Realizing Yemen’s power [Archives:2007/1088/Viewpoint]

September 24 2007

Yemen is a very significant country in the gulf region, Arabian Peninsula, and Middle East as a whole. Not only are we strategically located we also have numerous income sources to build on, such as fishery, mining, tourism, agriculture tc. We even have one of the largest manpower in the gulf, which means we can also build on human resources to create opportunities and growth.

This power has been understood by the Russians, the Indians, the British, the Americans, and the Saudis tc. However, Yemenis have never understood it, and never had any Yemeni leader created even a fraction of the potential this country could become.

One of the many complaints by the current ruling system is that there are external forces interfering in Yemen's affairs causing the current havoc. This excuse, although true, is not acceptable because it is our responsibility as Yemenis, and it is the president's responsibility as the leader to protect the country against any external threat.

This excuse is like a weak student blaming a hard exam as the reason behind his failure. No body said running a country was easy, and this is why there are democratic systems, which allow the election of the best candidate. And when he or she fails, there are alternatives. For us in Yemen, during the past 30 years we have not seen alternatives, and we definitely do not trust in the current so called democratic system.

Therefore, decentralization has been the demand of many protestors in the south. They demand for what they call local governance. Which means delegating authority and judiciary to governorates away from the Capital's control. This does not mean the Yemen will be divided, it only means the strong control and manipulation of the ruling system in Capital Sana'a will not be the same as used to be. And this is definitely a good thing because the current system is very corrupt, and by delegating authority there is a window for alternatives.

This is the only way facing the president and his cabinet in order to calm the angry/hungry masses. There is no wisdom in handling protests with force, because violence begets violence and there are so many desperate people in Yemen today who have nothing to lose.

In Yemen Times, we had an exercise with a number of Yemeni youth from around the republic where we asked them to imagine Yemen's future in five years. The picture was so bleak that we are hesitating to publish it. It is not fair that teenagers and young men and women are so pessimistic about their future. It simply isn't right, because Yemen has so many potentials and could easily become one of the strongest and most prosperous countries in the region. This is of course, provided it has a good leader to lead the way.