Suar Al-Dhahab and Thomas Jefferson, they are not! [Archives:2005/868/Opinion]

August 15 2005

“Look, Abdullah, I told you time and again, don't attend meetings, don't participate in demonstrations and for heaven's sake, keep your mouth shut about the situation in the country. There is just no way, you can bring about a change alone.” The father was again telling his son to stay out of political trouble.

“But Muhsin, they hit him while he was just coming home from school, where he went trying to find out his grades, which haven't come out yet and he was walking alone. He had nothing to do with the demonstrations, nor was he speaking his mind out to anybody when the police started to attack any grouping of people they suspected of being subversives. All his friends said Abdullah was just walking and minding his own business, said the mother defending her son's innocence in the last demonstrations that shook the country and showing that she has done some investigation of her own.

“Yasmine, you are trying to tell me that the police just hit on anybody they meet up with, even non trouble makers. I find that hard to believe. After all the policemen are regular people themselves and they wouldn't want any normal law-abiding citizens as targets of their law enforcement duties.” The father was not yet convinced of his son's innocence.

“Look Dad, they even picked up little kids who were just standing around the area where the police became a little overzealous in carrying out their orders: 'anyone you find standing in your way or suspicious, hit them before they hit you'. I heard one of the officers speaking to his men that way as they approached a group of youngsters who had gathered at the intersection trying to figure out what was going on. When a burning tire came in the direction of the policemen they got edgy and the officer gave out the stern orders. The tire came from a far distant location from where the kids were standing. So, I felt sorry for some of those youngsters being dragged like that into police vehicles and started to convince the first officer that these kids should not be arrested.” Abdullah was filling his father on the circumstances surrounding the bullet wound he had on his left arm and his subsequent arrest.

“See, Yasmine, I told you our boy here can't keep himself out of trouble. Why did he have to poke his nose into business that he should have known was bound to get him into trouble?” Muhsin couldn't help confirming his suspicions to his wife.

“There was just no way my conscience would allow that I do not try to do something to help those youngsters. Some of them were crying as the troops dragged them into the vehicles forcibly. All of a sudden a shot was heard and the security men in the armored vehicle jumped out in the street shooting wildly at the crowd. A bullet hit me then and as a bonus I got a whack on the head from the officer, I was trying to plead with for those kids.” The boy insisted that what he did was the only moral thing to do.

He continued: “When I was shot, the officer then said, 'Get out of the way or the next bullet might hit your head', almost laughing as he said that. When I told him, just think if his kids were caught in a similar situation, how would he feel? He told the troops to put me in the police car and take me away.”

“You know how hard it was to get you out? I had to call everyone in my address book to get you released, son. I even lied that you were arrested with a bullet stuck somewhere near your heart, when one of your friends told me you were shot. The father explained the circumstances he had to go through to get Abdullah out of jail, continuing: “In situations like that, you can't convince anybody to behave rationally or morally. God only knows what those disturbances could have led to if things really got out of control.”

Yasmine was somewhat unhappy with the way the demonstrations were handled: “Something tells me that the demonstrations were intended to be violent so that the government can hit hard at them and scare off any further demonstrations. I can't believe they would repeat what they did in the early days after unification, when the Government had security personnel infiltrate the demonstrations and arouse the demonstrators to be more vigilant. This is not how democracies are supposed to work my dear”.

Abdullah's sister, who is an outspoken critic of the Governmetn, entered the living room and the conversation: “What democracy? You can forget about this word. If it made a mistake and landed on our territory, it doesn't mean it is going to stay put. You got to remember most of our leaders didn't have the faintest idea what it means, when they got to power. It is just that international political arithmetic and our tireless advisers suggested the idea to our leaders, to placate the world powers that think it is a good thing to have, if you want their support. But now the sole superpower, is itself having trouble with the word and really cares the least about who is democratic and who is not. In fact the United States has broken every democratic rule in the book, in its “War on Terror” that it needs to continue to have dictatorships around, so that it doesn't look bad among its citizens. The present leaders of Yemen are not of the General Suar Al-Dhahab or Abu Hanifa Al-Nu'uman class of people, just as much as the current leadership in Washington is not of the Thomas Jefferson or John Adams genre. Oh sure, the US says that it went to Iraq to reinstate democracy, but the Prison of Abu Ghrieb was the best present our leaders could have from a superpower, to literally make them gladly state: 'well folks, if Uncle Sam can do it, so can we? We have a green light from Rummy, Condi and Cheney, to do whatever is necessary to stay in power.”

The father added, somewhat a little more bravely, then he was speaking before: “Bush is probably the greatest gift to the dictators of the Third World. He made America the creator of Guntanamo Bay Prison, the totalitarian Patriot Act and the various clandestine prisons that are kept all over the world under contract for the Bush Administration by Third World Leaders. I heard that Arab leaders have all put up large portraits of GW in their bedrooms out of love for the guy. They even toured the American Ambassadors in to their boudoirs just to show them how much they love him! It is not enough that we are already have political security apparatus giving most of the Arab populations nightmare, they have now added a Home Security Apparatus, emulating the United States, where the sky is the limit for the transgressions they can carry out! Thank God our son was lucky and just got a scratch in the arm from that mysteriously flying bullet in his direction.”