By Fakhri al-Arashi
Just one week left for Yemen to prepare for the event that will form a new geographical map for the country. As the National Dialogue prepares to kick off on time, the feelings vary between fear and hope.
The fear comes from the escalation of violence in south Yemen and the continuous attacks on Yemen’s infrastructure and its short and long-term impact on Yemen’s economy; not to mention the regular political appearances of the former president who might negatively effect the sessions of the National Dialogue. The slow achievements of the government and the doubled increase of corruption allowed Saleh to reappear and to appeal to the public. Saleh directs and redirects GPC members for the dialogue. Saleh could accuse the transitional government of failing to achieve any positive changes for Yemen since he’s been removed from office. Day by day, he is rebuilding his name and brand.
Honestly, when it comes to political reform and fighting corruption, nothing much has changed. The donors money have not helped Yemen, yet. In fact, it has increased the level of corruption, opening the way for a few to make a lot of money, rather a lot of achievement. The money goes to trainings and workshops, where a few Yemenis attend at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Yes, there could be a moderate improvement in security compared to 2011 and 2012, but the country is still fragile and the National Dialogue could increase or decrease instability.
Troubles still exist because of the unrealized rights of employees in the work place and community needs in general. The unachieved dream of shared wealth means the delayment of stability. The nominated list of parties indicates that democracy and change have not been achieved.
Despite all the obstacles, hopes for change remain and March 18 will be the starting point for those dreams. There is 100 percent certainty that the National Dialogue will mean a different Yemen, one unlike the Yemen of 1990 – a Yemen with more resources and better management of those resources for the people.
The National Dialogue we are waiting for may strengthen the position of Yemen as a prosperous, stable country, or mean the end of the wisdom that we are known for by many all over the world.
Despite the best intentions of the international community to make Yemen an example for the region, decision leaders must focus on partisan leaders and money makers who use conflicts to build their empires. The nominated lists of parties to the National Dialogue is a clear example that those who were entrenched in the old system have not given up the fight to hold onto power; they are not ready to hand over power to the youth, who rose up and are responsible for Yemen’s new opportunities. The youth, it seems, must wait for the old and powerful to die before they have a fighting chance to change anything.