See how facts are interpreted [Archives:2007/1102/Opinion]

November 12 2007

Ali Al-Sarari
During his address in Taiz a few days ago, President of the Republic hammered the last nail in the casket of press freedom, thereby warning of a pessimistic destiny for journalists. From H.E. Mr. President, we obtained a strange interpretation of the physical attacks against pressmen, as he confirmed that nobody assaults them and that it is those pressmen who machinate assaults against themselves. This conveys to us that any journalist, subjected to kidnapping, beating or threats, is responsible for what happens to him. This victim is also accused of selecting his abductors and assailants, as well as of paying them in exchange for beating him.

Who in this large world can believe in this interpretation and accept such charges against Yemeni journalists, who faced the ugliest forms of humiliation and insult? Did it happen that a president of any of the world countries listed such charges against native journalists?

We don't claim that the relation between pressmen and Mr. President should be always positive and friendly. And, the Yemeni journalists never aspire to enjoy sponsorship and sympathy of the president, but his constitutional duty necessitates that the top official protects journalists from any forms of mischief and physical beatings over exercising their noble job, which all the world countries, except for Yemen, respect and appreciate. In Yemen, the homeland of wisdom, press freedom and journalists are always subjected to brutal humiliation and face unreasonable charges.

Regretfully, we did see that in his statement, a top security official accused the brave journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani of fabricating an incorrect report on his being subjected to kidnapping and beating. This statement was understandable, based on the possibility that the security apparatuses are really unable to do their job well concerning that report, which implies involvement of influential officials, whom the government can not punish, in abducting Al-Khaiwani and beating him severely. This is why the top security official released such a shameful statement. But, does Mr. President suffer the same incapacitation to give an unbelievable interpretation of the case by saying that journalists fabricate assaults against themselves?

If journalists conspire against their dignities and bodies, what the subsequent benefit will be. No persuasive answer can be given to this question unless journalist are mentally ill or suffer psychological disorders. Even if we suppose that all or some of them suffer psychological disorders, which make one enjoy his being suffering and paining, no one can believe that this is the cause of fabricating assaults against oneself.

As said, “If the judge is your perpetrator, whom will you sue?” The odd interpretation of the repeated assaults against Yemeni journalists is not the only surprising thing in Mr. President's address, as a series of such unbelievable interpretations were also mentioned. The president attributed the increases of wheat prices to the behavior of citizens who store much of the product in their domestic barrels. According to this explanation, no international factors behind wheat price rises, and the reasons are domestic and directly related to citizens who store wheat in their household barrels.

In a televised interview with Aljazeera Satellite Channel, Mr. President gave a similarly strange interpretation for the case of military retirees in the southern governorates, who staged peaceful protests claiming their legal rights. Mr. President said that the retirees submitted written requests to be referred to pensions and their demands were met. His reason was that these retirees feared being exposed to liquidation campaigns after the 1994 Civil War, attributing their fears to the tragic events of January 13, 1986 and other bloody events that were occasionally devastating the southern governorates prior to the national unity. He added that those who requested to be referred to pensions out of fear rescinded their requests when they found that the situations turned normal and then claimed to be reinstated.

If presidents and leaders worldwide resort to such interpretations for the issues of their peoples, how their conditions will look like. Judicious people understand that wise leaders, who judiciously interpret facts, can resolve any problems of their peoples.

Ali Al-Sarari is a Yemeni Journalist and a well-known politician. He is the head of the information department at the Yemeni Socialist Party.

Source: Al-Nass Weekly