Let us choose our enemies correctly (I) [Archives:2007/1067/Opinion]

July 12 2007

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
“I just knew it could not be true!” said Tawfiq at the far end of the diwan (Usually, a long sitting room, where Yemenis hold their qat sessions), while plucking his fresh leaves of qat.

“What are you talking about?” asked Mohammed, the host of the qat session.

“One would think that for once the Government really meant it when it said that a truce is now effective in Sa'ada, and it was ready to face up to the real enemy of the country, the terrorists that are given a free hand to do what they like everywhere in the country, yet causing all the problems for the country. Instead, our top notch military brass finds it easier to go against the orange and grape growers of Sa'ada, who haven't caused any harm to anyone, let alone the economy and the prestige of the country on an international scale.” Tawfiq was again expressing his disdain for the Wahhabis, who have become a widespread menace as he sees it.

“Come on, Tawfiq, are you being sympathetic to the Houthis after all they have done?”, asked a new entrant to the session, who had just taken off his pants and wore a normal colorful open skirt traditionally worn by people of the South, yet keeping his dress shirt and tie on.

“I am not being sympathetic with anyone. I am just telling it like I see it. I am not going to be scared of being accused anything as long as I say it how I see it. Just last week, we had seven Spaniards killed in our country by these mobsters, who are making a mockery of our religion and serving the Zionist cause better than even Lord Balfour ninety years ago did when he issued the land deed that wrongfully gave Palestine to non-indigenous settlers, who came from near the North Pole. Since then this region has never seen the light of day!” Tawfiq always had a way of bringing out summations that opened up wide avenues of discourse in a qat session.

The host wanted to hear others speak, he looked at the man with the tie and said: “What do you think is the reason for the resumption of tie fighting in Sa'ada?”

With a great sense of reluctance, the slightly balding non-regular attendant to the session said: “The Government said that Houthis broke the agreement reached with the mediation of the Qataris, and this was declared by the Implementation Committee of the Agreement.”

Tawfiq chuckled as he said: “'The Government said', is no way to express an opinion, my friend. What do you say? is what Mohammed was getting at! If all you have to say is a recap of the boring 9:00 PM TV news broadcast, then find some official meeting of the local chapter of the General People's Congress to chew your qat at.”

Mohammed sensed some discourteous conduct by Tawfiq: “Tawfiq! That is not a nice thing to say to an occasional guest at our session, who I personally invited to join us today”.

“That is quite alright Mohammed. This is quite normal of these Houthis to blabber like that.” The new entrant to the session saw a chance to express his distaste for the likes of Tawfiq.

“I waive my right of reply out of courtesy to you Mohammed, since we are all your guests”. Tawfiq was showing that he had his reply ready but was respectful of their host.

“Thank you, Tawfiq, but do bear in mind that Brother Foad here is a fine member of the community, who has studied hard to earn a decent job with the Government and will always be welcome here.” Mohammed had a knack for expressing himself courteously without causing any ill feelings among his guests.

“I think that the Government should strive to get the agreement reached with the Houthis in effect as fast as possible, so that it could focus its attention on finding ways to ensure the safety of our visiting tourist guests, if any more decide to venture out to our country after the embarrassing massacre caused by these foreign mercenaries of death, working under the direction of the International Zionist Establishment and the CIA. Chances are, the Houthis could be a little help in this regard. After all did not the Wahhabis pack up their bags from Sa'ada, when they realized that they were no match for the Houthis, dogmatically and militarily.”

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