Yemen: A World of Wonders! [Archives:2001/29/Focus]

July 16 2001

Basam Jameel
I was never surprised at Sana’a being one of the seven world wonders. I actually wondered how come it did not get the first rank. I think Yemen as a whole deserves to be the first and at the top of the greatest wonders of the world. Should anybody see, hear or read about it, it is certain that he will vote for it.
We are contradictory in our approach in all our affairs: in economy, education, politics, sports, health etc. We claim democracy, freedom of opinion, law and order. However, in reality, we are choking democracy, violating freedom and trampling human rights. Amending the Election Law recently, blocking the publication of al-Shura newspaper and trying al-Wahdawi, al-Umah and al-Sahwah newspapers are some examples.
What is freakish is when the government strengthens the national interests such as the religious institutions and uses them as a means to pressurize the opposing party, Islah, in an unsurpassed political game of the Yemeni style.
The ruling regime’s muddled actions are even clearer through the appointment of ministers. Contrary to the practice in many countries of the world, nepotism and the degree of loyalty is the criterion for having anyone appointed in a responsible position. We never care for the qualifications and efficiency of cadre. The Information Minister becomes the Sports Minister, Agriculture Minister becomes the Education Minister and so on and so forth.
The economy is spiraling downwards towards a major recession. Consequently the people’s living and health conditions are becoming worse. The paradox is that some top people are persistently crowing about the great achievements, economic prosperity and the welfare of the society. The strange and funny thing is that despite all this, the people are still counting on the “horse” which has beaten them to hell. The foundations stones of projects that will never see light of day and projects re-inaugurated for tens of times are just illustrations in point of the misery. If these projects were real, our services would be better than those offered in the USA or Europe. If electricity goes out for hours in the capital, I wonder what is the case in other towns, let alone remote villages which still live in the dark.
In Yemen you always hear of the kidnapping incidents, bombing oil pipeline or confrontations even in the center of the capital. Kidnapping has become Yemen’s major feature.
The education field is also a wonder in itself. Flaws and shortcomings dominate along the educational hierarchy. Teachers have weak personalities, are less qualified, less cultured, less innovative, with bad handwriting, and are sometimes ill-mannered. Hence, what generation do you expect to be nurtured from this chaos?
Universities are also in a mess. Curricula taught are memory-oriented and are far away from the practical application. Some professors view students as enemies and not as seekers of knowledge. What one of the professors does in the Faculty of Commerce, Sana’a University, is a sure signal of the corrupt educational system. Almost all the people involved in education know his presumptuousness, stupid and bad manners which are in clear contradiction with educational values. His offensive language to students and evil manners to exploit them are those that are far from expected from a university professor. The calamity is that the University of Sana’a is turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to this scare-crow.
If you are unlucky to study in Media Faculty, you will see an antique building where holes and cracks are featuring the whole building. The library of the Media Faculty contains nothing but piles of old magazines and newspapers and some books. There are also two out-of-date and out of order PCs. You would not dare to ask about the TV and radio department or about the magazine or newspaper the Faculty published, lest you should be the laughing-stock.
In sports, our national team has been playing with many other teams. However, all have come to no avail. How can we dream of competing and boosting sports at a time we have no clubs nor stadiums. Furthermore, players receive no support either from the club or the Ministry of Youths and Sports.
If we venture to talk about all the wonders of Yemen, there won’t be enough space nor will there be enough time. However, this is a drop of an ocean called the wonders of Yemen.