Yes, it can be done in Yemen [Archives:2007/1075/Opinion]

August 9 2007

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
This observer would never have dreamed that after suffering for many decades from acute Myopia and Astigmatism and after having undergone an operation for a partial ; retinal detachment by surgery and laser over two decades before (in Germany), it is possible again to see again without having to wear glasses that looked like the reinforced bottoms of prune juice jars. What is even more fascinating is that this can actually be done right here in the Land of Sheba at affordable cost, and without the agony and the tiresome burden of travel overseas and the possibility of getting ripped off your lifetime savings.

Yes, indeed there is a lot of progress that has been realized in Yemen and indeed Arab private sector initiatives are working diligently to combine resources to provide access to significantly important health services to most Yemenis, who would otherwise either have to sell their hard-earned or inherited assets or bear the agony of heavy indebtedness to be able to restore their normal health.

For several years, now the undersigned has been approaching many of the seemingly highly qualified doctors, who have set up fancy and sophisticated ophthalmic clinics, without being convinced of the possibility that removal of acute cataract in both eyes can be undertaken under the conditions sited above and of successfully restoring one to life with near 20-20 vision. But I am very proud to say that at last, thanks to the kind efforts of Dr. Mahfouz Bamashmous and his fine team of Ophthalmic Consultants at the “Maghtribi Eye Hospital, recently set up in Sana'a, a joint Yemeni-Saudi enterprise, established in 2005, the impossible can now be achieved in Yemen as far as rectification of most eye impairments, and with minimal cost and with high quality service with the added human touch. For people like this observer, it is great to be able to have “a better look at the world” after years of looking at it with heavy straining, even with thick and heavy corrective lenses.

One must give credit when and where its due as well as continue to tell the world about all the gripes that Yemenis continuously have under these most difficult of times and it is really refreshing that people like Dr. Bamashmous can contribute to improving the quality of life for the Yemeni people amidst all these signs of hardships and economic despair.

A Word About Developments in Lebanon

Amidst all the chaos that the United States and Israel are working diligently to instill in Lebanon, the Lebanese people have shown again that they are not about to be used as pawns in the efforts of the Untied States to impose its “Greater Middle East” scenario in the region. Mind you this is not due to the work of the indefatigable Hizbullah, but the tireless efforts of the Maronite Christians led by the nationalist leader Michelle Own, Suleiman Franjeih and other prominent Lebanese Christians who cherish the importance of maintaining Lebanese independence in determining the fate and destiny of Lebanon, in particular and the region in general. The significance of the defeat of Amin Jumeyal in the off-season Parliamentary elections in Beirut by the candidate of the Free Nationalist Current and supported by the opposition forces in Lebanon simply cannot be overemphasized, especially amidst all the efforts to insure the defeat of the latter by every sleazy and non-sleazy means possible. Thanks to the existence of the next best thing to a working democracy, the Lebanese were able to tell the evil forces of the world: “Please leave us alpine and tend to your own business”.

This might be a good reminder to our aging Arab leaders that it is better to combat foreign pressure by the establishment and reinforcement of true democratic practice, rather than submit to the evil designs these foreigners which to impose on us all. After all, as Lebanon has shown, the people know what they want and how to go about getting it.

Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.