Reform finds first various works in Yemen [Archives:2004/780/Opinion]

October 11 2004

By Prof.Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
For the Yemen Times

It is not strange for who someone who observes Yemeni affairs, that the events in Sada'a took place. Although fighting was for the sake of power, it took place in the name of change, reform, and replacing the corrupted elements in leading positions, especially in the fields of economics, development and in the security system.
As economists and politicians, we say that the Arabic world, including Yemen, is in need of complete political, social, and economic reform. Without doing so, there will be an unknown fate; rejecting reform may lead to undesirable confusion or total destruction. The intellects and politicians of some Arabic countries stoop through the humble phases of democracy, but the real authority is in the hand of the rulers themselves. They appoint governments and supervise or divide the public property; they refuse public supervision. However the administration of public property is considered the core of actual democracy.
Giving nation the chance to participate in making decisions, such as the local councils, parliament and such nominal authorities. The local councils are of no real essence; all their tangible dimensions are under centralized authority, under specific pretexts, what remains is just a few. If we believe in giving the nation the right to rule itself, that wouldn't be enough. There are so many essential factors pertaining to political, economic and social stability; it is also concerned with mankind, as human rights. The call for the entire or real reform leading to real development, decreases the crisis of destitution, unemployment and corruption.
One of the negative indicators that shows the sufferings of Arabic societies is illiteracy, which exceeds 50% among men and 75% among women. The unemployment rate in Yemen is more than 39% according to the statistics of the international organizations and UN Development Program. That means, without the quick reformation that the Yemeni People are waiting for, (and have been waiting for since the 22nd May 2004 and the historical speech of the President of the Republic), the future is going to be dark and disastrous. Does our ruler realize that?
Change has become one of the features of the 21st century and the globalized world. The rulers rejection of reform can be called 'political stupidity' or 'blindness'. But, the winds of change will come, whether we want that or not. We are in urgent need to start at the interior level, before the arrival of external storms. We have to realize that the external pressures are the basic ones in the process of change, as has been proven by the daily actions in the Arab world and all over the world.
The problem of reformation in Yemen is not different from other Arabic countries. Anyway, there are not yet enough external pressures to enforce the required reforms. That is due to the lack of organization in society, the weakness of political parties, and the absence of the effective social movements or other reasons.
Therefore any reformative project is usually controlled by two parties: the governments that need to be changed and the external forces which exchange reform for political profit. Then, reform becomes a process that leads to governments who resist reform, to bargain with foreign powers. This bargaining secures the governments' continuity.
The talk about waves of reform in the Arab world and the ordeal of some authority systems in the area, is connected with democratic reasons. What founds the regular transfer of power is increasing the public participation and representing all the available forces in the political field, with a special emphasis on the principle that the source of authority is letting people to rule themselves. That decides the peaceful transfer of power, and circulates the best politicians, and we should confess that this thing is not available in the Arab countries. If we take the Israeli model, though it is aggressive and racist, but it is – politically speaking – a reasonably stable parliamentary system, that stands as partisan pluralism where the president has only limited and symbolic responsibilities, and the first executive decision is at the hands of the Prime Minister. Anyway, Israel is not the only example that can be mentioned, because the format there is religious more than political. What matters to us most is to clarify that the waves of self-reformation we are talking about should live up to the standards of today's systems and follow the type of power restrictions of modern societies. We can't reach that unless we consider three main notes:
1. Determining the political system and its clarity and the effectiveness of its authorities is a vital thing for a modern country. We can't talk about tangled systems based on personal-decision making and the absence of democracy, the weakness of the constitution, and regular infringements of the law. The unstable structures of the presidential and parliamentary systems, adding to repeating the style of Ma'aweeah Bin Abi Sufian, are significant topics to be faithfully revised and objectively looked into.
2. The difference in the social melting and the national integration among the Arab countries is considered one of the reasons that made the political system diverse. Societies of tribes are different from those of families, the people who unjustly say that their countries are tribal but with flags, mean the great effect of the tribe on Arabic societies, where the city and village are found.
3. Democracy is still the standard of the wise power, whether monarchy or republican systems. The general atmosphere where freedom coincides with low levels of crime is the proof. It is not deniable that the Arab area is one of the regions that urgently need change to the political climate. It is not a question of establishments, but beside them, the philosophic frame is of significance. That is what shapes the cultural and social atmosphere that comes out of the political decision.
It is commonly mentioned that what we say about the present situation of the Arab world, as we undoubtedly believe, requires change to get out of this state, that is relevant to the qualitative development for systems and nations. The new Iraqi model, for example, is trying a parliamentary republican system, based on pluralism which a condition of making the Iraqi decision making mechanism a real one, assuming the departure of the foreign presence, leaving the Iraqi issue for its owners. That day may not be far off, especially after the handing over of power, though namely. At least constitutional kingships and the presidential republics will be equal if they achieve the goal of wise rule, and present real democracy, and secure public freedoms.
Therefore this matter requires change and reform, in order to let nations enjoy life and profit from their human and materialistic sources.
There's still further to come.