May God Have Mercy on the People of Sa’ada They really need a respite from all this suffering [Archives:2008/1154/Opinion]

May 12 2008

Yemen is going further into the abyss as the war merchants of the land carry on their calamitous games of fortune while needlessly spilling Yemeni blood by the gallons, without regards to such concepts as the right to live, the right of free worship and the right for redress from all the wrongs done against them. God only knows that the people of Sa'ada are probably the most deprived citizens in the country in terms of enjoying even if just a fraction of the amenities that the crooks who are profiting from this senseless bloodshed, for which there is no end in sight are enjoying (at the expense of all the Yemeni people and not just the people of Sa'ada).

We have a war in this country with hardly anyone really knowing exactly why it started, why can't it stop and why the people of Yemen can't learn exactly where the situation is really heading towards now? What we know really adds more to the confusion of our intelligence and more than that reveals a very morbid picture, which is further made tragic by the inability of the Government to shed light on what in God's name is happening in Sa'ada? We hear the Government come out with very difficult to believe statements every now and then about the situation there. We are asked to believe that the Government is on the offensive (never mind whether that is subject to disbelief, but that the Government should be proud of making such announcements against the entire population of a Governorate, who are known for their peaceful and tolerant attitudes and law abiding orientation, is really distasteful).

One is rather appalled by the considerable difference in what is blared out by the Government and what creditable eyewitnesses have to say about what is going on in the absolutely unjustifiable war in Sa'ada. The problem is made the more incomprehensible and unforgivable by the insistence of the Government to impose an impregnable news blackout on the situation there. This is not acceptable from a Government that insists it is committed to democracy and human rights (at least as long as the donors believe it, for the people of Yemen gave up on those assumptions a long time ago!) The observer is not so much trying to show the failure of the Yemeni Government to live up to such empty promises anymore, but rather to highlight the very essential need of the proud people of Sa'ada to live in peace and rest from the insistence of the empty-headed war lords from within the Government and outside the Government that they can decide the fate of the citizens of this country and how they pray and all the other senseless oppressive dictates being imposed on the proud and freedom-loving people of Sa'ada Governorate.

Let us then try to call a spade a spade when it comes to talking about the awesome nightmare to which the people of Sa'ada are being subjected. The facts according to people recently arriving from the Governorate and to many of those who are reluctantly forced to join in this ugly forced conversion campaign of an entire Governorate to a Salafi orientation, are different. Never mind that this misguided religious persuasion has brought more headaches to the world and more danger to world peace, as well as to the stability and welfare of the Moslem World wherever one goes, from the deserts of Mauritania to the jungles of Indonesia and from the once independent Chechnya to the once democratic and culturally dynamic venue in the Levant (bearing in mind that one here is referring to the Salafi persuasion that emanates from Najd, Saudi Arabia and not any other form of genuine mainstream religious fundamentalism. Thus it is essential to make it clear that the explosion in the Bin Salman Mosque was, accoridng to creditable witnesses, actually a futile effort to convince God knows who that this ugly war in Sa'ada is a legitimate part of the “War on Terror”, although most people have come to reckon that it is the personification of terror itself unleashed by the contractors of death participating in this war! This kind of staged and premeditated bloodshed is not part and parcel to the character and honor codes of the people of Sa'ada, which the Yemeni people all recognize as being true to the chivalrous code by which all Yemenis attach proudly to their heritage. The people of Sa'ada do not stomach killing people from other governorates and there is no difficulty in believing that they do not stomach the kind of ugly murder that was exercised in the Bin Salman Mosque – that is for all practical purposes a Salafi concoction.

Now for the war situation. The Government tells us that the Houthits are on the run and that the Government is bringing them to obedience once and for all! However one cannot remain oblivious to the fact that sizable troop reinforcements (regular and irregular) are now being sent to the region and to what one hears even from high ranking officers on the Government's side, who picture a situation for the Government forces that could be construed at best as being on the unfavorable side. The casualties as one can surmise from the caravans of ambulances coming and going to the airport are obviously heavy and our creditable witnesses put them on the teens on a daily basis. In the battlefield one also hears that the Houthits have managed to capture considerable truckloads of arms and ammunition heading for Government troops and there is even mention by these pro-Government military and security personnel of large contingents of Government forces being hit hard.

Needless to say these are unsubstantiated citations by any other independent sources, but surely warrant serious consideration if anyone wants to get a concise and thorough outlook on the situation in Sa'ada. In any case they certainly do point to the need of the Government to give credence to the dedicated and sincere efforts of our Qatari brothers in reaching an amicable peaceful settlement of the situation and there is really no harm in telling the war lords to pack their earnings to date and let this country enjoy some peace for a change, and there is really no harm at all if they left the country for that matter. God have mercy on us all.

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