The past is just a good bye! (II) [Archives:2007/1062/Opinion]

June 25 2007

Jalal's brother, Farid was calling his brother to open the door because the electric bell was not working on account of the chronic blackouts the country is facing due to the considerable shortage of electricity generation.

“Fatima stop your political analysis and open the door for your uncle. He must have been shouting his throat out to be heard. Jalal did not want his daughter to get carried away with her political assessments.

Yasmine continued where her daughter Fatima had left off: “That is just it my dear Jalal. For how long have we had this electricity problem? Just imagine twenty years and our government cannot set up a couple of power plants to keep up with the demand for power production. If that is not a failure on the part of the government, than what else can be viewed as failure? Electricity is so important to the provision of all kinds of services, public and private and is also very important from an economic standpoint. Just think. Who would want to invest in a country that cannot provide sufficient power to keep a factory working for twenty four hours a day?”

Jalal's brother wanted to add some power to what Yasmine was hitting at: “One wastes so much time with the ongoing power blackouts and more than that resorting to candles and other standby sources of lighting is inefficient and taxing on the eyes! Someone ought to carry out a study to show the actual economic costs of power blackouts on the society.”

“Come on uncle Farid, you are worrying about an hour or so a day of power outage. In many areas of the Governorate of Sa'ada, they have never ever seen electricity, let alone suffer from temporary power blackouts. We should be thankful at least that we can still see some television at night. But really, one must give note of the fact that power blackouts are a pain for students who are cramming for final examinations.” Fatima wanted to get back to her political criticisms.

“Speaking of Sa'ada, it seems that the war there is over” said Jalal

His brother pointed out: “Another problem in this country is that reality seems to defy logic. Here is a long awaited end to the unfortunate violence that has overtaken this peaceful province of Yemen for the last three years announced by all the concerned parties including the broker of this fragile peace, only to be broken again in just a few hours after its announcement by all concerned. What happened is not yet clear, but the hope is that the peace will hold out. For sure it is not expected that many of those who profit from war are not keen on seeing the peace in Sa'ada hold out for long. But one would think that some respects for the tireless efforts of our brothers in Qatar would be given the respect that such efforts deserve. But alas in Yemen, we seem to find it easy to disrespect all norms of behavior and interaction between people. Moreover, we find greater ease in initiating and encouraging conflict than avoiding it or ending it.”

Yasmine joined the brotherly discussion, with another of her long discourses: “Farid, what happened in Sa'ada defies explanation, in terms of the beginning of the conflict and now this tragic unsure ending. One should rather say that in Yemen all things seem to defy explanation. When peace is celebrated, the peace is broken by the least expected of excuses. Surely this is not the way to improve our credibility with our friends. As it is now Yemen ranks number 24 among sixty nations prone to being failing states. This is only saying it mildly on a number of indicators that show Yemen to be on the verge of being cancelled as a country with sufficient grounds for progress and development. There is probably a very dismal chance that we will make it to the Gulf Cooperation Council in TEN YEARs or so, since we have failed to convince the most friendly state to Yemen among the GCC members, Qatar that we are sincere in opting for peace, and for other favorable options that come with peace!”

To be continued.

Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.