September Revolution, Will of a homeland [Archives:2006/986/Opinion]
Dr. Ibtihaj Al-Kamal
Talking about the revolution has remained to be associated with two impressions, sticking together in the mind of whoever remembers the time and knows the reality of what happened on the 26th of September, 1962. The first impression is associated with pain and grief as well as anger against a period of time that raped the will of the Yemeni human of a free and dignified life. A time dragged him onto courses of humiliation at the hands of those kings who made of themselves divine gods affecting every individual of the powerless people under the yoke of hunger, poverty, illness and ignorance with their curses. Tribal wars destroy every beautiful dream in eyes of children and upcoming generations to nip it in the bud before it could grow and get closer to reality.
The second impression is embodied by the feeling of self-esteem. The power of people's will and willingness to sacrifice led the revolutionaries of the 26 of September to conquer the legend of the imamate nightmare. It is a feeling that still creates pride of that historic day. This feeling increases our enthusiasm in order to convey these two impressions to our children to realize what kind of a nation is our Yemeni one and with what will our men had destroyed the strongholds of tyranny and sacerdotalism.
With 43 years passing since the revolution we find ourselves wondering why the regimes choose tyrannical and despotic systems whereas among other systems we preferred justice, and respect of human rights. We ask why some rulers do intentionally starve their people when they are able to help them earn their living with dignity.
We may tackle these matters through their humanitarian and conscientious perspective but the political meaning will however impose itself in any way and situations. When the talk broaches the imamate period we find ourselves indulge in talking about the story of a family that inherited governance of Yemen throughout years, their good and bad. All that family's goal was to preserve its own interests in keeping the rule inside the family of Al-Hamidudin. Their interests had priority to the rest of the Yemeni people, which means the family would inevitably get confronted by others whose interests are in contradiction with that family, but the Al-Hamidudin family may not go beyond protection of the monarchy rule.
Tribal dispersion, consolidated throughout historic periods and the continued mutiny against the authority led to double the feeling of danger among the ruling family but instead of thinking of cleaver and good solutions to remove danger via peaceful political means and ways the imamate authority rushed towards options of oppression and killing the opponents and imposition of collective punishments which worsened the situation an increased insistence of those against the rule to go ahead in resistance and struggle and confrontation.
The major problem that toppled Yemen's situations during the imamate rule and led to the ruling system was the system was unable to establish its suitable political institutions with which to manage the rule. The harsh methods some imams used to practice had made the people tolerant without taking into consideration the size of sacrifices or the consequences hat may affect them as a result of hat they were doing. This explains the succession of rebellious movements and revolts in the middle of last century.
The collective punishments had made the Yemeni people loose all sources of their livelihood and put them in severe poverty in a way some people were forced to tie stones to their abdomens out of hunger. Therefore the economic activity came to a halt and the world began to hear about death creeping to different aspects of the Yemeni life. Thus the Yemeni's were not caring to live or die with the sword of the imam for both of them meant the same pain and suffering. The Yemeni motives of values and norms, preferred to meet a dignified death in struggle fields with a feeling of optimism that the day would come when they would get rid of those tyrannous burdens they were suffering from under the rule of the imam and injustice of its acts, and so was the choice of revolt.
The recollection of the meanings of the 26 of September revolution may lead us to a fully similar remembering of both the revolutions of 14th of October and 30th of November led by our Yemeni people in the southern parts of the country which were groaning under the British occupation for about a century and a half.
If the imams had found in suppression a means with which they thought they would muffle the voices of those opposing their policies, the British were not different in this choice and so they practices various types of tyranny against the our people there to extinguish the fires of their wrath that was rejecting colonialism so they faced the same shameful destiny of defeat and leaving behind them a country confronted with challenges of poverty, backwardness and ignorance and disease as we as a completely collapsed infrastructure and the worst economic situation.
Remembering the revolution is a lesson with which the Yemeni people will is renewed, that will of protecting their national gains and defending them with whatever dear and also to work with all possible energies to consolidate this great revolution's principles which delivered our Yemen and people from the abyss, and led them up the steps of their human glory under which it is now practicing democracy, enjoying human rights and various types of freedom as a natural deserve for the people struggle and sacrifices they offered in all their revolutions.
I believe all the present political forces have to realize the great difference between the two periods, before and after the revolution. They need to be aware of their responsibilities and not to stop at the boundaries of celebration protocol on the anniversary. They have to ponder long the revolution's political implications stressing how negligence of political dialogue could lead to estrangement and then to conflict which always leads to partition of our homeland.
Dr. Ibtihaj Al-Kamal is a female political activist and the general manager of the national medicine supplies program.