The Patriot [Archives:2005/840/Viewpoint]

May 9 2005

There are two movies for Mil Gipson – an American actor – that I can never get enough of: Brave Heart and The Patriot. The reason being is that they are full of braveness, love for the country and standing up for one's rights. It touches everyone's heart to hear the battle cries, they echo within your mind for hours to come, especially the part when he shouts “freedoooom” at a final scene in Brave Heart.

I am not trying to promote these movies or this actor, although he deserves it. I just want to pause for a second here and reflect on these feelings, because I wonder if we feel them any more.

Recently we were invited to celebrate Koninginnedag or (“Queen's day”) of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands by HE the ambassador to Yemen. I could defiantly say that the most touching moment of the whole evening was when the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was played and when its citizens sang along. It felt so serene and honest.

They were singing from their hearts and to the love of their country. It was a beautiful evening but I returned home sour in my heart thinking, why didn't any of the Yemeni people who were present there – and they were many – give that much credit to their national anthem? They weren't even solemn when it was played. Is it that we don't love our country as much? Or is it that we show our love in different ways? And if it was in different ways then in which ways? This reminds me of what I recently heard about Malaysia and which made me astonished and jealous of the Malaysian people and their commitment to their country.

Whether it is true or not I don't know but apparently when they realised that the regular hours they put every day at work would not be sufficient to achieve the goals set forth by their country leadership, a strategy that was shared with and adopted by the people, they DEMANDED to work two hours more officially. Indeed this is a show of love to their country, I just can't figure how we love ours, because it is not showing very much.

But then again, what makes one patriotic? Isn't it the ease of living and the available facilities and freedoms? If the Yemeni people were more free to live, to speak, to work, to manifest, to object, to travel, if there was protection of rights, properties and dignities.

Maybe then, the Yemeni people could love their country more, work harder for its prosperity and give in return for what this country should have given its people to start with. I long for the time when I used to sing our national anthem as a little child attending school and when Yemen was not just in my heart, it was all my heart! Nevertheless, Vive le Yemen.