When Security Mess Predominates [Archives:1999/26/Focus]

June 28 1999

It is self-evident that a sense of security is of paramount significance, and is required for the state of stability in the life of the people of any society. Any development or progress in the arena of life follows such a condition. Otherwise, nothing can be achieved if people live under a constant threat of fear and terrorism. In other words, development in different aspects of life is stimulated by the availability of an environment of security. In fact, it is one of the essentials any government has to introduce into the life of its citizens. When people feel secure, life sets to prosperity and welfare of the public. Security can have various aspects and facets. People in Yemen don’t feel secure. They are afraid of the future of their country. 
The fluctuating and unstable situation of the Yemeni riyal creates ripples in their minds and make them see no silver lining in the sky. This makes our businessmen feel unsure of the economic situation which doesn’t produce any incentive for them to invest their money, which can be jeopardized at any time. Hence, economic stability is very important for any concrete and positive progress to take place.
Another point is that homicide incidents are reportedly increasing. Murders have become so common. When the government control over the situation breaks loose, chaos and disorder dominates and hence the law of the jungle prevails. Everyday we hear of tribal wars occurring everywhere; in Shabwa, Amran, Marib..etc. More often we hear of personal murders in Sanaa. The last one happened last week on Hadda street due to nothing but some kind of misunderstanding. The murderer accused the murdered of flirting a girl. The murdered shrugged his shoulders and ignored him. Then, hell broke loose; the murderer took off his jambia and inserted it into the heart of his ‘enemy’. How horrible!
People, maybe because of the endurable economic hardships, have become so intolerant. Any kind of misunderstanding or difference can get their nerves and make them murder or do any other evils.
A misunderstanding between people of two villages in Saber in Taiz over a water well could bring havoc to the whole region, where the military forces were embroiled into the turmoil and different sorts of weapons were used. Sometimes, it is the security apparatus that help exacerbate the situation because the more the situation worsens, the more it becomes beneficial to them. What nonsense!
The security people are supposed to provide protection to the rank and file. They should be always on the fence and never lean to the side of the influential and crooked bureaucrats; they should stand by law and order. But when this is not true, people no longer feel sure of the ability of the government to implement its laws. Our plight here in Yemen is not the non-existence of laws but the absence of their enforcement in reality. Laws should be applied to all people regardless of their influence in the society. The soul of democracy is that people should be treated equally by law.
Even the VIPs and influential figures are not spared the security mess. We still remember what the son of the parliamentarian Hamoud Khalid Al-Sofi did when his son was kidnapped from his school in Sanaa some months ago. That was because his brother Dr. Nabil made a surgical operation on a child who later on died, and the doctor is to blame, and the son of his brother is to be victimized. What a pointless excuse!
It is quite natural that the people have the right to feel socially, economically, politically, and psychologically secure at their home. Otherwise, they will search for a better place outside their home.
And this is actually what is happening in Yemen. Everybody is looking out for a visa to get to any country. To get a visa has become a priority for almost everybody. This is why we find even almseekers praying for you that you will get a visa to America or everywhere else so that you dispense with some money to him/her. In the past, the main concern of anyone was to get married and have a career which means a sense of security and certainty of what is to come. But now everybody is haunted by the idea going abroad.
You just get into a dabbab or minibus and listen to the commoners speech. They are grudgingly upset and disturbed by the situation, for life has become an abyss of hell for them.
This sense of insecurity and instability is of alarming dimensions. The absence of the government control over the situation makes people lose their confidence in it and makes it no longer able to impose it power. When influential figures, tribesmen, shiekhs, crooked officials and their sons break the law with no checks, it means that we are in a jungle. Commoners sometimes feel afraid to complain against their influential figures, even through newspapers, due to the harassment they might receive. It so happened to me once when I was as the Yemen Times Taiz Office Editor, that some people wanted me to report their problems with a parliamentarian in the paper. I was trying to collect detailed information about the problem. To my surprise, they came to the office of the paper and appealed to me not to get anything about the published problem. They were afraid of the counter attack owing to the publication of their problem. In this sense of insecurity, people have no choice but to take law into their hands, which means more reported homicides and killings, leading to more economic hurdles and pitfalls. A government which is not able to ensure it people this sense of security is no longer legitimate to govern them.
However, it is still in the hands of the government to introduce full application of law and order which accordingly will yield full existence of security. It is this way can we have a modern democratic nation. Otherwise, the motto of democracy will remain a word that doesn’t match reality. This is because democratic nations are those which fully respect law and order, the pillars of any civilized society. We have to remember that no law, no democracy and no application of law, means no development. Are we aware of the result of this simple formula? I wish so!