Is Yemen at war with ytself? [Archives:2008/1122/Opinion]

January 21 2008

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
Lately one hears or reads about incidents of death and injury that are occurring almost on a daily basis in Yemen. Of course death is imminent to all things living but one is flabbergasted by the relatively large numbers, many of which are in the teens that have become a per diem norm. Some of these deaths are due to outright warfare between the state and the citizenry, which have now become widespread from Aden to Sa'ada [with a few forays in between (Ta'ez, Shabwa and other governorates)], while others are due to drowning (also almost on a daily basis as half the population of Somalia become victims of conniving regional and international wheeling and dealing) and of course there are the automobiles crashing into each other or hitting defenseless pedestrians and the unfortunate accidents of misfired weapons that either kill their owners or some nearby spectator, not to mention those fired in jest on the pretext that the holder is unaware that the gun is loaded.

The accidents and the ill-fated early deaths are digestible to a certain extent, but when the killing is done by the armed forces or the security organs of the Government against mostly helpless civilians, who may have legitimate gripes against the incompetence of Government, which has driven a sizable segment of erstwhile well off people to the abyss of poverty and despair. When the country needs all the peace and stability it could muster up, to convince the world that Yemen is are a safe haven for investment, one finds our eager trigger happy military brass looking for any incident so they can engage in target practice against peaceful demonstrators with live targets. This is repression and oppression in their most deprecate manifestations. What is the Government doing to handle the gripes that people in both the South and the North of the country are screaming about to ears that are blocked by the epitome of deaf Government, which has decided to declare all its citizenry (north and south of the Al-Rahida and Al-Habilayn crossing) persona non grata and enemies of a regime persistent on thriving on its own incompetence! This is absolutely unbearable to many a people, who have been grounded beyond what any normal human beings could bare, in terms of trying to subsist on their own earnings, which have come to approach worthlessness, no matter how hard they try to earn an honest living.

Those protests in Aden, Shabwa, Ta'ez, Sa'ada and in many of the places we do not even hear about, are not the workings of outside elements conspiring against the people of Yemen. These protests emanate from frustration, helplessness and contempt from the corruption that has become so widespread that Yemen may soon even surpass the corruption level of some of the long established states of fame in this genre of statecraft (like Nigeria or the Dominican Republic). The demonstrations that one hears or sees erupting here and there are really being carried out by normal citizens craving for an opportunity to prove their desires for obtaining an honest living and collect earnings that are derived from the sweat of their labors and not from the Treasury that is being bled by the wanton corruption of those responsible for channeling its proceeds to the development and welfare of the people it claims to serve. Who are these corrupt elements, who think that they have a Devine right to bleed the country of all its resources for themselves alone, while the overwhelming majority of the population is left to seek to fulfill their nutritional needs from the garbage bins, or eating the crumbs left from the over-extravagance and overindulgence of its mischievous officials and leaders? Isn't it enough that logic, age and good sense would have it that the latter should have been gone a long time ago, and even then they were already wealthy! So, the time has come to tell those troops out there to control their craving for flying bullets, whether they are northerners or southerners, those people they are shooting at are their fellow citizens and not foreign agents of imaginary enemies concocted by the cheaply bought propaganda agents of the regime. The Government should be grateful that the citizens of Yemen have not turned to mob rule and chaos as they see the people who are supposedly overseeing the public state of affairs live high on the hog while many of them are left to squander homeless and without any fulfillment of the most basic of life's needs, until they are dead frozen in the streets (See this link: If the Government wants war, why doesn't it try fighting the causes of poverty, overpopulation, and unemployment and against all the corrupt officials who brought on all the maladies that are bringing the people out to the streets in desperate contempt of their rulers?

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