Yemen’s Graduation into Today’s Civilization [Archives:1998/32/Last Page]

August 10 1998


Ms. Waffa Alawi Nasser,
Yemen Times

Yemen has faced many problems over the past decades, and still faces many more. People hope for change, yet sit back and do nothing to bring about such change. Ordinary people are not given the chance to express themselves in a meaningful way, or to participate in bringing about change. When they do express themselves, they are not heard.
We’re the ones considered “below” the social status. It’s the unfortunate who don’t get the chance to demand their needs. There are so many changes or should I say innovations that are needed at present to overhaul Yemen into the modern times.
Yes I understand that Yemen is not considered the most financially stable country in the world. Yet, the beauty of its architectural heritage, the richness of its ancient history, the splendor of its antiquity are a few remarkable examples. But we simply cannot live in the past anymore. We’ve had our history, now let us make our future. Towards that end, here are a few changes that we need.
Government & Education:
Do we honestly benefit from people who tell us or dictate to us how we should live and think? I’m asking a reasonably fair question: What have we really got from government? Yes, it generated a few employment opportunities, but what good is that in the long run? Even the majority of those working for the government do not have a say in its workings.
Then there is the educational system, which is a total failure. We raise our kids to memorize a few facts for exams, and which they soon forget. We don’t raise them to think independently, analyze objectively, and decide correctly. What is the point of going to school or work, when we don’t have are opinions taken into consideration. We would be like robots.
To get anything done in this country, you have to pay the public employees concerned, even if it’s your right to get that service done by the government in the first place. For example, you have to pay the police for their assistance, when it’s their job to assist you anyway.
Money is everything here, why should we pay for things to be improved when it’s not our job to do so. The people are already financially unstable, yet the authority’s actions lead to more impoverishment. You can pay your way to success, you will be heard if you have money. To get a good exam result, just pay the teacher, why not? It seems so simple, why work for your ambitions, just pay the employees concerned.
But would you really feel good about it? It’s actually illegal and unethical, not only to society, but to our religion itself. And the people who are involved in this continuous corruption, bribery and blackmail claim to be the most righteous of them all. Having said this, still nothing gets done, just think of the phrase “take the money and run”.
There are not many adequate roads built through and around Yemeni cities, and they’re not going to be built. Our roads are full of stones, rocks, dust and dead animals. This is certainly a dangerous situation for people to be in. A city means it has roads, streets, and pavements. Only an under-privileged village or hamlet has no streets or pavements. Road construction is essential in this day and age.
The state of our streets is a danger to youngsters who play in them and have nowhere else to spend their free time.
When cities are planned and houses are built, don’t you think it’s wise to build roads, streets, extend electricity lines, etc.? Yemen has an inadequate water supply system. Yemen’s water situation is a big problem, and it always will be. You can also include the sewage problem, in fact it’s not a problem, it’s a crisis. Rubbish accumulating in the streets is a danger to all people causing the spread of diseases and epidemics.
The Poor & Social Security:
A poor family may receive, by means of social security, an income of roughly YR 500 up to 2000 a month, depending on the size of the family, whether the bread winner is present or not, or disabled, etc. But this is not enough, and not all of the poor are covered – only a small proportion. There are relatively big families out there, this security income is not entirely adequate. About a third of our population is poor.
Hostels for the homeless and destitute need to be established. Professional help needs to be given to all disadvantaged people, whether they be children, adults or the elderly. More food resources need to be offered to the poor and needy. Sharing is not so much of a bad thing.
In Yemen, women are at a disadvantage in almost every circumstance, whether it be in the home or in the community. We’re not considered important to the development and reform of this society. We have ideas and solutions of our own, yet we’re still considered as unpaid home employees only. We should be given the chance to stand up and speak.
Women of the world have struggled and been oppressed for centuries. We will always be so only if we choose to be. Yet we lose no hope and have no fear in fighting the oppression.
Women can’t be stopped from doing something that they truly believe is right. No rules and regulations say that women can’t work, as some of them are forced not to. Women can have an education if they want. Yes women play an important role within the household, but is that it? We would be like robots.
I see no public announcements or official rules saying that women can’t be free to fight for their rights of education, work, and most of all not to be oppressed and treated like anything other than human beings. Don’t listen to the oppressing men, do what you want, within reason.
I’m not purposely trying to criticize Yemen. I’m merely stating the facts. I have nothing against Yemen itself, only the way it’s run. In fact it’s quite immoral, but to believe in freedom and honesty is a great achievement. But as always, it takes a tragedy to put things right. But how long will this tragedy continue before we can receive as well as give help? We’re all willing to cooperate with others, including the rules and regulations that once oppressed us. This is not a deal or proposal to all leaders, it’s merely something that should have been done long ago without question.