Who is it going to be? [Archives:2005/861/Viewpoint]

July 21 2005

Earlier this week, exactly on Sunday Mr. President gathered a huge group of government officials, diplomats, civil society and NGOs to a session in which he delivered a speech on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of his rule. He narrated the various stages in which his regime had gone through highlighting the achievements especially the Yemeni unity, multiparty system, democracy and human rights. He encouraged true and justified opposition, women's participation and stressed on the need to fight poverty with the help of international community. He called on the international community not to interfere in Yemen's internal affairs. And that if they really want to help Yemen they should do it either through official channels or through authentic civil societies. His final note, which was the point that attracted a lot of side talk was when he declared that he no longer will be running for presidency. He promised that he would do his best to complete the remaining of his time which is a year and two months the best to his ability. He said something interesting, he said: “Why do revolutions take place? They take place because someone stayed in power for too long. It's been 27 years for me and you must have gotten bored of me and I of you. It is time for new blood, for young educated people to replace us as we have grown old and tired.”

When he said this, a number of people stood up and emotionally objected to this talk saying that they want him forever. I am sure that those people are not the representative of the whole Yemeni population, but they were a representation of majority of the people attending the speech. Ironically enough, a few days after his speech the long feared price hike was announced. Thousands of people yesterday were on the streets nervous and angry with the doubling of prices, it seems this was the final nail hammered in the Yemeni people's coffin during Mr. Saleh's regime.

Peaceful passing of power is a phenomenon Yemen has never known before. It would be really fascinating to have someone new with new ideas and strategies. Someone who can continue on the current achievements and help the Yemeni economy. It is possible to over come the current situation, Yemen has so much potential that have been misused and abused because of corruption. If the new man would be able to get rid of corruption, reform the judiciary system and instate justice and equality then everything will be fine. But who will it be? Who is the future hero? Is there anyone ready and qualified enough? Will he be able to make up for the damages? And if so will he be given a chance truly or is this just talk? And if he is given a chance officially will the people cooperate and trust him? What if it is a her?

So many questions came to my mind as I heard Mr. President's speech, it was well said and it felt genuine. Some times too good to be true, and it left me thinking, what a difference there is between talk and real life. And who will calm the burning hearts in the streets.