Would the State Show More Tolerance to Calls of Accountability? [Archives:1998/46/Local News]

November 16 1998

Last week, Yemen Times published a front-page article about the external funds that were available to Yemen. The barrage of harrassment included over-running the Yemen Times car and pushing it off the road, almost hitting an orange-vendor’s cart, a number of visitors, telephonic threats, and of course, insults in the government media. But the 26th September newspaper response was the most intriguing.
Here is its translation:   ” Dr. Al-Saqqaf:
Deceptive Language of Numbers Refuted By Facts On The Ground  
By: The Political Editor of 26 September

You can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all people all the time. It is unfortunate that Yemen Times – and its Chief Editor, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf – are wallowing in deception. The aims and goals are peculiar to that person, who tries hard with all possible means and methods to surround himself with a halo and false glitter. He does this at the expense of many moral standards, most important of which is commitment to truth and veracity, and the need to take into consideration the country’s supreme interests.
In his last issue of Yemen Times, Dr. Al-Saqqaf, unfortunately, launched one of his lies. This time he resorted to the language of fabricated numbers. He wove the story out of an imagination full of destructive falsehoods, personal hatred, and maliciousness.
What Al-Saqqaf said about the foreign money given to Yemen by way of grants and aid as well as oil revenue is totally false. We can refute it all with facts on the ground, but why bother. This is simply a manifestation of his lowly motive. Such a fabricated and empty story was cooked up in well-known (foreign) media “kitchens,” well before it is published by Yemen Times.
Dr. Al-Saqqaf, who claims to be a professor of economy and an expert in the language of numbers, has forgotten that loans and grants provided by countries and international organizations do not go to the pockets of a particular person, whoever he is. Those countries and organizations monitor and follow-up the implementation of projects in all fields. Such projects can now be seen towering in all parts of Yemen.
The way oil revenue is spent can also be clearly shown. The Doctor probably knows, more than any one else, that Yemen’s share of oil revenue is divided between local consumption and exports. Oil revenue is primarily used to subsidize foodstuffs, mostly wheat and flour.
In addition, the state budget relies in covering its expenditures on oil revenue. Almost 75% of the revenue is used to pay public salaries and on investment program. We ask Dr. Al-Saqqaf: How could Yemen cover its budgets to implement huge projects in service and development? These are projects in roads, education, health, electricity, communications, water, dams, etc. How could Yemen have built its armed forces and security apparatus to become a modern state, responsible for its citizens?
Is it possible that hatred and maliciousness be so blinding as to make a person believe that he can hide the truth with a pile of dust, falsehoods and meaningless noise?
If the objective behind what Dr. Al-Saqqaf had published is to harm Yemen’s interests by influencing donor countries and organizations, he should realize that the latter are well aware of his declared and ulterior motives. They also know the personal goals behind what he publishes and what he says to embassies or visiting foreign delegations….
To Al-Saqqaf we have this honest advice: For God’s sake, do not let your selfishness and incessant hunger for fame and cheap gains make you lose your balance in a sad and pathetic way. You will have to know that right will triumph in the end.”