In Yemen and most of the Arab World We also cry out for a change [Archives:2008/1119/Opinion]

January 10 2008

Hassan Al-Haifi
It is becoming indeed that after almost eight years of sloppy governance in the United States, the American people are relying on their genuinely democratic institutions to come out of the abyss brought on by the incompetence and sheer arrogance of the Bush Administration (and the Zionist machine behind it). Yes the word “change” is having strong resonance in the pre-election primaries by which the leading American political parties are choosing their favored candidates for the office of the Presidency in the United States. It is imperative that we just do not recognize this as a significant development for the United States, but an important lesson by which to learn that unless the people have the final say in the adjudication of their leaders there is no sense in believing that indeed governance is meaningful otherwise. The significance of the current American political exercise is that the word “change” is the dominating influence in creating the choice of the electors. Even the candidates from the party of the incumbent President in the White House are unfailing in detecting the widespread desire for a change for the better, and they are quick to also adopt the platform of “change” to respond to this broad based desire.

In Yemen, and almost all the rest of the Arab States, change has become almost a forgotten phenomenon as die-hard regimes continue to eat up or waste the wealthy resources of the land leaving the rest of the people in the country wretchedly poor and helpless in the quest to improve their livelihood and advance the overall progress of their respective countries as well as to advance the national causes that give homogeneity to our genealogical and ethnic associations. The decades old regime that continue to hold the noose tight around the necks of their people from Yemen to the ends of the Maghreb (save for Mauritania) insist on dealing with the idea of change as a heresy and thus persist in the use of the overall machinery of statecraft to repressively quell any popular cries for change and political evolution towards free democratic and peaceful transformation of political authority. It is understandable that regimes that have relied for so long on the forceful detention of the political will of their people would not succumb to the right of their subjects to adjudicate the performance of their leaders. However, it borders on hypocrisy and deception when these leaders continue to proclaim that they are the epitome of democratic governance and the reflection of free public political will. In addition, the leadership's recent bellicose cries among the security and military rank and file on a relatively unimportant occasion that every form of opposition to the horrendous performance of the regime is tantamount to treason leads one to wonder how these regimes can consistently proclaim such outlandish hypocrisy, when even the chairs in their offices have cried out demanding for change in the personnel that are occupying them until their linings have eroded. Indeed, the observer is not blind to the facts and the nation is unduly suffering great economic hardships, when the resources of the land tell us we should be in a totally different venue. Who are these fossilized leaders think their people are anyway? Their people are asking this question very earnestly as they find that no matter how hard they work in honest enterprises or occupations, their earnings simply never manage to meet the basic costs of living, while their leaders and their cheaply bought cronies continue to live high on the hog, with their bellies swelling and their eyes hidden by the awesome rings of fat that surrounds them.

The leaders have even gone to the point of allowing prices to quietly rise on even such basic commodities as cooking gas and flour, which the state has some control over, while later declaring that this is in keeping with the international trends in prices. It is amazing that the trend in the price of human beings (labor input) finds it difficult to keep pace with that enjoyed by the nearest geographical neighbors (who are ethnic brothers of Yemenis) let alone with that of the poorest of the developing states, where Yemen is now placed among the honor roll of the poorest states, primarily due to the incompetence of the present leaders, who fail to see that sooner or later, change is inevitable and healthy for the wellbeing of their people and even for themselves.

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