In elegy of the loaf [Archives:2007/1102/Opinion]

November 12 2007

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh
Like the moon decreases when it goes through different phases until the end of every Hegira Calendar month, the same thing happens to the loaf in our country with a basic difference in favor of the moon, which, after a complete disappearance, returns to increase until it becomes a full moon by the middle of the month. But the loaf, despite reserving its circular shape, it keeps on shrinking and refuses to return to its normal size. These days, the loaf is on the way to change into a small bite.

Regretfully, what happens to the loaf takes place in the absence of effective monitoring by the concerned government agencies or the opposition. Also, people, who suffers the direct effect of loaf shrinkage, show no positive reaction to what happens to the loaf, which is about to disappear.

The prices of wheat and flour skyrocketed terribly ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, thereby reaching an unaffordable rate, and at the same time giving bakery owners the chance to raise the price of loaf. This also gave them a green light to reduce the loaf's weight, but during the holy month, prices of wheat and flour decreased gradually by at least 50 percent of the rising rates. However, the loaf continued to shrink as if wheat and flour are imported from beyond the sphere and its price should not be monitored because we are living in a capitalist country.

We all admit that the capitalists don't raise the prices of basic foodstuffs, and in the United States, which is pondered upon as the mother of capitalism, the bread never enters the market's speculation. In addition, the American people are the government and the monitoring agencies as well, and nobody dares to increase the price of loaf or mishandle its specifications. In this super country, there are various kinds of bread starting with the popular loaf until the loaf of cinema stars.

The absence of effective monitoring and control encourages greedy tradesmen to increase prices of foodstuffs and bakers to reduce the loaf's size. It also encourages tradesmen to commit several violations, which multiplied in bakeries of the capital city and other main cities of the country. It has not happened that we once heard a government agency raiding a bakery and investigating its owner for violating loaf specifications. And, if bakery owners in other Arab countries had learned about the scope of freedom allowed for their counterparts in Yemen, they would have shut down their bakeries and come to the country along with their bowls in order to enjoy such an unprecedented level of freedom. As there is neither specific weight nor a list of specifications for loaf production and no one is responsible for what people eat, the democratic conflict, which is the only prevalent phenomenon in this marvelous country, doesn't go beyond competition for power.

The majority of Yemeni citizens eagerly inspire that any of the government officials conducts a weekly or biweekly visit to the vegetable markets, bakeries or groceries to ask about prices of basic necessities. Concluding his visit, people will expect this official to explain to them why the prices of oil, soap and milk continue to skyrocket, and why the price of milk jumped up from YR 2,200 to 3,500 per 2.5 kg within a few weeks. Do the wars, which are taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan, have direct effects on our livings? And is such a small size of loaf part of the war? Is it the openness policy, which is said to make people eat Pizza instead of loaves?

Absence of the principle of reward and punishment in this country is the primary reason behind backwardness and deterioration of living standards, plus transgression of the tenets that make a stronger bond between natives and their homeland. Absence of this principle will only help the poor economic situations to exacerbate.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh is Yemen's prominent poet and intellectual. He is the director of the Yemeni Center for Studies

Source: Al-Thawra State-run Daily