In the wake of Aden rioting Which democracy do we want? [Archives:2008/1122/Opinion]

January 21 2008

By: Ali Naji Al-Ra'awi
The most recent riots and vandalistic acts in Aden disclosed the irresponsible exploitation of Yemen's democratic experience by some unpatriotic elements. The majority of politicians, party leaders and civil community organizations strongly condemned the rioting that claimed lives of several innocent people. The way the so-called “Reconciliation and Forgiveness Rally” was staged reflected content of the request submitted to the relevant security authorities for obtaining a license to organize such a rally. The requesters had undertaken that the function will never go beyond the peaceful expression of opinion, which is constitutionally and legally ensured for all constituents of the Yemeni society. This is the request's content that had been dealt with by the local authority in Aden governorate with a high sense of responsibility.

However, what did happen in the field proved to be in total contrast of what was contained in the request, as it demonstrated a flagrant violation against the democratic values and principles.

The practices and addresses given at the event revealed that neither reconciliation nor forgiveness is the main objective of the huge gathering. Instead, the rally – which involved citizens from several governorates, who were deceived by some opposition leader,s infected with the hysteria of extremism and adoration for reaching power even through illegal means – intended to provoke chaos and violence. It was also intended to create hardly removable hurdles to the economic and investment development in the port city.

Having a glance at such false exploitation of democracy, the situation necessarily requires a social compromise on the type of democracy we want and how we want to practice it, particularly as the experience uncovered that some unpatriotic elements are attempting to explain democracy according to their own desires, criteria and interests. This fact discloses the malicious intent of some party leaders and activists who never feel ashamed of their irresponsible conducts and behaviors. They only insist on fabricating facts and fuelling violence in different parts of the nation at the expense of security and stability. The just said conducts, we described as “irresponsible”, are clearly manifested by opposition party's stances toward sit-ins and demonstrations that took place in many southern governorates. The situation produced a clear-cut proof that these parties are behaving according to a suspicious agenda and a conspiratorial plan, aimed at shaking security and stability, motivating defection and fragmentation, triggering animosity and hatred among people of the same nation, and damaging the social peace and national unity. Additionally, these agenda and plan aim to hinder progress of development and investment.

What is more painful in this respect is that the opposition parties demonstrated disappointing behavior at a time the government was expecting them to take a clear stance about rejecting any practices targeting the national principles. Some opposition leaders deliberately provided a cover for the most recent sit-ins and protests that took place in the southern governorates. They also created a suitable climate helping instigators fuel rioting at the expense of the national principles.

We don't know how a man of reason can be convinced by the opposition's allegations that it is highly concerned about the nation and its security while its leaders and supporters never hesitate to walk on the path of hired elements, mandated to damage the nation and its unity via breeding violence.

How a man of reason can believe that the so-called “Reconciliation and Forgiveness Rally”, which involved prominent opposition leaders, is justified and its goal is very clear since the very beginning. How patriotic individuals can be convinced that the rally has clear objectives, however, the banners raised during the function contained statements that have nothing to do with reconciliation or forgiveness.

The author is Editor-in-Chief of the daily.

Source: Al-Thawra State-run Daily