Silver LiningDemocracy is never evil guys! [Archives:2005/860/Opinion]

July 18 2005

By Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
[email protected]

It seems that the media barrage between the government and opposition parties is leading us to a real fix. I have been appalled when I read the Thursday issue of the army paper 26th September writings literally saying:” the reality has shown after 15 years of freedom of speech and political pluralistic system is no more than a superstition and a great risk which have resulted in negative outcomes to the society as this freedom has produced parasites that have found those who teach them how to differentiate between the freedom of opinion and defamation or insulting.”

This is a very serious statement coming from an official paper, claiming that democracy has been experienced for 15 years and now proved to be something bad for the society. This is exactly what the paper which is very close to the presidential office wants to say.

The paper harshly attacked in different pages those people calling for political reform, alleging they are enemies of the society, being of harm to the so-called al-Thawabit al-Watania (national established norms) because they are hinting to get the support of foreign forces in a way that will violate the national sovereignty of the country.

It has even said that some journalists whom it has described as childish and parasites are exploiting the scope of freedom we enjoy to ferment disorder and devastate the interests of the nation.

Hey guys, please note that democracy is no more a gift of the rulers they can give or usurp whenever they want. It is rather a basic human rights and a global value that all nations are seeking to achieve. Democracy is a value that will grow and flourish with more freedom. It is not a garment that we can wear put on or off according to the rulers' wishes and interests.

I believe is very unwise for the official paper to show the anger of the rulers with democracy and the practices of journalists and opposition figures in such a way, though it translated the reality. Yet, this discourse is even against the statements of the president and government officials that democracy is the choice of the Yemeni people.

I know that democracy sometimes hurts the rulers, mainly in an emerging democracy like ours, and becomes a pain in the neck for them but here we feel its sweetness as it enables to the people to question and hold their rulers accountable. This is the essence of a democracy.

I do not know what thawabit watania those people are taking about. I am really one of those guys who do not believe in such a thing and think that we should all be governed by the law rather than thawabit watania which exist in the air. Why do not we apply the law and order and if someone has done a mistake, try him within the provisions of the law rather than thawabit watania, a disgusting concept to me.

What is funny also is that the newspaper itself threatened that the replacement of dialogue would be “the application of the law against anyone who intends to harm the country, its stability and the interests of its people.” What does this mean? It means that our laws are halted and never put into effect which is a shame to these people in charge.

To drive the point home, to criticize the corrupt officials who are not doing their job properly or those people in power doing business, abusing their positions to get enriched is not a thing that would destabilize the society or harm its unity; it is not an act of treason at all. It is rather a job we all have to do if we like this society and want to prosper and develop. Criticizing officials for their wrongdoings regardless of their ranks in a professional and responsible writing should no longer be a taboo or a prohibition.

We might not agree with the content of some of the writings of journalists but this does not justify the stupid calls to give up democracy as it is no longer in their hands to decide so.