OP-ED

A new day in a ‘New Yemen’

National Yemen

For close to two years, large groups of Yemeni citizens have taken to city streets to demonstrate and pray alongside each other. (Photo by Luke Somers)

By: Bilal Ahmed Homran

We live in a time of uncertainty, one which there are dead bodies lying in city streets. We live in a time where manmade tragedies leave behind widows and orphans every hour of every day. In the interest of Yemen’s people, we must unite behind a common solution.

There are many laws that we are unable to uphold because unjust sheikhs rule on the outskirts of our government institutions. Our government holds no sway when it comes to matters of justice, and the reasons are many – from the corrupt people who occupy our judicial system’s to the tribal customs which overpower the customs rooted in our faith and our land.

Our nation is diverse in traditions; unifying it under a banner that reeks of greed promises only injustice and corruption. As individuals from the villages which surround Sana’a, from the valleys of Ibb and the shores of the beloved city of Aden, we must hold ourselves accountable for injustices committed. We are all responsible for one another.

Our unity, however, is threatened. I will never celebrate the secession of south Yemen from north Yemen.  I’ll never celebrate the idea that my family or the families of thousands of countrymen will be shattered and scattered, and split into two separate nations. We are one people, from one nation: the Republic of Yemen.

This land has an abundance of space, enough to feed us all. This nation bears the greatest minds of our time. This nation can bring an end to manifestations of evil by ending poverty. We can no longer sit at home idly ignoring the wrongs of our time. The time for silence has reached its end, and our nation’s interests are more important than our individual interests. In every time and every place since man’s earliest days, societies have formed different sects and allowed the few, the elite to rule with an iron fist.

Those days have come to an end.

We as individuals have the right to voice our concerns freely and the opportunity to advance the lives of many through free and equal access to education. Knowledge represents the only true bridge which exists between cultures, and we as citizens of this nation must create that bridge.  We are all ambassadors of this nation. What we do and how we speak reflects upon all our people. We must be welcoming to those that wish to encounter the wonderful hidden treasures of our land. We must change the way we treat the thousands of African migrants who enter our cities’ gates in hopes of better ways of life for themselves and for those they left behind. They are human beings like you and me. While we might not be the most advanced nation on earth in a materialistic sense, still, we do have the heart and cultural foundation.

I understand the frustration and I understand the anger; most importantly, I understand the struggle. Yet there comes a time when we as individuals must realize that the country’s needs far outweigh our individual desires. Syrians, Bahrainis, Iranians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Cubans, and Sahrawis have their voices stifled and their future prospects for peace burdened by evil. True genius will show itself when our nonviolent struggles for the common good of man lead to mutual understanding across borders.

I will never understand who benefits when innocent souls are forced to depart our world.

Yemen is experiencing a political power vacuum and it’s up to us citizens to stand by President Hadi as he endeavors to forge a better path for our future. Over the past year and a half, Yemenis from all walks of life have come to discover that no power on earth can destroy an idea once it has been given voice. Yet the great people of Yemen are confused as to what will become of them in this new, free, lawless society. It’s up to the current government to at least maintain some degree of peace and order. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. What must be done?

The answer is simple: the media and the government must understand that we are one people; they must realize that the days of dividing us into different sects and political parties are over.

We are one people, unified for a better and peaceful tomorrow. The heinous acts which Yemen has experienced over the past two years can shatter and end lives, but they can never destroy Yemen’s foundation of unity and civil greatness. The Yemeni people have been given the opportunity to reach a national consensus. We must also seize the moment to bring our environmental obligations to light.  Yemen is experiencing – and will continue to experience – many hardships in the coming years and perhaps even decades to come. But I have no doubt that on this new day, in this ‘New Yemen’, the Yemeni people will remain strong and vigilant as they move forward.