Letters to the Editor [Archives:2000/45/Letters to the Editor]

November 6 2000

I have read your covering of the Canadian medical team to Taiz. I have to clarify two points:
1 – This mission could not have become a reality without the very enthusiastic care of Dr. Robinson and the backing of the Hayel Saeed Group.
2- My name is not Mustafa Aman but Mustafa NOMAN!!
On this occasion I want to bring back my friendship with Dr. AbdulAziz Al-Sakaaf with whom I had worked closely on different issues. I wish Waleed and the entire group of Yemen Times the success and courage to carry on the message that his father had brought on his shoulders.

I know the Yemen Times is always there to support the voice of reality, thats why I come to you with this letter. I have read the many responses sent by Americans to your news paper regarding the USS Cole bombing. I would like to express my utter respect to those who felt that this incident shouldnt and doesnt have to force our relations at a personal level to be distorted by any way, mean, or matter. However, it is commonly known and understood amongst us, immigrants, that whenever something of such magnitudes takes place in Yemen, we as a community suffer the consequences. The average American might not notice, but at the government level things are a lot different. A good example would be a person like myself attempting to obtain a visitor visa to the US. Everyone knows there is NO way in hell will I be able to obtain that following the recent developments in the middle east and specially the USS Cole bombing. Take that example and magnify it to a general policy and youll have what is defined as Racial Discrimination. That is, normal citizens being judged and treated depending on where they come from or what race they belong to. The United States is likely to consider all Yemeni (or Arab) citizens to be a potential danger unless proven otherwise. This happens everytime something slightly tragic occurs to an American citizen on our land. Most people who experienced such treatment at US embassies all over the world know what Im talking about. On the other hand, I know of a few Yemenis who were murdered on American soil during Americas everyday live-or-die scenario. Why is it that Yemen hardly ever mentions these separate incidents and tries blow it up and form stereotypes out of the American public? Is it because were too afraid to go head to head with the Great American nation and all its resources? Or is it simply because of the ancient, ever-lasting Yemenite wisdom and sense of forgiveness that has marked our people and leaders likewise? I leave you with the question hoping that Ive shone a little bit of light on what truly happens behind the iron curtain.
Issmat A. Al-Akhali
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I submit my perspective on the new Intifada, for publication, and hope that you are able to do so.
The end of a war is peace. Either the peace of victory over vanquished or the peace of attrition such as – Hizbollahs permitting Israel a retreat without fire. Abductions: Didnt Israel conduct extra territorial snatches including one of its own – Vananu – who still rots in solitary, and many, many Lebanese and Palestinians who are still hostages a decade later? And werent Israelis recently caught using biological weapons to assassinate a Jordanian Arab, with the use of stolen Canadian passports? And which other state made use of torture legal – if it applied to Arabs? Uprising: Is it the duty of the occupied and oppressed to kill the occupier and oppressor? If not, should not the occupied and oppressed accept and deserve the peace of the vanquished? Should or can oppressed cockroaches in a bottle [Rafael Eitans gleeful description?] Should Arabs and Muslims love Israelis and Jews who finance and cheer Israel, and still fulfill the duty of oppressed and occupied people? Consider the Americans gave many of their young sons lives for their freedom. Shoot Down Stone Throwers: When even educated Jews in Canada, the US and elsewhere say that Jews are justified in slaughtering stone throwers, are they just Jews, or just Arab hating Jews? Arab Refugees: So, a Jew from Manitoba or Manhattan can reside in Palestine but a Palestinian cannot return to the country that seized his land? Israel supported Apartheid in South Africa, as you know. The whites of that land want what Israel wants for Palestinians – blacks to remain segregated and denied their land. So do whites of Zimbabwe who live on land stolen from blacks.
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THE suspected suicide bombing of a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, in a Yemeni port early Thursday Oct. 12 ignited number of questions on the perpetrators of the attack and their motives and means. But pull back to a global view and a much more strategic question surfaces: What is the United States doing in Yemen? The Navy only recently began using Aden Port as a refueling station, but Yemen is much more than a regional point of convenience. Indeed, Americas interest and involvement in Yemen appear to run much deeper than merely refueling military vessels. Yemen is a strategic pawn in a game with other major powers. And a small island 550 miles east of Yemen is a valuable military asset. Isolated, torn by tribalism and desperately poor Yemen is one of the poorest nations in the Middle East. But these facts obscure an important reality: Yemen is the center of a vigorous competition between some of the worlds major powers. Nations such as China, Russia and the United States are all competing for influence over the chokepoints of the worlds waterways. Aden is one of these and one of the most important. Its port is one of the deepest natural ports in the world, capable of serving large vessels with comparatively little improvement. In recent months, both Russian and American military officials have jockeyed for position in Aden. Russian officials, for example, have raised military cooperation with the Yemeni government. U.S. Navy SEALs have also helped clear the wreckage of sunken vessels from the port at Aden. Why has so much global attention focused on this tiny country? More than its harbor, Yemen also provides an important military base from which naval forces can quickly reach the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The island of Socotra, with a population of 70,000, is perfectly placed for monitoring shipping routes in all three seas. The U.S. Navy is supposed to ensure the flow of goods to and from the United States via shipping routes. Competition for major trade routes is stiff and Washington has recently lost key points of control to countries like China; in the Suez Canal, for instance, a Chinese company with ties to the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) has won important rights to facilities there. Near Socotra, much of the worlds oil floats by on tankers. There is evidence as well to suggest that island, belonging to Yemen, is a potentially invaluable source for intelligence collection in the Indian Ocean, a basin with increased naval activity. The Indian navy, for example, has reportedly focused on expanding its capabilities and modernizing its technology. Socotra could be a valuable source of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). In March 1999, the Village Voice reported Socotra as a site upon which the United States planned to build a SIGINT system. Over the past two years, reports have surfaced every few months in Yemeni opposition media claiming that Yemens administration had agreed to allow the U.S. military access to both a port and an airport on Socotra. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has consistently denied a deal with the U.S. military and his government has punished journalists who persist in reporting it. The last instance of this to make it to the Western press occurred nearly one year ago, in October 1999, when the owner of the opposition daily Al-Haq was fined and the paper was banned for a month. The administration charged the paper with publishing material that threatened national security. The previous March, the same paper met similar consequences for running a story saying a new civilian airport built on Socotra to promote tourism had conveniently been constructed in accordance with U.S. military specifications. The paper has ties to an umbrella group of Islamist politicians and activists, including the Islah Party. And there is clearly a backlash in Yemen against the global competition for use of its facilities. The attack on USS Cole was a simple, yet effective message: the ambitious goals of the U.S. military are not welcome. Now, wouldnt you think some ignorant people or should I say emotionally inclined have to be enlightened to the fact that we are no more the stick dolls in our own realm. This is a real tragedy, a crime we helped in committing upon our ownselves. Long Live Freedom of Speech.
Yemeni Nationalist.
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THE Media is always talking about the positive impact of the Yemeni immigration on the economy and development which is true. But it is very important to mention some of the harmful consequences of immigration on the immigrants themselves and their homeland-Yemen.
I believe that Immigrants are not to be regarded as a financial potential (or resource) for enhancing the economy and improving their own lives. In fact, if the Yemeni immigrants understand what immigration means (as a challenge) and if the government also realizes the importance of immigration and its consequences, they will all re-think it (migration) and put strict measures and regulation so that it can be fruitful and beneficial.
Immigration means representing the homeland, protecting ones identity, protecting ones family from the devastation of immoral culture of the West. And most importantly, protecting ones religion and morals.
We do not want money as such from the immigrants to enhance the economy, but we want from them to encourage their children to study and acquire knowledge and at the same time we want them to keep an eye on their children to be brainwashed against being corrupted by the western culture.
Here are some facts about the Yemeni immigrants in the USA:
It is very sad to mention the following scary facts about the Yemeni community in the US:
-Most of them are involved in illegal business that has distorted the good reputation of Yemenis (selling alcohol, Qat, drugs…)
-Their families can be described as lost (kids at the age of 14, 15, 20 years can not pronounce the word Yemen.
-A lot of Yemeni kids are fascinated by the American way of life and they are not proud of being Yemenis.
-The image of Yemen is being distorted by the frequent scary happenings of Kidnapping, killing and corruption in the country.
-I do not see any considerable contribution from the Yemeni government, especially, the so-called ministry of Immigrants regarding the educational, ethical, and spiritual enhancement of the Yemeni immigrants.
-All those in charge are responsible to Allah in this regard. Yemeni Embassy, Ministry of immigrant, Ministry of Preaching and endowment.
-The most tragic and sorrowful fact is that most of the children of the Yemenis here in the States do not pursue their studies. They just quit after the high school.
– I am very afraid of the fact that those Yemeni kids neither pursue their education nor preserve the Islamic morals and good behavior. When they come back to Yemen, they will be a source of danger, and more corruption.
-I wish the government paid more attention to the issue of educating our immigrants and their kids.
This is just a drop in the ocean of the Yemenis suffering abroad.
Ahmad Alabbasi
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