How to get rid of the crisis? [Archives:2007/1100/Opinion]

November 5 2007

Ahmad Al-Haj
Yemen is witnessing these days an unprecedented political action at the official and popular levels, and the most prominent aspects of this action at the official level is the initiative taken by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. This initiative is composed of ten major points for conducting constitutional amendments to touch upon the situations of executive, legislature and local governance.

When it comes to the popular level, the most prominent aspects of the political action are demonstrations and sit-ins, as well as the emergence of several political groups outside the umbrella of the officially recognized political parties. These groups include the Retirees' Society, National Solidarity Council and the Parliamentarians Union. As the reasons for staging demonstrations and sit-ins have become known to everyone, most of the observers and those interested in the Yemenis affairs raise various questions about these reasons, the timing of issuing such an initiative and the appearance of these political groups.

Observers also raise questions about whether such political developments are the product of a vital political action in Yemen or they are symptomatic of political confusion and chaos. As far as I am concerned, the positive aspect in the current political landscape in Yemen is not included in this initiative or the political grouping. Instead, it is part of an agreement between the government and the opposition. In the meantime, the state and the society agreed that there is a real crisis threatening unity and security of the nation while a national consensus has been reached for reviewing the way essential measures are taken to maintain the progressive course of unity, democracy, and the financial and administrative reforms before the crisis arrives at its climatic point.

Except for this positive aspect, all what is produced by the political action in Yemen is merely foams and political balloons that are impossible to survive for a longer period of time. At the official level, one can say that all what has been produced by the political kitchen and decision-making centers, which are part of the state's institutions in confronting political and economic crises and infringements, is nothing more than media banners and balloons that have nothing to do with the status quo. No positive achievements have been reached despite the fact that the President's initiative covered numerous positive points at the central and local levels.

Regarding the unofficial levels, the political and social action has failed to produce civil community organizations, parties and unions built on rigid foundations and proper principles. Over the past few days this action produced the type of organizations, which seem to be short-lived due to their sectarian or racist affiliations such as the Houthi Movement in Sa'ada, regionalist banners such as Retirees Society in South Yemen, or due to their blurry goals such as the Parliamentarians Union.

Some of the civil community organizations in Yemen have an ethnical color such as the National Solidarity Council. And, all these groups are merely political balloons that have nothing to do with the status quo. In fact, the reasons behind the state of confusion and chaos experienced in Yemen are internal while the state and its ruling party are primarily responsible for the unprecedented political congestion including confusion and chaos. In addition, civil community organizations and political parties are accountable for a small part of such a state of confusion and chaos.

To get rid of this condition that has become a source of trouble and fear about the present and future of Yemen, there should serous steps to change policies and strategies of the state and society as well.

As no one can say that there is no blame on the state for what is happening, but out of honesty, justice and fairness, the state alone may not be able to resolve the persisting problems unless the majority of people understand the threat, which these problems pose to their daily lives. One of these persisting problems is the rapid population growth in one of the world poorest countries and this problem necessitates joint efforts by the state, civil community organizations and political forces without an exception.

Source: Al-Wasat Independent Weekly