Why is everything politicized? [Archives:2004/716/Viewpoint]

March 1 2004

Just after the elections of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) ended last week with the win of Mahboob Ali and the 12-members board, some openly expressed disappointment and dismay for the results and claimed that the results were based on political interests and resembled political struggle between the opposition and government.
Whether this is true or not is not as important as the fact that we have become a nation that likes to politicize everything. I was personally present when the elections took place, and saw that, despite some technical difficulties, the election process was honest and transparent.
Yet still many come out saying it was politicized giving the impression that there must have been a conspiracy around the whole event.
It is a pity to see that after so much hard work and efforts to make the final stage of the journalists conference a success by ensuring transparency and credibility in the voting process, still that was not enough to avoid accusations that things were done behind closed doors to guarantee this result.
The YJS elections is only one of tens of other stories in various institutions, unions, and even tribes. I remember an incident in which tribesmen from the very same tribe were killing each other because of political differences and because of their members belonged to the ruling party while the other belonged to the opposition.
In extreme cases, partisanship and politics can even get into the field of education when students would fight each other because of political differences, and in rare causes teachers may fail students because of political affiliations.
This is not what it is supposed to be!
Politicizing everything is not in the advantage of any side, it is rather a negative phenomenon that emerged because of our immature understanding of politics and political affiliations.
Belonging to a political party means that one believes in its goals and works on achieving them through political circles, not by enforcing his or her ideas on the rest regardless of the others' beliefs and convictions.
Our poor understanding of freedom has made us prey to our own freedom, which is not a healthy process unless we believe in each others' right to think and believe.
It is tolerance that we lack in our Yemeni society when it comes to politics, and I am sure it was our political leaders who contributed to this.
I remember an occasion when we were visiting a college in one of the governorates near Sanaa and once we arrived to the dean's room, we were surprised to hear him saying that he is launching a campaign for the ruling party within his colleague to promote the party's standing and support throughout the instructions.
I openly expressed my shock and surprise at what the dean said and told him that this was supposed to be a college where students come to learn and get education not be taught political ideologies and other nonsense.
It is unfortunate that most of those heading such institutions or public authorities do not believe that their professional duties must be first and political affiliation second.
It will take time before we get rid of this outdated mentality, and this cannot happen unless there is new blood flowing in key leading positions in our government, who know the value of professional and honest work and never politicize as the earlier generation did.