from the governments of the European Union, democratic development from the United states or even garbage trucks from the government of Japan to pick up our own garbage for gods sake! If we can't dispose our own garbage successfully and we need aid in that, what good is our existence to the global community? How low can we continue to degrade ourselves?

It is sad to see our government waiting for foreign aid to provide what is considered to be an essential part of civilized life, indeed, the government is willing to wait until foreign countries feel sorry for the Yemeni people having to go through what we go through, and then offer donations and financial aid.

It is a fact that Yemen is sitting on considerable oil and gas reserves, resources which can fund giant leaps in economic and social development of the Yemeni people, yet, our government chooses to utilize these resources otherwise, with the primary of funding corruption in various governmental institutions and uphold the power of current regime through empowerment of its own self interest on the expense of development, hereby sustaining backwardness and an urgent need for foreign donations, similar to a beggar who chooses to use his own money for smoking, chewing Qat or even playing in the arcade and begs for his food and shelter.

Corruption from within governmental institutions is the reason for the current crisis. Through all of this backwardness, honest governance is what this country really needs; I think that Yemen's resources are better off unexploited and left for the betterment of future generations, rather than blown away by this generation.

All governmental officials live in mansions and palaces costing the state millions of dollars, meanwhile, having personal servants and body guards by the dozens is an unlawfully given to them by our corrupted government. Even though they already have all of this, ironically, they still open their hands to donations given to them from donor countries as long as they have a cut of it or a personal interest in it.

The Capital city of Sana'a is in the mid of water crisis, so the logical decision to make by the Yemeni government was to beg countries to offer us financial assistance to improve Sana'a water supply, days later countries such The Netherlands and Germany answering our call and pledge to give millions of dollars to help solve our water crisis. Complaining of problems in the health sector? Nothing to worry about, the government will just beg some more. What do you do when our environment is going bad? “Aah excuse me, we need a little help please”. This phenomenon continues in long trails.

As an ally in the war on terrorism backed by the United States, Yemen receives substantial aid from the U.S. government such as the $18 million paid in financial assistance during this month alone. Yemen's peace treaty with Saudi Arabia also allowed the government unimaginable financial support. These on going problems have slim chances of ending soon. Even with the raising of subsidies on products, and the government receiving much more from customs and taxes, the dilemma seems to only to grow. Therefore, we ask ourselves, where are our great numerous resources? What happened to all the promises that were given and were supposed to be accomplished by the present day? I would like to remind officials that what they do really reflects on its citizens, and when the government loses pride and honor, the people will lose faith in the government as well.

Our government is looked upon as a mirror reflecting to the people of Yemen in the international community. Our country is not in need of financial support from other countries, what Yemen needs is a system for governance and utilization of assets and resources. Yemen is rich country in a natural resource but it lacks honest governerance, and will always be looked down at by its neighboring countries as long as we continue to look down at ourselves through loans and financial aid. We have to change from within our mentality then slowly we will notice the world around us become brighter, furthermore offer us more opportunities for a better tomorrow.