The VICIOUS cycle [Archives:2005/851/Viewpoint]

June 16 2005

The Editorial Board
Reading the news of late, it seems that the state has gone in a violent frenzy targeting anything relating to fundamentalists. Various incidents ranging from storming a popular school for Islamic studies, clashes with university students during demonstrations, student unions of the Islah party along with forceful closure of many Islamic schools, under the pretext of combating terrorism.

History reveals that any acts of violence, especially from the state against citizens who were seen as normal people in the recent past, have lead to greater violence and dismay among the public.

The understanding gap between the state and the public leads not only to mistrust on both sides but also on each of the parties, which in many ways would stand against the other to achieve its objectives. This means that unless the state shares its mission and goals with the people, draws national strategies to keep the interests of the people as first priority, and unless this is a fact, then the misunderstanding and mistrust will always take place.

There are peaceful means in dealing with cultural and social issues such as Islamic schools. Not everything is politically oriented or at least as seen by the normal people. Unless the state gives a valid explanation as to why such schools that the people have been going to and depending on as means for educating their children, are being termed as harbors for terrorism and consequently closed down, they would see this as an attack against the local communities and their inherited right to believe.

What's worse is that the Yemeni security forces are very tactless and lack professionalism. In the West, cops are always associated with doughnuts and idiotic dialogues, in the east- such as in Yemen, police are associated with corruption, bullying, idiocy and violence. A recent incident was reported last week in Wisab al-Aali near Ibb governorate when a man accused of murdering his wife and son. Since they could not catch the murderer, the security forces arrested his bull instead. I don't know if bull is being interrogated as we speak now, but I sure feel sorry for the poor animal.

What happens if people lose confidence in their protectors? A well known proverb says “hamiha haramiha” indicating that the one who protects is the one who robs. Being in the security force means more than just bullying people and attacking those who are not wearing the uniform.