Time to Wake up to Globalization [Archives:1999/40/Viewpoint]

October 4 1999

Globalization is that word that is widely being mentioned these days. But it is in fact not well understood in Yemen. Many Yemenis see globalization as a dangerous phenomenon that can destroy the nationalism of countries and make the whole world ruled by a single power. 
Globalization did not come out from space. The telecommunication technologies of today are getting people closer to each other. One can talk with a person from Germany or a person from Japan with a simple click on a computer mouse. We are living in an era where country boundaries are slowly beginning to lose their effects as the ultimate separator between nations. The world is nowadays beginning to understand the importance of market economies. Today, countries have begun realizing the benefit of dealing with other countries in a broader sense. 
China for example, which was once seen as an isolated, conservative country is going through tremendous changes due to its transition to a market economy. Just two days ago, I watched the CNN World Report about China on the occasion of its national day. They mentioned things that were indeed referring to the fact that even the most conservative nations are slowly integrating with the rest of the world. They mentioned how the media is able to criticize government officials and reveal scandals within government offices. They showed how talk shows are getting popular on TV. In conclusion, they explained how China is beginning to permit activities that were once thought to be completely western, and hence shows that it is affected by globalization. Countries have come to the conclusion that staying isolated is not the proper answer. They realized that the integration with the world is the appropriate answer. There are several gigantic investment projects in China to be inaugurated within the coming years. They have opened the way for businessmen to invest and take their chances in their country, simply because they know it would eventually turn beneficial to them as well. It is worth mentioning that even Yemeni businessmen are among these investors. 
Yemen needs to realize that the world is going though a drastic transformation. Our country has a good future ahead of it, and the government should think twice before committing any step in an attempt not to spoil this future. It is about time that we in Yemen began feeling the signs of globalization, and cope with it. Globalization is forcing itself into our lives. Look at the Satellite dishes here and there. Look at the Internet publicity increasing day after day. Look at the efforts that are being made to have a united Europe. In other words, we should realize that the world is getting smaller and smaller, and we must cope with it if we are to develop and have a country with strong relations and a bright future. 
We can begin by opening the way for investment into our land, offering all kinds of facilities and dismissing taxes. We can get experiences form other nations on how to deal with security problems and know how to overcome economic difficulties. Many countries have undergone similar conditions as ours. However they were able to overcome them and start reconstruction until they turned into great nations. Why can’t we do the same? Why don’t we read between the lines and stop wasting time. We can look deeply into the history and find out that the solutions are ahead of us, yet we are wasting time trying to invent them. 
In the globalizing world of today, we should relinquish the thought that we are alone, and try to get assistance and advice from other countries by studying their experiences, and by searching for ways to obviate our dilemma. We may not be able to invent solutions, but we are certainly able to learn from others. It is time to become part of the world by trying to integrate ourselves to it more thoroughly. We should begin taking advantage of globalization. I hope my message will be heard.  Walid Al-Saqqaf Chief Editor