It’s Not Easy to Run a Country [Archives:1999/35/Viewpoint]

August 30 1999

When I heard the president saying in his last press conference, “I prefer someone other than me who is well qualified and can manage the duties of the country to be the president. However, there is no one.” I remembered the statement that my father used to say, “being a president is not a good thing, it is responsibility and fame that hurt you more than make you happy.” Indeed, I could see it in the President’s eyes, he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t want it anymore. It is better to take turn in such a very sensitive post, which has a huge responsibility through the peaceful transfer of not power, but presidency. One could look at the presidents in the whole world. All of these presidents had to suffer from the feeling that they are responsible of the hunger, illnesses and from the disasters their people go through. They know that it is their responsibility to make sure that there is no hungry man or woman in the country. 
It sometimes inspires me to put myself in the position of President Saleh. If I were him, I would worry of the millions without work, the millions who sleep hungry, the millions who are yet to learn how to right and read. There are many things to worry about, and there are many things that need to be accomplished. Over the years, I realized that if a president doesn’t relieve his people, he would not deserve to stay in office. It is not that he should be punished or so, he only needs to decline to give the others a chance to better serve the people. 
The President of the Republic is trying his best to relieve his people. Almost in every conference, he expresses his concern over the economic situation of the country. He even requested developed countries in the opening session of the Emerging Democracies Forum to help Yemen economically. He does this because he feels he is responsible. Let alone handling the responsibility of a whole nation, a responsibility of a small duty is sometimes challenging. 
Sometimes, we do accuse the president of not doing something for the country, or holding strong to power, etc. However, we should also on the other hand think of the obstacles in his way. How many ministries need to be re-organized? How many governmental institutions need to be cleaned from the corrupt and the inactive officials? There are many things ahead of President Saleh. I think what he is trying to do now is gain the momentum to push hard towards rebuilding the country all over again. As the number of problems increase, he sees that the coming election will be a milestone for him. It would signal a new start for a season of building and development. It is better to see the coming elections not as a democratic process, for it is not an even competition, it is rather better seen as a new and fresh start for the President. When feeling that he gained the trust of the people, and that people still believe that he can do his best for his country, I believe this will motivate him internally. He can tell himself, “All these millions still trust that I will bring them a better tomorrow, I promise myself to work hard to never let them down.”
I call all people to start thinking on the side of the President in his hard mission. The seat of power is not always soft, it is sometimes rigid. It is difficult to keep on going while psychological strains are surrounding you. Under the current conditions Yemen is going through, a new start is needed. I hope that President Saleh realizes that he should begin a new era towards building a new Yemen that would cope with the world in the 21st century. Let us stand together with our president and try for once to understand the challenges facing him. Let us give him a chance to prove himself worth our trust. Please Mr. President, realize that we know your pains and challenges that you are currently facing. Economy, security, education, and many other sectors are suffering today. It will be your duty to fix them all. Try to prove the ones who don’t trust you wrong, and begin your change from the core, the change of heart and commitment always brings a change of action. 
We are beside you, so please don’t turn us down.. 
Walid Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf  Chief Editor