When terrorism kills youth [Archives:2005/855/Opinion]

June 30 2005

By Yasser al-Mayasi
[email protected]

Terrorism and counter-terrorism have been the talk of the world. Terrorism is the enemy against which the whole world is facing and trying to alleviate its dire consequences. That fearful specter which wants to turn human civilization into ashes, obliterating and devastating its achievements. Terrorism is dangerous to both human and religious values creating a chaotic world sometimes under the pretext of religion. However, terrorism is diametrically opposed to religious tenets and values.

Perhaps the story of sad-faced Najla, a 12-year-old girl, is a curt descriptive statement of the ugly face of terrorism which is destitute of all religious values. Najla lost her father who went outside to fetch medicine for her. He was walking along one of Aden's streets when a car bombr explosion killed him.

It would take a long time trying to describe terrorism and what it caused the world and Muslims in particular. However, in this article, we are tackling part of its impact on the Yemeni youth.

The Sept 11 events were a major terrorist crime which distorted human values and ethics. Those attacks had no real justification and had no clear purpose except for destruction. It is a crime which dissatisfied the whole world. The Arab and Islamic nation is the most affected by the attacks. It is by all means a real crime that pleases nobody.

Being youth, we have to understand our reality and discuss the problems which we suffer because of terrorism. We should know the size of joblessness created by terrorism among youth. They are liable to misery. We should know that terrorism has no values and tenets. We should as well ask, “What have Muslims gained from those attacks which were launched by individuals who represent themselves and their bleak frustrated mad ideas?”

They had lost the language of dialogue with the otherness, not only those who are different in language and thought but even with their fellowmen. It is time to understand the useful lesson from those horrible events. We have the right to know that those operations were fueled by misled youth. The difficult economic circumstances which most of them had were the doorway into their minds. They were victims while their leaders escaped into dark caves searching for life. They escape from death they taught to others. What a paradox?

Let us leave the discussion of those dirty attacks which have given birth to areas of conflict in different areas of the world. They have opened Pandora's Box. Let us objectively examine the effect terrorist acts and their effect on Yemen.

As young men suffering employment and searching for jobs, we have to know that terrorism is our adversary which has driven us into a labyrinth and given us the feeling of despair.

Examples of terrorism are galore but we are trying to review some of them and how they affected our reality.

On October 12, 1998, terrorists bombed destroyer USS Cole at Aden Port. That was neither the first nor the last incident. Later, happened the crime of kidnapping tourists and killing them in Abyan province. The so-called Aden-Abyan Islamic Army emerged led by Abu Hassan al-Mihdhar. Consider these statistics for a while. After these two terrorist incidents, Yemen was set to lose millions of dollars every year. The misery worsened. Number of tourists coming into Yemen sank. Some 60 thousand tourism contracts were cancelled. Yemen could have made use of their revenues. Thousands of young men employed by the tourism sector in tourist agencies, hotels, and tourist resorts, were sacked. They and their families became unsupported. The cause was the dirty terrorist acts.

The general budget's deficit as well as inflation increased which consequently resulted in less governmental posts. University graduates felt desperate. The international companies which presented to the young people a way out of the severe economic burdens terminated their contracts and move their activity to more stable and safer places. Our country's reputation was defaced by the mad act of those people.

According to official statistics, the commercial balance went down and has never since been fixed.

We conclude that all sectors were damaged by the terrorist operations even ports and long coasts could not employ young men. The number of containers arriving at the Free Zone became less. What added insult to injury was insurance companies' 300% fee rise on vessels calling at Yemeni ports. Therefore, ships were unwilling to visit Yemen which caused a loss of over $15 million monthly. The sea which used to employ hundreds and thousands of young men can no longer accommodate them. The oil that spilled from tanker Limburg has impaired its beauty and damaged its environment. This terrorist incident sent inland six thousand young people on an open unpaid vacation.

Projects of picturesque islands, estimated at $500 million and expected to create 7000 jobs, were lost and became unreachable.

We shouldn't forget that exceptional security measures to counteract terrorism consumed a huge budget which should have been used to alleviate unemployment. There are lots and lots of miserable stories about thousands of young men's terrorism-ruined lives.

Having reviewed and scrutinized part of the tragedy, shouldn't we play an ideological role to reject thoughts and cultures which bring nothing but devastation? Young people's interest lies in enlightening their minds, and instilling knowledge, tolerance and ethics in them. They should be immunized to the culture of violence and hatred and should adopt the culture of intimacy, accepting others and their sciences. This is our noble message and bright ideas are the ground of dialogue. Serious thinking of the calamities and crises we are facing makes us realize the seriousness of destruction-generation black ideas. We must know that youth are the victims of the ideas originated in the hell of terrorism. We have to know that awareness and knowledge are the way to reality and not fantasy.