We need a new revolution [Archives:2002/41/Focus]

October 7 2002

By Nadia Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf
Forty years after the revolution, we feel a difference in Yemen. I was not there when there were only three schools in what was called North Yemen, compared to thousands today. When the illiteracy rate was more than 90% compared to the 60 to 70 per cent of today, but I can imagine.
I was not there when people thought what was beyond Yemen was only sea, compared to the awareness of the outside world among most Yemenis today, but I can imagine.
I was not there when the only duty women had was taking care of their homes and families, compared to now when they are given a chance to be something, at least once they break the family and outdated cultural chains. But I can imagine how oppressed they were.
The revolution has done a lot for us. We, the post-revolution generation, only hear of what it was like without really appreciating what our fathers and grandfathers have done for us.
It must be wonderful to be a legend. It must have been an extremely overwhelming feeling when answering freedom’s call in sacrificing lives in order to make a change to the better. Our fathers and grandfathers must have been very brave to fight an Imam who exploited the illiteracy of people in convincing them that he even had genies on his side.
But the revolution of a generation ago against the Imam was only one step in freedom road. Our task today remains large also. The earlier generation knew who their enemy was. We don’t. They knew what to do about it. We don’t. They knew whom to rely on. We don’t.
If the revolutionaries were behind many of the achievements of today, who is responsible for the deterioration in our lives? If our fathers and grandfathers are the ones who opened the door to liberty and righteousness, who are those ones who keep closing new doors in front of us now? Aren’t the youth supposed to make ‘it’ happen, whatever ‘it’ is?
I am not ungrateful to what my fathers and grandfathers have done; I only question what happened the moment after the revolution was declared.
I also have one more question to those who lived the “dark ages” of the Imam. Were people’s lives so cheap that they could be killed on the streets, like what happened on Sunday in Hadda Street, for no reason at all? Honestly, was the justice system of the time so biased and corrupt then also? Were people living in such un-humanly situations and miserable poverty then like they are today?
I want to become a freedom fighter too. Yes indeed! I want to make a change and carry on the legacy gained by the generations of the past. Should I start another revolution?
If yes, then against who? There is no Imam any more, so it should be a revolution against corruption, injustice, poverty, and disorder., but how do I do that?
Can any of the people who made it happen before tell me how to do it once again?