Wide-range campaign against kidnapping [Archives:2006/908/Local News]

January 2 2006

SANA'A, Jan. 1 ) The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is set to launch an extensive anti-kidnapping campaign in all provinces of the country, announced Minister of Culture Khaled al-Rowaishan. This comes post the recent kidnapping incident, after a long kidnapping-free period. The latest incident involved five Germans in the province of Shabwa, who were released later. The campaign is aimed to raise the awareness among the locals on the detrimental effects of kidnapping on Yemen's reputation and image as well as the national economy.

Lasting for several months, the campaign will be carried out in coordination with a large number of scholars, and intellectual, cultural and artistic personalities all over the country.

Culture and Tourism Minister said in a press statement that a wide range of means will be used to raise the social awareness on kidnapping and abduction and their potential damage on the prospects of national tourism. “Kidnapping is a repulsively disruptive act contradicting the tenets of Islam and the proverbial noble conduct of the Yemeni people” he said. The campaign, which starts this week, will include lectures, posters, sketches, monologues, songs, etc.

Recently, there has been an abduction-demonizing campaign clearly discernable in the discourse of official media and NGOs. Al-Thawra Daily, for instance, focused on this issue, trying to further rally the public opinion against it and brand it as a crime and a gratuitous offence. “It is painful indeed that the target of kidnapping are the guests of Yemen,” wrote al-Thawra Editor-in-Chief. “It is indecorous to deal with them in this disgraceful manner.”

Many NGOs have also expressed their resentment to kidnapping and considered it a crime against the country and an offence against the values of the society. They agreed that this phenomenon is alien to our society and is absolutely unjustifiable.

Similarly, members of the Parliament equally condemned the kidnapping labeling it “an act of sabotage meant to damage Yemen's image and its economic interests.”

A number of kidnapping incidents took place in the past. The kidnappers usually do this in order to pressurize the government to answer their demands such as releasing their imprisoned kinsmen or providing them with services. Released unharmed, most tourists describe the hospitality of the kidnappers.

Kidnapping incidents, however, have proved to reflect themselves unpleasantly on Yemen's tourism, affecting the lives of millions of people who live directly or indirectly on tourist activity.