Following the Nov. 17 peddlers march: Peddlers still cry for help [Archives:2002/48/Reportage]

November 25 2002

By Abduh M. Assabri
Yemen Times Staff
SANA’A_Peddlers are the growing brigades of enterprising young people out to earn livelihood with new methods. They stand at gates of marketplaces like troops manning a welcoming reception. You see them at bus stops, street corners, and lanes displaying their wares and trying hard to catch the attention of bus driver, his sidekick and passengers.
Occasionally, they’d scramble vehicles, make quick sales before jumping off again. This is the reality of the Yemeni peddlers. “We have been chased for five days without gaining a penny to break our fast,” a peddler shouts.
They have been sunk into despair after their small businesses failed and came to an end.
Ahmed Hubaish, a peddler said: “It is time to leave the 10-year peddling business, what shall I do with my goods, no customers, no people to buy!! “Nothing to maintain for my family,” he desperately complained.
Ahmed Ali Qaed, another peddler, shaking his head despairingly, “Why only this month? Is it time for us to peddle our goods. Why do they shift us here,” he said desperately.
The new but temporary market called, Rainwater Course, or (Saela) has been shifted from all streets and corners to the rainwater course near Bab al-Yemen for peddling their goods.
“They are shifted to this marketplace because they have negatively affected the process of supply and demand of shop owners,” an official at the local council of Attahreer District commented.
It is true that the market is spacious enough for peddlers to sell their goods, but the question is why only during the second half of the Holy Month.
Several questions have been raised when I made a short but heartbreaking tour of the new temporary market allocated near Bab al-Yemen.
“This area is allocated for street vendors, we are trying to bring them all to this area to be as a marketplace for them. So they don’t sell on the streets or the areas which the law for cleaning doesn’t allow,” Fatema al-Huraibi, the Director General and the Secretary General of the Local Council of Attahreer District told the Yemen Times.
“This is a temporary marketplace till the end of Ramadhan. They complain because they don’t have any customers, which is true. People don’t know about this new marketplace,” al-Huraibi further noted.
The new market for the peddlers was officially inaugurated by the Mayor of the Capital Secretariat for informing the public of the new market.
On the other hand, Sheikh, Fahmi al-Azzani, a prominent local council member of the PGC has initiated his talk by thanking the Yemen Times staff for dealing with such vital issues.
“First let me seize this opportunity to thank the Yemen Times for exerting strenuous efforts in dealing with such issues and I’d like to present my heartfelt congratulations to the president of the republic of the Holy month of Ramadhan and the advent of the Eid al-Fitr,” he highlighted.
“Personally speaking, as far as they toil away day and night for the sake of their families as well as for their livelihood, what is needed is to allow the peddlers to sell their goods during the latter 15 days of Ramadhan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr” he commented.
“We have previously presented a well-studied plan to the bodies concerned to find the suitable solutions for thousands of peddlers during the Holy Month of Ramadhan for they are prevented during the whole year around,” the Seikh further commented.
For a satisfactory and suitable solutions for the city Sana’a peddlers he proposed: “The alternative marketplace for peddlers should be allocated for each district respectively and then the profession of peddling has to be started after the Holy Month of Ramadhan.”
The allocation of the marketplace was proceeded by an angry march staged by city peddlers in Sana’a on November 17 for they peddle on streets and corners which according to the officials have defamed the Capitals’ streets because they are “public places”.
“Rapacious ways used by the municipality employees against peddlers have created a sense of resentment among the peddlers as well as the public,” a passerby commented.
Journalists also were denied of photographing the march. It is worthwhile mentioning that these afflicted individuals are the hapless victims of destiny. They could do nothing but to take up this activity, especially in such deplorable economic conditions they have no control over.