From the Kingdom of Sheba,To the kingdom of poverty [Archives:2005/889/Culture]

October 27 2005

Hakim@[email protected]

Yemen has always been known for being home of one of the greatest kingdoms in ancient times, while in the present is touted as a positive example for democracy and change in the Arab world, unfortunately when comparing Yemen's situation to that of the past, you would be surprised to notice that not many improvements have taken during the past twenty years.

Roads, electricity, high-rise buildings, modern enterprises are some of the things we didn't have 20 years ago and are described by locals as a great achievement. However, are these really what describe prosperity in a country? Comparing Yemen's living standard to that of the past, many would consider to return to the old way of living.

It seems like the more modern and developed our country becomes, the more poverty and unemployment become noticeable. This is definitely not what development gives back in return. Many countries strived to produce a positive development strategy, and in return are eating the fruits of their successes, while people in Yemen continue to drown in poverty.

Countries like China, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and even The Philippines all have witnessed a great improvement in its people's living standard during the past few decades, and came out prosperous after long years of hard work. But unfortunately, when turning our view towards Yemen things are almost the opposite. Even with Yemen's uncountable natural resources, it still ranks as one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.

“Unfortunately every year that passes, Yemen seemingly appears in a more tragic situation then the one it was already through . From the Kingdom of Sheba, to the kingdom of poverty in the present”, said Abdul-Nasser Saleh, an 87 year old senior citizen. ” What happened to all the promises we were given 15-20 years ago? Our government used us to support its critical political agenda at that time, while on the other hand gave us nothing in return”, he added.

When asking a senior citizen, who managed to live through both era's, you will definitely hear a negative reaction about the current situation. “At least twenty years ago we had food on the table, I was living through my farm. Now a days I'm begging on the streets, you tell me what situation is better” said Mose'd Abdullah, as he walked angered and frustrated.

No, there weren't roads and electricity thirty years ago, but this in no way links with prosperity and a successful government. At that time, these things rarely existed in the eastern part of the world in general.

What really is a fact is that twenty years ago you would rarely find a beggar or families living under the poverty line in this country. People had crops and animals while they lived depending on their livestock, furthermore enjoying a peaceful life. Kindness and equality was spread among all people. The rich and poor were treated the same; every one was an ordinary citizen. Life was as simple and decent as it ever was.

Dating back to the late 1980's, the government promised to spread prosperity throughout the country, while vowed to introduce a unique natural gas project, which will allow the flow of natural gas to reach the houses of citizens without the hassle of going to buy gas tank. The conclusion? We don't even have appropriate electricity systems or even sewer systems until now, not to mention the natural gas project that we were promised. Basic essentials are still a serious lack in this oil rich Middle Eastern country.

Some unrealistic citizens believe that life is all about living a dream and don't realize that life is always full with unresolved problems, or even the fact that many problems take more then several generations to solve. However, what we are going through is the opposite. How could life be heading backwards after the great accomplishments we had in the past.

Tensions, disagreements, and emotions of this period are far more dangerous then in anytime in the past. People have lost patience and would resort to unlawful solutions to ease their problem.

Transparency International ranks Yemen the 42nd most corrupted country in the world. It also mentions that the gross domestic product (GDP) per citizen in Yemen ranked a whopping 211th of the 226 in total. This reveals that the poverty rate in Yemen tremendously higher then where it was previously in the past, while in the same time unemployment is a crisis that looks more like a growing nightmare.

Could this country return to the great height it once had, or will we continue to sink more? We hope that change is near, otherwise, expect crimes and problems to reach unpredictable levels.