Freedoms and authorization what next? [Archives:2006/962/Opinion]

July 10 2006

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
There must be an emphasis and recognition that the freedom of expression is the basic remedy and no political reform can be achieved without good space for criticism and expression.

Even after its creation, the political reform will mostly suffer from a speedy setback if there is no free criticism of its practices. Even a good political system will renounce its commitments and performance in the absence of criticism. Also, the genuine political reformist needs, more than the dictator, to be assisted with criticism. Despite my deep belief and faith in the significance of the freedom of expression and that it is the first important step on the road to reform our Arab region is in dire need of, it is a freedom deserving many lessons and reconsideration; it is not as easy an issue as it appears.

The responsibility in this regard is heavier on shoulders of media leaders, such as journalists, as well as specialized trade unionists and organizations, in offering visualization on the meaning of freedom and its boundaries. Maybe the simplest means for drafting the concept of freedom is to be acquainted with systems and regulations existent in societies that have great experience in this field, evaluate them and copy them if there is no better local alternative.

Here, the freedom of expression will face the familiar hindrances on part of the society or by workers in the profession of journalism themselves. Various forces of society do not want freedom impinging on their privileges. On the other hand, journalists want to practice freedom without limitations; they accuse, they libel and even defame! Members of society do not want anything from the conflict of expression except for security, work, honorable living and suitable care. They do not oppose accounting their accusation, if they exist in the conflict of free expression that is in need of protection. The smallest gun is able to muffle and silence the largest printing press.

If the regime is not convinced that accepting freedoms and their protection and that they are in their interest in the long run, there will be no reform or development and the society would remain suffering from its ills that have not been talked about, and the political system will remain as it is. In fact I have become acquainted with different experiences in our region that I have never known before, and they deserve consideration; some of them in legal areas and others interested in promoting transparency.

The emerging Yemeni democracy is facing very strong social and political hindrances because of the incompletion of the state's institutional structure as the state is playing a marginal role in the public life of the people. Its role is not yet reached deep enough to the level of legal impartiality that it plays without paying attention to the will of the tribal and military governance or of both of them. Here the need for reformation of the political playground, for which many wise people in our country have called, is confirmed.

Here we put before you Mr. President a very difficult task but it is a national duty which no less important that of the revolution and the unification. This fact is represented in effecting a new social revolution that would rob the corrupting parasitism alliance of their sleep that delayed and is still delaying our general social mobility, wearing away the economy and corrupting the political life. It is an alliance fully aware of its power and hegemony over the Yemeni present reality and poses a danger to everything. This necessitates a joint effort to put an end to it with genuine democratic governance and a supportive and pressurizing popular will.

The popular authorization grants you Mr. President more resolution and determination for effecting real changes in a state groaning from consequences of corruption, and to reform the economic, political and social situation in the homeland on the foundation of the state of law and order.

Therefore, Mr. President you can make the people's support a force for reforming what has been corrupted and destroyed by the old guard and its ally parasites. Can that happen with the beginning of the presidential election with a government capable of translating words into acts and immediate accounting of the dossiers of corruption to found the modern Yemen and the state of law and order?

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb is an economist and a professor in Political Science. He is the head of a number of professional associations, such as the Arab Group for Investment and Development