Yemeni unity is here to stay [Archives:2006/948/Viewpoint]

May 22 2006

Today marks the 16th anniversary of Yemeni unity created in 1990. What most people don't know is that such unity is not a recent project only 16 years old. In fact, the first agreement to unite the Yemen Arab Republic (North) and the Popular Democratic Republic of Yemen (South) dates back to 1972. It took 18 years to realize our ambition, but nevertheless, we did it. The unfortunate 1994 event made all Yemenis realize the importance of this achievement and although it took some lives to maintain, most Yemenis feel it was a worthwhile cause.

Since then, there has been growing criticism of the state, mainly against influential northern officials. 2004 highlighted the current regime's wrongs and intensified the urgency for a change. Journalists, intellectuals, human rights advocates and even common citizens continuously demand reform, especially given that living standards keep deteriorating from bad to worse. The change we seek is of the system, of the political structure and national strategies in the whole of Yemen, the united Yemen. Yemeni unity is an achievement that should not be compromised in any way in the process of this acclaimed change. It is the right of all Yemenis and no political organization, opposition or external pressure is allowed to hinder it.

Political systems come and go. Some remain a little longer than others, but they eventually go. On the other hand, societies survive and remember. There has been speculation – mainly by some opposition abroad – that Yemeni unity might not last. However, I firmly believe Yemeni unity will remain because even though it was created through political will, it was and is the people's desire. All Yemenis, whether from the north, south, east or west, want and cherish their unity. They have integrated and merged into each other's communities and lands. From this point, there is no looking back. Yemeni unity is here to stay.