What Happened to Yemen? [Archives:2001/51/Focus]

December 17 2001

Iqbal A. Al-Asnaj
Recently, I visited Yemen after an absence of almost five years. The landmarks have changed and buildings are now everywhere. Roads have been constructed and the cities, especially Sanaa and Aden have undergone remarkable changes. These two cities, I realized have been given a real facelift. I was thrilled to see all those developments.
However, the happiness did not last long, I wished it did. Basic traffic rules did not exist. Everything is on the road – cars, persons, carts, bicycles, etc. No one seems to know anything about “traffic rules”. I am a driver but guess what, I could not and did not even dream of driving in Yemen. I was possessed by a certain kind of phobia, let’s call it road phobia.
Any development, I always believed, should be accompanied by the basic needs. If such basic needs are not met, then it becomes a chaotic and jungle-like life. Unfortunately, that is exactly what I felt during my lovely stay at home.
Another thing that really ripped my heart is the huge gap between those who can afford and those who can not. It is tragic to see those alms seekers on the roads, at traffic lights and in the markets.
Another concern was the amount of garbage on the roads and everywhere. Are we not civilized people? By simple analogy, don’t we often become fanatics about our house cleanliness? Why can’t we trash our garbage in the proper place rather than toss them on the roads and from windows and cars? Now this is not civilization, I bet you!
Lastly, I was amazed to see people processing their “muamala” in government office to get the paperwork done, or rather to get their files from one employee to the other and at the end of the day they tend to pay for the “muamala”, the employee and the charges of the real matter! Am I missing something here? What is the concerned person’s role if not to follow his/her own file? I wish someone in the helm of affairs reads my queries and takes them into consideration.
Yemen needs a better treatment. it’s beautiful and serene. Please do not destroy it further. My heartfelt greetings to my people, friends and my people the Yemenis. God bless Yemen.