Thank you Al-Olofi [Archives:2005/821/Letters to the Editor]

March 3 2005

A. Baatheeb
[email protected]

I read the article by Yahya al-Olofi about weddings in Qabatiah Taiz. It saddened me as a Yemeni to learn about the racism against Yemenis of African origin. Such racist rituals in weddings and in general should be eliminated. The government and the media should educate our people that such practices and prejudice against our Yemeni brothers and sisters of African origin is not only uncivilized but inhuman and un-Islamic also.

Another interesting point although not new to me that al-Olofi raised was the discriminatory treatment Yemenis encounter at the airports of the Gulf states. I have lived for a short period in the UAE and believe me discrimination and prejudice against Yemenis was a common occurrence in governmental as well as private institutions for the simple fact that we are Yemenis.

So when I hear our president and other governmental representative spoke about the brotherly relations with the gulf states, I burst into laughter, there is nothing brotherly about being treated in discriminatory and contempt manner.

Yemenis in general are not welcomed in the Gulf States. I thank God that I have relocated to the united states of America. I feel like a human again, I belong here. Even after the tragic events of Sep. 11 everybody is treated equally in airports, old , young citizen and none citizens.

Of course travelers get searched in airports more thoroughly now, however in general everybody is treated equally whether you are an Arab or none Arab, citizen or none citizen.

Simply the American law does not allow for discrimination of any kind, and if any institution whether public or private engages in discrimination they can be held liable in the court of law, and the person who was discriminated against will be compensated as long as he or she can prove that he was maltreated or discriminated against.

In conclusion, with the Gulf states there is brotherly relations just in words but not in deeds. In Arab states and in the petroleum-rich states in particular, discrimination and racism is institutionalized while in America discrimination based on skin color, religion , ethnicity or discrimination of any kind it is forbidden.

Once again, thank you Yahya al-Olofi for raising this important issue.