Goodbye, Yemen! [Archives:2008/1135/Community]

March 6 2008

Let me tell you about some excitement in the course of Yemeni lives that made me feel uncomfortable to be in the same country.

I paid a three-day visit to Taiz, during which my friend hosted me at his workplace, the travel and tourism office. A major catastrophe noticeable particularly in Taiz but generally all over the country is abandoning Yemen through immigration. I was aware of such flight as countless citizens of varying ages flew to my friend's office seeking immigration help to travel either legally or illegally.

Are these summer excursions just to the beaches and mountains? No, these tragic exoduses mainly involve looking for any type of work to settle their families' lives and be able to keep pace with the daily meals.

When most of our population immigrates to destinations abroad, they never feel homesick or think of returning because they enjoy no harmony or compatibility with their country. Instead, they see themselves as nothing more than marginalized in their own country. With some remorse, they wish they had the good fortune to be born somewhere other than Yemen. All of us in Yemen are looking for work or a chance to go abroad with a sense of momentum and hope. Immigrants are steadily carving out space for themselves in the world's largest economies.

Particularly those who are well educated, full-fledged and qualified enough are unfortunately unwelcome in their own country to have the positions they deserve. They complain about the gap between Yemen's image and its reality. Promises pile up regarding fulfilling dreams we never could've realized in our native country. We believe it's impossible for the jobless and unemployed to have their cake and eat it too.

The question everybody may ask is why are most Yemenis – children, youth and the elderly – reluctant toward their own country and patiently awaiting any glimmer of hope to immigrate for the sake of work or study to find a better life? The existing situation no more predicts a brilliant future or grants any chance of loyally serving our country.

Citizens have absolute confidence that their leaders won't take the dramatic steps necessary to provide peace and economic stability. Fairness, justice, security and sharing of equal opportunities are buried and are lacking in our society.

It's like our government and its people are in a sinking boat, with each one desiring to secure and save himself alone.

Allow me to speak freely of what comes to mind and what is so peculiar if we don't tell the truth to ourselves.

What about democracy and freedom? Is it enough and is it heading the right direction?

With respect, democracy in our society still hasn't been born and is a misunderstood word regarding its meaning.

In fact, our nation's problem is quite simple and obvious and due to the absence of democracy. In a country where true democracy exists, its ruling party is making extraordinary efforts, like servants of their country and its nation.

Certainly, we dream of freedom of speech and one hears citizens still gossiping about democracy and the necessity for changes wherever you go. However, when the time for elections and casting votes comes around, no one is able to say “No” to self-interest lovers. If those top officials and responsible parties are aware that they are raised to such thrones only by our approval through a truly democratic process, they no doubt will address our needs and claims. Other occupied peoples all over the world immigrate to escape the outside enemy, but we in Yemen immigrate as refugees escaping our own leaders and ruling party. If there were true democracy, it would ensure our rights.

Every day, our situation goes backward, not forward, and we are poorer than ever. To sum up, I don't think we should settle for nothing and be easy prey for poverty and other spreading risks to our citizens. The fact of night is that there is no sun…