Letters to the Editor [Archives:1999/24/Letters to the Editor]

June 14 1999

Age cannot wither him…
Some facts are too harsh to be true and believable, so much so that they seem stranger than fiction. The sudden and tragic demise of Dr. Abdulaziz is one such fact which I still find hard to believe.
My association with the Yemen Times family and with Dr. Abdulaziz, its head, is barely five months old. Since the publication of my first essay in the Yemen Times on 1 February, I had occasion to frequent its premises and reckon myself as a member of the family. Everytime I stepped into the campus, the hypnotic ambience of friendliness of concern, of care and share touched me which was inevitably the stamp of the magical personality of its leader which drew me all the more intimately to its fold.
Through the excellent journal that he founded and through the highly stimulating and thought provoking articles penned by him I came to be closer to him intellectually. I admired him not only for his very pertinent views on a spectrum of social, political, cultural, academic and familial issues, but was captivated by the lucidity of his expression. The more I read him, the closer I was drawn to him in a mental plane and all the more I admired the institution Dr. Abdulaziz was. Indeed, he transcended the attainments of an individual and firmly established himself as a dynamic and versatile institution.
His loss is therefore a national loss, nay, a loss to the humanity. He was a crusader, a missionary and a visionary. His passion was inexhaustible, his enthusiasm indomitable, his humanism inimitable. To a foreigner like me, he symbolized the harbinger of a new era in Yemen which I have been eagerly awaiting in the new millennium. His memory is ineffaceable. He will continue, I am sure, in the hearts and minds of countless admirers like me as bright, shining star of hope, of regeneration.
The Yemen Times family would strive hard and leave no stones unturned to make his dream come true. While I share the inexpressible grief at his unexpected departure for his heavenly abode, I implore the mercy of Allah, the merciful and compassionate, to bestow on the bereaved family patience and strength of mind to bear with his loss. He would live eternally through Yemen Times, his foster child. Indeed age cannot wither him nor custom stale….
Ramakanta Sahu.
Collage of Education, Mahweet.
The News of the late Dr. Abdulaziz Alsaqqaf was like a nightmare. Which is one of the great loses in the field of journalism in spite of the short period which I have spent when I used to write alternately with the news paper I discovered that he was a very humble person and lover to help other people. He was a generous teacher where I have learned from him lots of things in the journalism field through his esteemed news paper the Yemen Times.
I didn’t have any experience in this field I was only a student in the information college but the deceased helped me and encouraged me a lot. He provided me with an opportunity to gain experience and write what ever I liked in his news paper.
After his death his humbleness, generous manners, and love to help others will be alive in our hearts. In future the dreams of this great man will come through and we will follow his steps in future in spite of the time and place.
We all pray for his soul to rest in peace and mercy.
Hanan Abad Al-Hamidi
Dead but Alive
I am writing on behalf of so many people in Taiz to convey our heartfelt and deepest feeling on the passing away of the pioneer of democracy Dr. AbdulAziz Al-saqqaf to his family and all the people of Yemen ( May God rest his soul in paradise).
I haven’t really realized yet that the sudden lamentable accident had occurred. I was incredibly shocked when I heard about the catastrophe. I believe the departure of the late Saqqaf is not merely a terrible nightmare for his family and friends but also for Yemen as a country and the whole Yemeni people, particularly the oppressed who found in him a strong defender of their rights, and for those needy people to whom he stretched his hand to help. I feel the tragedy is too strong to be expressed in words. For me, I came to know this great leader with all his values and manners through his precious pen and great achievements and people’s talk about him. Equally, through my little experience with the paper for I have contributed to the paper with many articles which were all accepted and published. That encouraged me and provided me specific sense of happiness and confidence. In point of fact,Yemen has lost an exceptional man who has made positive and useful contributions in many fields, for his courage, strength, tender heart, modesty as well as sincere love for people and Yemen.
Ultimately, I can say that Dr. Saqqaf is still living, sharing with us our cares, teaching us through all what he has left to us. He has left us just physically ,but his morals and rare personality will still be printed deeply in our minds, guiding us to a better tomorrow.
Now, we are all hopeful that the Yemen Times will still be alive as it was drawn by the great deceased.
Haifa Yahia Qanber, Taiz
Dear Editor,
On behalf of my Sudanese colleagues in the Republic of Yemen, I would like to convey my deepest sorrow and condolences for the greatest loss of our outstanding professor Abdulaziz al-Saqqaf. Really I was badly shocked when I heard the tragic of his death from some of my friends in one of Taiz remote villages. Believe me words cannot express what I have in my heart for him. I hope that Waleed Al-Saqqaf will play the same role and take the hard responsibility that his noble father had left for him. Insha Allah the son one day will be like his great father.
I pray to the almighty that his soul will rest in the paradise. Amen.
Ibrahim Eltayeb Bashier, Taiz
The Vacuum
No doubt that the tragic death of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf is by all means a great loss not only to those who knew him, but to the whole nation. He is definitely one of the greatest creative minds that Yemen has ever produced, and no one can deny the immortal prints he has left in the social, political, as well as cultural life of Yemen. These prints are the torches that guide every one who loves this country freely and purely.
Dr. Al-Saqqaf is know as a fighter for freedom of media, as a human rights-supporter, and as a social activist. Throughout his life he was trying to modernize Yemen, saving no efforts to fulfill this sacred target. In fact, he was one of those rare few, persons who serve their country without waiting for the reward. The only reward he got is the love of millions of Yemenis who highly appreciate the efforts he exerted for their welfare. This is why they were shocked when they heard of his death. Their response to this saddest news was one of incredulity, followed by a wave of hopelessness and shock. It is not easy to believe that such a genius has passed away because of the rashness of a teenager.
Since he established Yemen Times, the first English newspaper in Yemen, his bravery and broadmindedness are reflected in his popular writings. Almost all the important events that are closely related to the development of Yemen have been dealt with by this matchless genius. He used the Yemen Times as the platform for his social appeals. No one has confronted corruption as bravely and as frankly as he did. This is because he always put the public interests above all the personal concerns. He was never an opportunist who used his influential status to advance his personal interests at the expense of his ideals.
Journalism was not the only weapon he used in his struggle for the betterment of Yemen. His active participation in different national and international gatherings is an evidence of his devotion to his beloved, Yemen. In addition to this, he sponsored many gatherings in which he was the voice of modern Yemen. In all these activities, his sole motive was his love for Yemen.
Briefly speaking, his death left a vacuum that can never be filled. Our only solace is that his ideas are adopted by the young minds who will do their best to make the doctor’s dreams come to existence. The continuation of Yemen Times is a proof that the train has begun moving, and nothing can stop it now. May Allah bless your soul, Dr. Saqqaf, you have done your mission in life truthfully and honestly. It is our duty now to continue what you have started.
By: Abdul-Rahman Al-Huthaify
Taiz University.