Taking a closer look Yemen’s media has Islah Party all wrong [Archives:2003/02/Focus]

January 13 2003

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The end of 2002 had such a tragic and sad end, and is a beginning to what is much worse.
For the loss of one of the national opposition symbols in such a horrid way, and in such a critical time and place is too painful a fact to endure. That ugly incident has made one feel that we are in a jungle and not in a democratic state as we keep claiming day and night.
But what’s worse is the way some politicians, intellectuals and media people treat such sensitive issues, especially the official media, which dealt with this case in a wicked way and clear manipulation.
Unusually, the Yemeni channel broadcast the news minutes after it took place, supported with pictures, and did so dozens of times before and after the main news. What the news was focusing on was that the criminal is a member of the Islah Party and a student in Al_Iman University, drilling in the audience minds that the Islah Party’s hands are stained with Jar Allah’s blood.
And how would such news end but with a flood of abuses and curses targeting terrorism, extremism and fanatic beliefs?
Religious brainwashing
Stating more than once that it was the religious brainwashing and the fanatic programming that the criminal had undergone that drove him to committing such awful things.
At the same time the murderer denied any relation with the Islah Party. He said while being investigated that it was an individual act and was driven by his obsession with the extremist thoughts which made the people in authority and even those in the Islah Party worth killing and far from Islam.
This man was earlier arrested for abusing the president and Shiekh Abdulla Al-Ahmar and many of the Islah leaders accusing them and skewing them away from the true religion.
Therefore, no reasonable person could say that he actually belongs to that political party which he trashed in many occasions.
Moreover, if he belonged to that party, he would have assassinated Jar Allah Omar – who walked without security or body guards – in the street or any other place or time. I knew the late Jar Allah Omar and how accessible he is to any one who wants to reach him.
The legacy of a man
I have interviewed him last year for the Yemen Times and I was duly impressed with his courage and frankness. Whoever wanted to kill him could have done so anywhere.
As for the criminal belonging to Al-Iman University, this was eight years ago, and in fact he dropped out of the university because he could not adjust in the environment he found there. For that matter, the same man studied in Sana’a University before that and also belonged to the army.
So how does his studying at some point of his life in Al-Iman University be of relation to what he has done today? And does that mean that anyone who studies there could be the same? And why can’t we say the same for Sana’a University, or the army? Why measure with two different scales?
The Islamic movement, which started in 1948 and was called: “Yemeni Assembly for Islah” had and still has a long history of moderate peaceful policy. It never clashed with the state, in fact it come into and out of ruling positions in an amazing democratic way, impressing even those who predicted the bloodshed.
As for the hearsay about the Islah Party not allowing security forces to safeguard the conference, and they depending on their members for that, then would have the criminal failed to enter had the government provided the security instead? Looking at the current security circumstances of the country gives a clear answer to that.
The rocket incidence
As an example, Ba-Jammal stated in his speech in the Parliament Assembly this week that a terrorist group fired a rocket on an American airplane from Sana’a Airport, but they missed. Perhaps that rocket (not a gun or a pistol) escaped the eyes of the wide-eyed alert security men in the city.
Forget the city, how did it get through to the airport? How can the repetitive explosions taking place in sensitive so called protected areas be explained? The one happening near the Political Security Forces Center was not the first or the last one.
And what is most ironic, the unusual attention that was paid to the late Jarallah Omar, by the official media. Suddenly in their eyes he has become the great patriot, the brave-heart and martyr of democracy. Where were they before he was shot dead?
Wasn’t this the same man who was continuously attacked by the same media elements being accused of double standards and deceit? That he is benefiting from selling his own country secrets and interests to no so much well wishers?
Was the case going to be the same had he not been assassinated in that particular place and time? I am sure had he died elsewhere he would have received merely two lines at the end of 9 oclock news, as a by the way news.
Looking closer
Before we jump into conclusions and start pointing fingers here and there, we must give some thought to a few points I would like to state as follows:
Jar Allah Omar was expected to turn over situations and bring together an agreement between Islah Part and the YSP. This new partnership could have become a strong rival for the ruling party.
The recent period was termed as one of the best in the relationship between the YSP and the RP. Would the Islah Party have done something like that now?
The Islah Party was under attention and it knew that very well. Why would they have caused negative publicity for themselves especially that they are preparing for the elections?
Yemeni people are greatly influenced by media and they follow the mob without thinking most of the time. The official media has a particular way of swaying crowds, so you must think before you believe.
I want to repeat the last point, think, and think carefully. We must unite to take one stand against all factors of terrorism and not let any fruitless arguments blind us from the true things. Instead of throwing the blame, we should start learning the rules of dialogue and respect the other point of view.