Yemen is tired, exhausted, bleeding and becoming poor. This is the painful truth, which cannot be denied by the lover of this country, which is near and dear to our hearts and is valuable for its strategic importance for us as Arabs, especially for us in the Arab Gulf. I was, and still, among those who call for the need to pay attention to this stricken country and help it. Not out of favor or sympathy, but as an obligation imposed by our religion, Arabism and humanity. And most importantly, at least for politicians, is that it is an interest-based obligation, as Yemen is an important dimension for us in the Gulf.
Yemen lives in a state of political and security gap, and suffers several economic problems to the degree of hunger and the spread of malnutrition diseases among children. While we, in the Gulf, are very close to this scene that pleases none of us.
It is true that the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh is the first responsible for what his country has come to; he looted it systematically, killed the people, deemed the wealth as lawful, destroyed the infrastructure, created a deep-rooted corruption all over the country, and established an oppressive regime that destroyed everything. But all this does not exempt us, in the Gulf, from the responsibility. I say the responsibility and not only sympathy with this afflicted people. Yemen’s rank, in terms of human development, is in the 154th out of 187 countries. The rate of the annual per capita real income is only one thousand dollar, less than three dollars per day. International reports noted that children in Yemen are dying these days of hunger, where a third of Yemen’s children are suffering malnutrition, which may result in death, chronic diseases or birth defects.
Imagine yourself suffering satiety, while your neighborhood is starving!
Dr. Dhafer al-Ajmi, from Khaleej Watch Group, wrote that the states that took part in the donors’ conferences do not fulfill what they had committed to provide to Yemen. In his article last week, he calls for the need to quickly give assistance to Yemen, to prevent it from being dragged into chaos, which Gulf countries will not be at safe of it.
On the other hand, a report published last April by Carnegie Foundation stated that the image is not entirely dark. Yemen has the wealth and ingredients that could help it improve. Education rates have risen to more than 80 percent among the ages of 15-24, which rate has exceeded the rates in many countries of the Sahara Desert. This means that Yemen is able to train the Yemeni labors for the professional works that they can do, instead of the Asian labors in the Gulf countries. This is a prohibition that is rejected by the major monopolistic companies, and is combated by those who have interests in addition to the “mafia” of the Asian labors, which labors are easy to be expelled if demanded their rights or rebelled against the employers. Such demands, however, are hard to be ignored with regard to the Yemeni labor.
“We should help Yemen overcome its crises and maintain its security as it is a part of our security,” these are words repeated by our Gulf officials. But they are not able to make decisions to provide opportunities to the skilled young Yemeni labor, that do not require extensive training to do business services in hotels, restaurants and construction projects.
Carnegie’s report concludes that the main problem in Yemen is an administrative one in the first place. Security stability calls for creation of opportunities, stopping conflicts and calling people for production, and getting rid of the tribal chaos imposing believe in the goodness of the governmental institutions and their ability to provide order and security. This have not yet been achieved, as remnants of Saleh’s regime work to undermine and thwart such efforts.
Yemenis should not wait for others to help them, and should start to develop their country. Yemen has that ingredients and good things that could bring back the pleasure of the economic prosperity to the Felix Yemen. Then “The free hungry woman does gain food by losing honor,” as Dr. Dhafer al-Ajmi has written.