I really fell in love with Yemen. It had everything. Culture, wilderness, not a boring minute, history which is deeply felt and a great people. And romance. This is where I met my partner of life, the mother of my daughter. Since leaving this extra ordinary country 2009, I have closely followed its developments in media and there´s no doubt that changes are coming up in Yemen. So I emailed my good friend Rashad Saaed, who was also my teacher in Yemen. Our classes was basically talking about Yemen and its political situation. Rashad wanted change even back than and was really involved politically, to the left, and I asked him to write about what is happening right now. I have been communicating with Rashad for the last two years and he have grown increasingly tired with life, since he, like many others, feel that the rulers right now,ain´t doing anything for its people. This is Rashad´s analysis of the sitation and the ongoing demonstrations and calls for a change:
Yemen Needs Change
2011 brought freedom to many Arab states, starting in Tunisia moving to Egypt, Jordan and Yemen, and proved that people are still alive where authorities and regimes thought that they had killed the will of the people. In the last two years, Yemen witnessed a lot of political developments, but the most important are the postponement of parliament elections for two years and creating a national talk committee to undertake the national discussion between the congress ruling Party and opposition. The talk committee started with 200 representatives, and then reduced to 16, ended with 4 representatives as the president wished.
By the end of 2010, specially, after the 20th Gulf Cup and the success of organizing it in Aden despite of all security concerns; authority, congress party and their allays misunderstood how to use the success and thought that they could control all national crisis the same – through the power of security forces – so, president Saleh appeared in front of students at the Aden University announcing his move to elections alone and canceling the role of the national talk committee ignoring all agreements agreed on before. At the same time, the ruling party representatives in the Yemeni parliament presented new constitutional amendments which allowed the president to run for no limited periods.
On the other side, the opposition represented by The Joint meeting of parties realized this bold step of the ruling party which controlled the army and security forces, so, they threatened to go down to the street to start their peaceful demonstrations, but the ruling party had no ears to listen to that.
The joint meeting of parties decided to make 2011 a year of peaceful conflict and went to street calling for “popular Intifada”. At the beginning, they organized some festivals in some cities, while the ruling party was also preparing for the elections. Meanwhile, Tunisia’s people were arising against their regime and after a few days they won the battle. It didn´t seem that the Yemeni regime learnt anything from the Tunisian lesson. President Saleh appeared again in front of some military congregation informing people and opposition parties that he refused the results of national talk committee and his wished to continue going to elections alone. President Saleh said in his speech that Yemen is not Tunisia and he would not allow what happened in Tunisia to happen in Yemen. This was also was the American position concerning Yemen.
But the Tunisian revolution gave the Yemenis a new spirit to return to the streets to protest and once again raise their demands of changes and reforms, aloud enough for the regime to understand that changes are needed. But the regime continued their stubbornness concerning elections, national talk and constitutional amendments.
Unlike the wish of the regime, the freedom spirit moved on from Tunisia to reach Egypt – a country which is considered as a reference for many Arab regimes – caused a lot of changes there and once again encouraged Yemenis to return to the streets and raise their ceiling of demands despite the concessions presented by Saleh .
Last week, the joint meeting of parties called for a “Thursday of Anger”, so, hundreds of thousands of people went to streets in many Yemeni governorates demanding for change, chanting against corruption and despotism and raising songs that demanded the president to depart with his party, but even thought they never stopped our protests, they gathered their supporters and pushed them to streets in a step to show their power to the opposition which is trying – as they think – to ride the wave of revolution and changes happening in the Arab area.
They won´t win over the people.
If you want to get into contact with Rashad, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it.
Don´t miss this slideshow from Yemen!