The Revolution: 40 years later [Archives:2002/41/Focus]

October 7 2002

Forty years after the September 26 Revolution, Yemen continues on its road to change and progress. In some ways, it’s made strides. In others, however, the road to progress still lays ahead.
To celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, The Times has given a forum for three Yemeni intellectuals and politicians to comment on where Yemen is in relation to the revolution’s goals, and how it’s dealing with challenges such as poverty, illiteracy and healthcare.
Abdulbari Taher,
writer, journalist and political analyst
It is undeniable that Yemen has reduced the level of poverty which covered the whole of Yemeni society. But poverty today, at almost 40 % of the population living below the poverty line, is still high.
It seems that neither the revolution nor the unification of Yemen or developmental plans have overcome this problem which covers half of the population in the country.
Illiteracy is part of the problem, as statistics indicate that illiteracy rate exceeds 70 per cent among women and 60 per cent among men.
There is also a school dropout problem, which has increased dramatically during the last few years. This is a clear indication of the growing number of illiterate people.
As for healthcare, cases of Malaria have spread to the areas where there was previously no malaria at all. This can be clearly seen through areas such as, Sana’a and Khawlan.
Hepatitis is another problem.
I also question any privatization of medicine and education. These social services are the main obligations of the state.
In the end, what has been achieved since the September 26 Revolution is relative. It’s progress that’s hard to measure.
Mohammed Abdurahman Jahhaf
After 40 years, the Yemeni revolution has liberated the Yemeni common man from despotism, backwardness, poverty, pestilence and illness. It also liberated him from the global isolation we used to live in.
Some noble goals of the revolution have been completely achieved. Let’s take justice as an example, a cornerstone for healthy societies in countries across the world.
If justice has been served, nations would feel safe; people would also enjoy themselves with a clear conscience. Citizens would lead a happier life.
Love will predominate and with this, tyranny and injustice will come to an end. Justice is an indispensable factor for nations to achieve a full equity to get rid of malice and hatred.
If justice is served, economies will also prosper.
And with justice comes more social equity.
Conversely, in the absence of justice, chaos and disturbance will create havoc and ruin. Without justice, the balance of life will completely change and everything beautiful will also disappear.
We as citizens have to work hand-in-hand to achieve this goal. It is time for those who govern the state to relinquish their private goals and joins their hands together and turned a new page.
The Yemenis public needs to have to stop clapping their hands in approval of things that are wrong and hypocritical. They have to tell the truth, even when that’s hard.
The Caliphate Ali, (May God Honor him) once said, ” I wonder! How a ruler has been buttered up and he himself knows that.”
With that said, we are happy that the president has recently paid a full attention to some vital developmental projects particularly, agriculture and roads.
In many ways, the president is on the right track. He spares no efforts for a better future for the country.
The revolution is the dream for all Yemenis. It is a revolution against backwardness and ignorance, begun when Yemen was liberated from isolation.
But the revolution has not accomplished Yemen’s ambitions and dreams. Shortcomings can be attributed to consequent leaderships.
Forty years has offered time for Yemen to be developed. Lets take for instance, countries like Japan or Taiwan after 40 years. There is a big difference in how far they’ve developed.
The nearest examples are our own neighboring countries. We see with our own eyes an eye-catching development in all aspects of life. Despite of the similar potentials between our country and these countries, we find ourselves behind.
The problem lies in the fact that those who take control of everything in the state have to take care of the individual who is the powerhouse of building the nation.
Favoritism, partiality and incompetent administrators poses a huge serious problem and therefore, they should be held accountable for our backwardness.
Abdurahman A. AL-Baidhani,
A former vice president and a former prime minister
Yemen is suffering from poverty and therefore is in need of immediate economic tackling. Still, if we look at the conditions of the poor before the revolution, we find that there is a proportional improvement for the majority of the people in Yemen after the revolution.
Yemen still is in need of radical economic change.
The majority of people of Yemen were more oppressed before the revolution, including through taxes imposed upon them. This created resentment among Yemenis, and at length many immigrated abroad.
As for education in Yemen during these 40 years, there have been dramatic educational transitions. Thousands of schools have been built at all levels. A number of private and public universities are readily accessible to the public. The percentage of illiteracy has gone down.
Around 60 thousand students have graduated form these universities every year along with hundreds of MA holders and doctorates.
Far fewer schools existed before the revolution, and students desiring further education were forced to study abroad.
While there are more graduates from Yemeni universities and institutes, it’s still disappointing that many of them are jobless.
Concerning health services before the revolution, there were only three hospitals. One was in Sana’a, the second was in Taiz, and the third was in Hodiedah. Doctors weren’t qualified.
During these 40 years, dozens of public and private hospitals have been established along with public health clinics. In addition, a proportional improvement in the field of the health sector has seen considerable progress.
That doesn’t mean Yemen healthcare is in now in a very good condition. More free medical services are still needed for people, especially where epidemics have begun to spread very quickly.