From Inflation in Yemen to Saddam to Al-Jazeera’s 10th Birthdaya [Archives:2006/998/Opinion]
Prices in Yemen
The counting of the ballots for the Presidential Elections in Yemen have barely finished and already the counter of prices began ticking rapidly upwards to once again confirm to the astute observer that it is always the Yemeni citizen that picks up the tab for everything. This includes the political games that people play, as the cutthroat merchant community in Yemen is the first to profit from all the fancy posters they pasted throughout the streets and rooftops, walls and ceilings of their large buildings during the election campaign period, by quickly putting a 25% to 50% price hike on just about everything. The question is how much must the people of Yemen continue to endure while the politicians, military brass, merchants and every type of villain that one can think of continue to eat away at the hard earned incomes of the now destitute middle class and the beyond impoverished low-income or no income poor, most whom live below the poverty line? This is without mentioning the helpless widows whose inherited real estate has been gobbled up by sleazy sheikhs or not so “prominent social dignitaries”, who only became prominent by the few hired guns that tag along with them wherever they go. Yet, they tell us Yemen is now approaching a new era of prosperity. The truth of the matter is that the new era is turning out to be a field day for all the “elite” of the establishment to do as they please with the people of Yemen, without even having the courtesy to say thank you Yemeni people for being so gullible and easily taken by all the false promises that are dished out by the official media and the well-organized grapevine that spreads the twisted truth to the uninformed who continue to hope that somewhere amidst all the evil that tarnishes the establishment there has to be some degree of conscientiousness. Wishful thinking, is all that one can say.
The Theatrics of Justice: Saddam's Verdict
The observer cannot help but make note of the fact that the issuance of the verdict against Saddam just so happens to come out a fortnight before the American Mid-Term Elections for the seats of the House of Representatives and the Senate, where the Republican Party is facing its hardest challenge since George Bush became the worst President of the United States in American History (Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, Republicans and Democrats, not to mention Whigs) and the worst world leader we have today! That Saddam is guilty of many crimes in Iraq and the region at large is unquestionable, but one would expect that the White House could have better taste than to tease the hopefully more intelligent American electorate with such phony theatrics. One would think that democracy does not lend itself to such corny theatrics, but if George W. Bush can become President of the good old USA for two terms with such a horrendous record of failure, it turns out that even the so called modern democracies can be goaded to believe anything that their sleazy politicians feed them. If it happens in the US, then it surely could happen in Yemen, as it has on so many occasions, and in so many other First World, Second World and Third World countries.
Happy Birthday, Al-Jazeera
Starting with a budget of US $ 5 million, Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel was launched exactly ten years ago and ever since then, the Arab media was never the same again. Yes, Al-Jazeera deserves to make a big celebration of its successful ten years of life, after its dedicated people have risked their lives to tell, not only the Arab World, but the world at large that the Arab Media is worthy of pride and fine professional delivery of news and information to an Arab public that has been fed nothing but lies and glorification of their impotent rulers for more than half a century of Arab Television (in all its manifestations). It is to the credit of the enlightened leadership of Qatar, that little small peninsula that juts out like a nipple on the southeastern fringes of the Arabian Peninsula, that Al-Jazeera was born, to the heartache of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the Brits, of all people, who had given the world the BBC (Hona London!), which was once the only viable source of credible news for the Arab masses. For its courage and adherence to professional credible news broadcasting, Al-Jazeera has sacrificed a lot of its valuable staff as martyrs of the truth, while some of are still in prison, for nothing except that they gave the news that was worthy of seeing and hearing, in a media world beset by manipulation on a grand scale. Carry on as usual, Al-Jazeera (or Aljazeera) and we look forward to your English Channel, which will be a benchmark media source for all the non-Arabs, who have also been mislead about the Middle East by the downstream Western media, which is under the domination of the International Zionist Establishment and the military industrial complex that dominates America.
Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.