One thousand steps [Archives:2006/1001/Opinion]

November 23 2006

By: Izzdin al-Asbahi
It is said: A trip of a thousand miles begins with one step. This means it is necessary we have forbearance to begin a hard trip to traverse 1,000 miles.

Yemenis in general have forbearance. Everything here passes quickly and ends quicker than it is imagined. It is even with regard to the level of age scale. Yemenis have a short life span and lives end before their time. If a Yemeni starts work with something he will not be patient until the end, but rather he finishes with it in a quick manner. Even in politics and wars, the political issues did not last long. Throughout 40 for instance, Yemen (North and South) and then in its unity, witnessed interesting dramatic fluctuations and inconsistencies. There have been two revolutions, no less than eight coups and four wars.

It could be wondered why I mention that while I want to write about the experiment of “Yemen Times” and the late Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf! It is because I want to mention that this issue of Yemen Times newspaper bears an important number, which is “One Thousand.” Fifteen years ago was the first step that was like a dream and an adventure. The Yemenis received with interest the issuance of Yemen Times as a Yemeni English-language independent newspaper. They were sure it was an individual project that will end quickly or after a few years, as was the case of other ones. However the Yemen Times changed from an individual project to an institutional work. The step that began fifteen years ago has now completed the trip of 1,000 issues, or the thousand miles in an institutional structure and emergence of a new generation of press leadership and of writers.

The distinguished characteristic of the founder, Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, had borne a strategic vision and made the far-fetched dream a possibility. He showed it is possible to prove it is possible to build successful strategic projects in Yemen and even in difficult circumstances it is possible if there is a serious and strong will and watertight plan, confirming the clear-cut vision and patience in work as well as zealousness.

Monday brought issue 1,000 of Yemen Times and with it emerged capabilities of a distinguished journalist and wise manager for who we have to raise hats in respect for his memory because he had not just established a newspaper and built a distinguished media institution, but also because he opened a window for freedom and built a bridge taking us towards horizons of democracy and the free word.

Greetings to Dr. Abdulaziz al-Saqqaf as professor, a distinguished man, an advocate of human rights! A greeting to a new generation graduating from Yemen Times to affirm that a trip of one thousand miles is very possible.

Izzdin al-Asbahi is a Director of the Human Rights Information and Training Center. He is a writer, a human rights activits and an old friend of late Dr. Al-Saqqaf.