How revolutionary are we, truly? [Archives:2005/880/Opinion]

September 26 2005

In this 43rd anniversary of the Yemeni Revolution, there is a lot of discussion recently about how much of a success story have we made of all those who gave their lives and devoted all their energies to safeguard the revolution and maintain the Republican regime. While granted, we are far from being the true manifestation of any republic per se, there are those who would say that certainly had it not been for the Revolution, Yemen would have quite a different profile than what we are seeing at present. Now of course this argument can be taken for its positive ramifications as well as its negative connotations. Needless to say that there were indeed many genuine Republicans, who had wanted the 26th of September Revolution to be the launching of a Yemen that will once again take its rightful place as the vanguard state of the Arab World. There is a lot of heritage that lies within the high peaks of this very tested country and there is enough it to ignite a cultural leap that could serve as a model to all the other Arab states. But realistically, many opportunists have made much of these ideals somewhat dormant, if not subject to further inundation with a myriad of foreign intrusions and concepts that in many cases hampered the realization of the hopes of many of the true patriots, many of whom were the victims of elements of the very forces that they had hoped were at least advocating for the same ideals. Yes, the Revolution did pave the way for many Yemenis to rise to the forefront of the political spectrum and economic ladder, albeit not always in an open, transparent and responsible manner. For sure, the case would have been different if the Revolution had not prevailed as it did. There are also many Yemenis, who insist that Yemen is not yet where it should be economically, politically and culturally. For this reason, they feel that the true Revolutionaries have been let down by the succeeding generations that took on the helms of political activity in the land, while the remaining Revolutionaries, who have not yet passed away are frankly bewildered at what happened to all the ideals and the visions that the true patriots had espoused and saw as fitting enough for many of their fellow heroes of the Revolution to give their lives for? How did such a slip up occur? The blame for sure can not be confined to Yemen and the forces that worked to bring this situation about are not solely within the confines of the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and the Empty Quarter Desert. A myriad of foreign forces and influences played a significant role in not allowing the Yemenis to set an independent course for the country to take, this being sadly to say with the help of many of the opportunistic Yemenis, who sought to give themselves a place in the history of the country. However, these political opportunists, unfortunately were not guided by principles, or even patriotic inclinations. They were guided by the principle of “it's a dog eat doggie world. In such a world success is not gauged by ideals or principles, but get whatever you can, whenever you can and don't worry about the how, as long as you get there safe and sound, with a net worth and a niche in the establishment, that will do more than enough to satisfy the ego.

Yes, Yemen is revolutionary in spirit and Yemenis are great followers of causes that have entrenched values to steer them and which operate on high moral beliefs and the pursuit of an amicable position with the Lord Al-Mighty. But what happened over the ages is that even religion has been allowed to become dominated by petrodollar spiritualism that is anathema to the inclination of Yemenis by their nature and works strenuously to eradicate a thousand years of religious heritage, not only that of the Zeidi Sect, but also that of its sister sect, the Shafe'i sect, both of which are considered the most forward looking and enlightened renditions of the Islamic Message. Materialism has also crept into this country, set in by geography and a long history of migratory tendencies that kept the country in a long era of slumber and insensitivity to the rapid developments that the world witnessed over the past few centuries. For all this period, it seemed that the only way Yemenis were to take a genuine place in the world is “if they could only leave Yemen”, because, simply put, the obstacles to progress in Yemen were so enormous. The considerable size of Yemeni communities in a disparate configuration not subject to any geographical cohesion or relativity attests to this unusual “pioneering spirit”. Even after the Revolution, in both of its manifestations 26th of September and 14th of October, emigration remains the most successful path to honest success by Yemenis, while at home honest success becomes a mind-boggling challenge exaggerated ten fold by the prevalence of much evil that clouds the social fabric incessantly so. Yemenis are no doubt fatalistic in nature and quite often lay their aspirations on a consistent aura of optimism that is in itself also mind-boggling. Perhaps it is the strong faith in the strength of Allah to turn the tide miraculously, forgetting that the Qur'an has said “Allah does not bring change upon a nation unless the nation strives to bring change within itself!” So, in theory we could say that faith has been made to serve adverse causes and allow the forces of evil to have their way, politically, socially and economically. Even faith has become misunderstood: the faith in God and the faith in the Revolution. We are where we are today, because we have forgotten that unless we stand by our faith it its pure unadulterated format, we begin to even loose faith in ourselves as an industrious productive nation and our definitions of right and wrong, good and bad and all the other redeemable contrasts have become distorted for the most par. No this is not what the 26th of September Revolution was envisioned to produce. On the contrary, it is obvious that we have even betrayed that noble moment in our history and let much of what the Revolution came to relieve us of turn right back in a counteroffensive unleashed by the very elements that the Revolution sought to liberate. It seems that Yemen was bound to remain an abyss of paradoxes that still remain out of tune with the aspirations ignited by the many hopeful moments of Yemen's modern history: the September and October Revolution, the unification of both former sovereign parts of Yemen and as remote as they can be from a world that is vent on reaching globalization in all spheres of life. Happy Anniversary and many happy returns to all Yemenis, in the homeland and wherever they may be, as they are still in the hearts of the people in the homeland and the homeland definitely is still in their disappointed hearts (disappointed in us, of course for not being true to the Revolutionary spirit).