Four years after his unfortunate deathRemembering Dr. Al-Saqqaf [Archives:2003/638/Viewpoint]
Today, we mark the fourth death anniversary of Prof. Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, the founder of Yemen Times. On this day in 1999, specifically, on June the 2nd 1999, a tragic traffic accident on Hadda street just two kilometers away from the Yemen Times premises, led to the death of Dr. Saqqaf amid shock in the whole country.
Recalling that day makes me shiver from deep within. “How can this happen?”, “How can he die?” is what many were shouting minutes after his death was announced from the morgue at the Thawrah public hospital.
Those who knew Dr. Saqqaf would recall his unique personality and special characteristics that can seldom be found in one individual. How can you find a person who is hard working (working from 4:00 am to 9:00 pm every day), generous, kind-hearted, honest, strict, courageous, humorous, and social like Dr. Saqqaf? But there is something about Dr. Saqqaf that some didn't like. That was his impatience when seeing by injustice and degradation caused to others. He used to slam those who commit wrongdoing -openly and with no regret- with strong and harsh remarks that others never dared to say. He would challenge people as influential and powerful as one could imagine when it comes to right and wrong. Who else could have written an opinion title such as “Thieves cannot build nations!” or “The cronies create enemies for the President”? I do not have any other name on my mind, do you?
Dr. Saqqaf may have left us physically, but he continues to be with us mentally. He continues to live in the hearts of millions of Yemenis and good world citizens throughout the world. We should not forget that he also left behind a huge enterprise with the name of “Yemen Times”. This establishment will carry on his message and convey it to the world. We have promised that Dr. Saqqaf will always stay in our hearts and minds, and we are going to keep our promise.
As we look back, we see how the spirit of Dr. Saqqaf kept us all working hard, and doing the best we can to promote his ideas and principles through Yemen Times, which continues to be the preferred source of news for readers in Yemen and abroad. Its reports are truth and are written under no pressure and with an impartial and balanced stance. It continued its same independent path, which indicates the mighty foundation stone that its founder had laid when starting this giant project, which started as a weekly, but now comes out twice a week.
As my father, I would like to convey to Dr. Saqqaf a message of peace and say that family and friends did not turn us down. Everyone was helpful for us, and we will continue so stay as a strong family applying the decent principles that you taught us.
As my former Editor-in-Chief, I would like to say, “You have established the paper, set up the plan, and drew the lines. You now can rest in peace while we carry on your message. We promise to be as hard working and as ambitious as you wanted us to be. Trust in us, and we will not turn you down.”