Retrogression of Public life: Outcome of Ignorance [Archives:2001/12/Law & Diplomacy]

March 19 2001

Mohammad Al-Hakimi
Yemen Times
Taiz Office
It is an issue that concerns every Yemeni citizen who is aware of the problems that will result from ignoring the factors which are corroding our social framework. Their negative impact is clearly shown in the general life of society.
Away from partisanship, biases, prejudice and selfishness, we try to briefly touch upon this important issue: the issue to which the present generation has been unable to address itself.
Characteristics of The Old Times
General life before the revolution on September 26 1962, was very much connected to religious, moral and social conventions and traditions. Although less productive, the society showed more respect for human values.
At this time Yemen was living in total isolation from the world, even from it’s closest neighbors. However, the true spirit of Islam was prevalent, cancelling out all kinds of violence in society.
During the Revolution
Interest in education and acquisition of knowledge was much valued during this period. With the gradual spread of education and knowledge, some morals and virtues disappeared from people’s lives. People began to be more concerned about modern life and it’s many different dimensions.
Different Characteristics After The Revolution
The new generation developed new ideas and had a different attitude towards life than their parents. This helped to bring about new social values, different from those to which the previous generation was accustomed.
The aim of education was to enlighten people and to eradicate the state of ignorance that had dominated society for such a long time. Many Yemenis were educated and had graduated from different fields. But many were not sincere about their studies and abandoned themselves to chewing qat and more routine matters.
Identity Lost
It is attachment to virtues and principles that makes honest and sincere people. Today, so many people have lost their identity through relentlessly pursuing their own self interests.
Increase in Corruption Amongst the Younger Generation
When children see their fathers’ irresponsible behavior and practices, they are encouraged to abandon all belief in discipline, responsibility, etc.
A Weak Conservative Generation
The media, with the strong support it enjoys, has sapped the conservative people’s strength to be true to their principles. All hopes they had of raising a responsible generation have been shattered.
Construction Vs Destruction
One of the most retrograde phenomena in society following the revolution has been removing honest and qualified workers and replacing them with unqualified ones.
The Imamites and the Revolution
Yemen did not reach a state of stability even after the revolution. Lawlessness and atrocities continued. Many patriots who participated in the revolution were assassinated.
Partisan Teachings
Disagreements among parties have been triggered by the desire to serve personal interests. Parties are one of the important reasons as to why the national interests of the country have not been furthered. Partisanship, bias, sectarianism, leftism, etc. are some of the most important causes of retrogression in our country.
Partisanship Is The Reason
Many groups have emerged bearing religious names. These have been accused by their opponents of serving political interests. As a result, many families have stopped sending their children to mosques for teaching, out of fear that their children’s beliefs would be spoiled. As far as the opposition is concerned, it has been criticizing them, although they have kept away from mosques, believing that they are centers for extremism, etc.
Nurture and Characteristics of The New Generation
The upbringing of the new generation has depended heavily on narrow political and partisan values. This has been reflected in confusion of thought among the youths. Many of them are stubborn, weak, fanatic, ignorant, etc. The role of the family in fostering values and shaping the characters of their children seems to be lacking.
Unity and Conspiracies
The unity of the country has dominated most Yemeni’s dreams. However, it suffered adversely due to conspiracies which ended with the Summer War in 1994. The aftermath of this war has badly affected the development process in the country.
The Greatest Enemy
Ignorance is one of the greatest causes of retrogression and the enemy of all people. It is the main stumbling block in the way of the country’s development and progress.
Loss of Perspective
Ignorance, partisanship and shaky economic conditions have stopped us from keeping in touch with those who can help us develop.
We have more than 40 political parties. Besides, we are divided into sectarian groups, tribes, etc. I wonder how it will be possible for us to be united and work for a common goal, especially when we are ignorant of our responsibilities.
Irresponsible Officials
The policy of punishment and reward is enough to create a state of social, political and economic stability. Unfortunately this principle seems to be lacking in our country. As a result, many officials have turned to a network of corruption each protecting the other.
General Deterioration
Yemeni foreign policy is a success. The internal policy is also successful but some shortcomings have threatened the nation’s foundations. For example, unemployment has risen to 30% and the rate of economic development is showing a downward trend. Moreover, immorality, illness, family break-ups, hypocrisy, etc. have become common phenomena.
Was The Revolution The Reason
The revolution brought to an end an unwelcome period of history. Since then, only 39 years have elapsed which is not enough to create a strong generation, able to overcome all problems. The dark ages and total isolation from the world in which Yemenis lived before the revolution made them unable to cope with modern technology.
Once a cadre of sincere workers is available, the government will be able to control the general policy of the country and maintain stability. It should also be stressed that citizens have to have a positive attitude in order to play their assigned role in society.
We Have to Feel That We Are Able to Work
After a society has lost confidence in itself, it is important that it regains its confidence in order to feel that it is still able to produce and change. The feelings of frustration among Yemenis that they are unable, isolated, etc., make them laugh at their ambitions, making development and the ability to change a far cry.
Importance of Activating Yemeni’s Role
This can be achieved if all segments of the society join hands, away from tribal or political biases.

Response to Article Published in Yemen Times: Refugee Health Center Responds

Further to the comments in the Yemen Times concerning the Refugee Health Centre, I have been asked to reply on behalf of the staff who work here. We have in all 27 staff working in the centre, many of them refugees themselves, and we have been providing health services since 1994. We currently have 27,000 users who attend the centre, and have approximately 3000 consultations per month. We have a variety of medical expertise in the centre who operate in a very professional manner. We keep all essential drugs in stock as well as a small range of non-essential drugs. We offer a curative service including doctors consultations, laboratory services, and the pharmacy free of charge. We also offer preventative services including health education in the centre and in the homes of refugees, antenatal and postnatal care, deliveries, immunizations, and some social support. For facilities which we do not have in the clinic, we refer to tertiary services in Sana’a such as hospitals and laboratories, and meet the expense of these services. I have worked in the Refugee Health Centre for two years and I am proud of the service we offer and the way my team work to meet the expectations of users. For example, as one evaluation of our services, recently the donors who support the TB services in Yemen have stated that our TB facility is the best in Sana’a.
It is normal for users of any health service to feel it could be better. This is because health is an infinite need, and resources are always finite. As soon as health care reaches one milestone, more expensive treatments are invented, more people survive to have further illnesses, and users expectations naturally get higher. Resources meanwhile can’t increase in pace with the increased demands, even in wealthy countries like USA and UK. But at RHP we will always do our best to listen to users and try to improve if we can. We welcome any constructive criticism and we have an open meeting once a month in the PAD Community Centre where refugees can express their concerns and needs and we listen to any suggestions and assist where possible. For example, during the past two years, in response to refugee demands we offered a first aid course for refugees, we stopped making health education in the centre compulsory as so many users needed to leave the centre early to get back to work, and we altered the appointment system so that people did not have to wait a day for a consultation.
Refugees are survivors in a difficult world and I appreciate that in order to attain good health they need jobs, good housing, food, education, security and empowerment. This is not easy in Yemen because so many Yemenis are poor themselves. But I have been impressed with the refugee community and the way that people support each other in the best way they can. At the Refugee Health Centre we respect all refugees from all communities and do our best to offer a fair and good quality health service to everyone, irrespective of their ethnic background. Meanwhile I would like to thank my staff and the many refugees who use the centre who make my work so worthwhile and enjoyable by giving me and the centre their full support.
Judith Brown,
M.Sc.Econ., M.Sc.,RGN, RCNT.