In light of the CHF aCCESS-MENA report In Yemen, the future is even more dismal [Archives:2007/1103/Opinion]

November 19 2007

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
The ACCESS-MENA (Alternatives to Combat Child Labor Through Education and Sustainable Services in Middle East and North Africa) findings on Yemen as given in the Yemen Times last Monday gives a lot of fuel for thought. The ACCESS-MENA program is sponsored by CHF (Community, Habitat and Finance) an NGO that seeks to advance democratic practice and advance the welfare of communities through supporting programs that cater to pedagogic issues and children's social welfare, especially in least developed countries). The numbers entailed in the report cited above are frightening and indicate that there is substantial work needed if Yemen is to get on the right track of development and progress and get out of the pit of continuous social and economic deterioration. For all intents and purposes, it could be said that the Government of Yemen has failed in arranging its priorities and channeling the meager resources of the country towards realizing the greatest benefits to the people now and in the future. In fact, one can surmise that there is almost a deliberate effort to ensure that Yemen never gets on the right track towards enhancement of the social welfare of the people of the country. The obvious implication of having more than 55% of our children of school age out of school is that Yemen is bound to keep at least more than half of its population at starving or near starving levels for a long time to come. Another connotation may be seen in that the overwhelming majority of the population will remain under the mercy of a sleazy very small minority (far less than 1% of the population) that has full access to the resources of the land and full control of the channels of authority, information, finance, education and even foodstuffs). The rest of the population will be prevented from any access to these important factors of sustenance and sustainable growth and development by the mere fact that they have been denied access to the knowledge needed to find the avenues to these vital factors, let alone to make use of them to further advance their lives. It is a terrible picture that the ACCESS-MENA report clearly shows, when most of our children have been confined to serfdom status for at least two generations to come, assuming that the Lord Al-Mighty will finally cleanse the helms of authority from all the evil that has corrupted the functions of Government systematically and deliberately. Eventually, this is leading to the deterioration of the society to the point that the Yemeni people are denied any access to any of the resources of the land, and intentionally kept ignorant from any know-how to improve their lot in life.

The report in fact paints a frightening picture of a society mesmerized in the quest for simply surviving, while the chosen elite, who have in one way or another been allowed to dispossess the Yemeni people of the resources and mechanisms by which they can realize their own personal hopes and ambitions and the overall aspirations of the nation at large, live in lavish splendor and extravagance far beyond all the acceptable moral and ethical standards that are allowed by religious dictates, as well as the mundane provisions of man-made laws and social legislations.

It is really a sign of irresponsibility on the part of government, if more than half of the children of the land – the hope for the future – are left to have all their hopes for survival in the future limited to whatever they can find by searching in the garbage bins. Already, this has become a widespread scene that can be witnessed throughout the unnecessarily crowded cities, as the impoverished rural people are forced to flock to these under-resourced cities in search for a mere fraction of the lavishness displayed by the horrendous mobsters, who have become the masters of the hopeless destiny that they have put in place for the overwhelming majority of the Yemeni people, young and old, rural and urban!

To what extent can the unforgivable methodical and frighteningly meticulous degradation of Yemeni society in all aspects continue?

Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.