We need reforms [Archives:2004/782/Opinion]

October 18 2004

By Abdulwahab Al Sofi
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

Every year on September 26th, the Yemeni people celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. It was an historical partition between a tyrannical era and an era of development, civilization, democracy and freedom. Nowadays, Yemeni people are celebrating the occasion of the 42nd anniversary. I cannot number the achievements of the revolution during the last 42 years. Through this period, most of Yemen's dreams have come true. Yemeni's have been given their rights in many fields. It is only history which can narrate to the new generation, the achievements of the revolution. I think there is nothing more important than the unity achieved after the revolution. This is aside from, the visible progress in many fields. To prove this, let us bring you back to the dark ages, in order to show the difference.
It is not possible for people of Yemen to compare between the age of the Imam and new modern Yemen. In the Imam's age, Yemen was completely isolated from the outside world. He closed the door to all entries. He refused all other cultures, whether were good or bad. Even Yemeni students, who could infiltrate to their homeland after completing study abroad, were detained by the Imam as they had new thoughts and wanted to improve life. Moreover, he killed many of the educated people. Although Yemen, in that period, was rich with many Islamic scholars who were fought by the Imam, it was an undeveloped country in which ignorance spread. Consequently, the Yemeni people lived for a long period with undeveloped lives.
Day by day, their suffering gradually increased. Many of those sufferers struggled against the Imam until they became revolutionaries. They sacrificed their lives to make modern Yemen. Some were killed by the Imam but others are still alive to bear witness to the tyranny of the Imam. Those revolutionists fought the Imam to build a better life for all Yemenis. We should remember them as long as we are still alive. They sold their souls to salvage Yemenis from ignorance and despotism.
Thus, the revolution came to produce the Republic by which the Yemeni people's livelihood clearly improves. They have their rights. Many hospitals have been built in every governorate of Yemen. Schools for both girls and boys also were built in every village. Universities were built in most Yemeni cities. Telecommunications and electricity services were made available in all Yemeni cities. On the other hand, what has been mentioned above, does not satisfy many Yemeni observers. The picture is still incomplete and dark. Administrative deterioration continues and bribery has spread to every corner of the government.
The unemployment rate increases year by year. Poverty and disease still dominate all over the Republic of Yemen. The Ministry of public health is struggling to insure sick people get better care inside Yemen. The big calamity, however, is that Education does not augur welfare at all. Each school year is worse than the one before. The matter has reached a peak. We do not only suffer from illiteracy, but also we unfortunately suffer from 'educated illiterates'. Some people, having finished secondary school, cannot read and write properly. Students who have studied for 12 years in school, but they are really unable to read and write. It seems unbelievable, but it is the truth. If we remain silent about this, what can we expect from our university graduates?
All those responsible for education should be ashamed. In addition to that, electricity is the worst service in Yemen without any competitor. People in some areas taste the bitterness of blackouts for 2 hours a night, daily. Should we remember the era of the Imam during that two hours and celebrate what is going on? The September 26th anniversary should illuminate people as to their better lives, not remind them of the Imam's era. Otherwise there is no need to celebrate. I would like to attract your attention the fact that we need another, new revolution. We are in need of a better revolution, which differs from the September 26th revolution. It is a revolution of the resurrection of our responsible consciences.
We need exclusive reform that starts from the peak of the Pyramid to its basement. Then it will be a real revolution, which, at that time, deserves a big celebration monthly not annually. Will it come? Only our honourable people can determine.