Yemeni Unity After 11 Years [Archives:2001/25/Law & Diplomacy]

June 18 2001

Abdullah Salam
I entirely agree with observers’ comment on the coolness and indifference with which the Yemenis received the 11th anniversary of the unity. However, the impassive stance of people should not be viewed as a negative attitude to the historic event. The unity has been the most strategic and sought after national goal for all the people. However, the negative stance of people and their indifference to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the unity is attributable to their dissatisfaction with the government policies in various fields. People are crushed by the living conditions. Unemployment rate is increasing awfully, to as high as 40%. Job opportunities are limited both in the public and private sector due to the recession of investment, high poverty rate, weak and inefficient public services, vast deterioration in health care, education, security, etc. This is associated with an absence of law, justice, and prevalence of rampant financial and administrative corruption. Therefore, small wonder that most of the people were impassive to this sacred occasion. They seem to have lost all hopes for a better life. Their frustration is further accentuated by the official media blaring about achievements and welfare.
Yemenis expected a lot from the unity. However, what have so far been achieved fall short of their expectations and goals. Many sections of the society believe that their conditions before the unity were much better than now. Slogans are not important for the people, they base all their evaluations on realities. The leadership that led the country to the unity would have been able to achieve many of the people’s dreams if all the political groups were sincere and responsible. Due to a lack of this, along with the occurrence of infighting, crises and confrontations among the ruling party resulted in a two-month civil war. This trend is still continuing. This is what made the negative attitudes of the general public more obvious.
With conditions like these, the vision of the future seems dim. There is a clear deterioration of the democratic norms and flagrant violations of freedoms and political and civil rights. Fears of further abortion of the developing democracy are being apprehend by the general public. Violations of law in various forms marked the local elections. The referendum on the constitutional amendments held in February 2001 enhanced the atmosphere of panic, especially as desirable political forces in the arena are weak and inefficient to create the political balance. Despite all that, the only hope for a better future for our country in my opinion, will certainly come as a result of foreign agencies helping to accelerate the pace of change for the better. That could be achieved through the impact of globalization, economic, financial and administrative reforms, and WTO efforts to bring about substantial and comprehensive changes on all the political, economic and legislative domains. This will ultimately end the government control on all the resources of the country. These initiatives will furthermore make issues pertaining to democracy, human rights, corruption, crime a part of the duty of international community and not the internal affairs of countries.
Globalization may be a gift from God to the nations suffering from repression to get rid of all dictatorship and suppression in all its forms by the ruling regimes. This is the only hope in my point of view to have a better future. Let us wait and see.