In Remembrance of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf [Archives:2000/24/Focus]
Aziz A. Alhadi
With this week, one year has passed since we began to mourn the loss of the ultimate citizen. Although a year has passed, the tragic death of Professor Abdul-Aziz Al-Saqqaf is no easier to understand now then it was a year ago when he lost his life to a senseless accident. Without question, the past year has been a very painful one for many, but perhaps in a selfish way , it has been especially so for those of us who learned from him through our work with him. We, in education, will likely always feel the loss. In this loss we lost a great champion of our cause, a great educator who spared no effort to promote this cause because he knew that without education there would be no action and without action, there would be no hope. His standing in this regards is evidenced by all his actions and through all his many contributions to society. All shared the central theme of promoting action through dialogue or education. Yes, education, because as the late William O. Douglas, an American Supreme Court Justice, said: “All education is a continuous dialogueÑquestions and answers that pursue every problem to the horizon.” With the many causes he supported, Dr. Al-Saqqaf clearly lived this mission of promoting continuous dialogue toward “every problem” in all that he pursued. Through his work in promoting free press, sound legislation, fundamental human rights and basic education, his cause was far-reaching and encompassed everything from prison reform to international exchange through education.
With amazing grace and a dedication and persistence matched by none, he pursued and promoted this dialogue in all spheres, on many fronts and through many institutions. From such diverse institutions like the Yemen Times to Yemen’s Senate and many more in between, his cause was heard. To reach further still, he even established organizations specific to the causeÑ evidence Forum 21, a NGO whose very name is dialogue. Dr. Al-Saqqaf was indeed very special. Always available on short-notice, he practiced everywhere: in the press, in government, in the circle of academia, in the community of donors, in his classroom and even (once) in detention. A year later, it is this man, this champion of education, action and dialogue for whom we mourn.
May God rest his soul in paradise and grant his family and friends peace and patience through his memory. And may God also grant the community of leaders, intellectuals and the soldiers, the wisdom, energy and the will to continue the pursuit of action through dialogue and education.