Great Deeds Deserve Sacrifice [Archives:1999/44/Focus]

November 1 1999

By: Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi, 
Managing Editor, Yemen Times 
History stands a witness that great events and deeds are not easily achieved. They are demanding and challenging at the same time. However they yield good fruits for the whole well-being of any nation and the world at large. For any society seeking progress and modernization, it will certainly be faced by a lot of pitfalls, ordeals and great challenges. But the most important thing is overcoming these challenges and standing tall. Of course, we can not face our challenges and win without any price in return. Some people lose heart in the implementation of reform and change. But they are very few. The fruits of change will reach the general public who suffer a lot and tolerate all ailments of corruption and lawlessness. This will come true as long as there is a strong will. The way to achieve those national goals are long and needs sacrifice. Yemen is a country caught in the web of lawlessness, corruption, illiteracy, shaky educational systems, poverty and other evils of such stuff. These problems give rise to others and all make our development scramble. These evils are there due to the absence of accountability due to the lack of a fair judicial system, not influenced by the big guys at the power center. 
Given rise to the vitality of a just judiciary in the life of any society, the most important thing the government should conduct is reforming the perverted judicial system, since it has an instrumental role in our life. To drive the point home, a fair and just judiciary yields stability since all people become equal under the provisions of law. In this context, a sound society free from social diseases like nepotism, favoritism, corruption, etc. will exist on earth. Our society is troubled with such diseases because of the absence of law and order and just and fair judiciary that can protect the rights of the rank and file. Violations of human rights, justice and law are very common in our society. These violations are committed by the people who have hand in the power center. Only commoners are held accountable and subjected to the application of the provisions of law. The big guys do whatever the like and are never held accountable. 
In Yemen, one should have a tribe to support and back him. Otherwise, he becomes an easy prey to every Tom, Dick and Harry. One has to be violent and well-armed to protect himself. In the absence of a powerful government, tribesmen of Khowlan can reach Taiz and kidnap their ‘enemy’ because of a conflict even over a small piece of land. Businessmen are blackmailed by some people due to the absence of law. In this way, most people feel they have no other choice except for taking the law into their hands. 
Feudal lords have left the screen of life in Europe a long time ago. However, they still exist in Yemen. In some areas in Yemen, shiekhs do still behave like the feudal lords of the medieval age. They even consider people their slaves and a part of their ownership. They have big chunks of land and have these under trodden people work on them. 
These people do not take any decision unless they get the approval of their sheikhs. What is more unfortunate is that these sheikhs have even their own jails. Any person who doesn’t fully obey his sheikh is considered mischievous and troublemaker and accordingly deserves the curse of the shiekh and his tribe. Moreover, he is put in prison owned by his sheikh. One can hear horrible stories from people living in such areas. I am not against sheikhs, but l am against the way they think of their people. These jails owned and made by sheikhs are against the provisions of Human Rights Declaration. 
The world will move into the third millennium with hopes, ambitions, knowledge to be achieved in the future. But we will move with a lot of problems including our feudal lords. What a scheme? 
It is high time we wake up and got ready for the future. Law and order and a fair judicial system should be prioritized in the agenda of the government since they are our passport towards a new modern and civilized society. As a matter of fact, I was happy to know about the execution of terrorists and destruction of the jails of shiekh in Al-Oden. I am also happy with the speech of president Saleh to the judges of Yemen sometime ago. These events represent a silver lining and a good omen towards putting an and to a time characterized by lawlessness, insecurity and injustice. 
However, I should say that the government should always show no leniency with any terrorists or feudal shiekhs. The government should continue its campaign against sheikhs-owned prisons all over Yemen with no exception. It should also make these sheikhs wake up and make them know that we are living in a country claiming to be democratic. In fact, people all over Yemen should feel the power of the state. Of course this act by the government will face a lot of problems and confrontations. The act will be challenging but fruitful. The result will be in favor of the government. The victory over these social evils, hindering our development deserve our sacrifice.