OP-ED

Truths of our Times; Saleh’s Path Towards an Untold Past

National Yemen

Bilal Homran

Ali Abdullah Saleh’s legacy will be debated for many years to come, but one cannot deny that he governed in the best interest of a united Yemen. In the holy Quran we are informed that a people that want to change things must change themselves first. Unfortunately that has not been the case in Yemen right now. President Saleh created a country framework on what could have been a nation of much prosperity and security, yet the people of the land did not see this vision of what could be.

A country in the Arabian Peninsula with many riches of crude oil and other natural resources has become unknown to the outside world. So much is expected of one person yet unknowingly realizing that for much to be changed we must change as well. Corruption is rampant because we as individuals allow it to be. If we reported and campaigned against the most corrupt system within the government Yemen we might achieve something. Lets take for example the Police department, the most corrupt by far. Sometimes one negotiates themselves out of citations and wrongful acts with a few hundred rials. The citation itself could have yielded revenue to the department. Maybe they could have paid the officers even more.

I never supported Saleh and I am Yemeni only by heritage, not citizenship. I owe my allegiance to my adoptive nation, the United States of America. President Saleh had to deal with building an infrastructure for a newly born united nation. He sacrificed so much for the interest of one nation and we cannot deny that. From the schools, roads, and diplomatic ties he created, and to the opportunities he founded for those that sought them, he created a lasting legacy. Yemen’s military as well has thrived and excelled in his tenure in Yemen.

He was corrupt and might have earned riches that might be illegal in some other lands, but we cannot deny that all peoples of every branch of government anywhere in the world have not become rich because of their position in power. President Saleh created and championed women’s right to an education, to join the military, and to become practicing physicians. He had a dream for Yemen, but knowing that he had been put in power by corrupt people that robbed Yemen of its riches was very difficult to change. As he began to battle corruption, thuggish radical Islamist tribes couldn’t accept being told to stop, hence a so called revolution erupted with a puppet female as its leader.  It surprises me to this day why a so called, “educated, open minded, and modern Muslim women” joined a party created by a founding Jihadi member (Al-Zandani), that supports the idea of “child marriages, and above all preaches intolerance of many things.”

You see I am a Muslim, a Yemeni, and an American; all of them coincide with each other in defining who I am. I don’t understand the mindset of a region where fellow Muslims kill one another and kill innocent people. Islam is against it as our creator warned us that to kill an innocent life is as if of one has killed all of mankind.  As a Yemeni, my hospitality goes unnoticed by the many people I have crossed paths with, and above all my cultured self can’t go unnoticed.  And as an American I pride in the values and foundations that all men have the right to liberty, justice, and the pursuit to happiness. None of my identities cross nor eliminate the values of the other.  And that’s the greatness of being human; we are a unique and special species.

In what time in history has a revolution and or uprising for good been backed by a radical self appointed Ambassador of God, a thuggish brutal tribal family, and a general that has orchestrated the genocidal wars of a religious minority.  Call me ignorantly misinformed but please answer the question.  I am truly mind boggled.  Yemen is better than this. It deserves better than this, and it surely was going to be better than this.  Yemen has been forced into failure and a cruel abyss because its people deserted the path of prosperity.  We are all to blame, not one single person. Ask yourselves if President Saleh had the power to create this kind of wrong, why didn’t he do it to end the so called revolution?

President Saleh ruled with an iron fist over a very difficult cultural and tribal society. With much caution he opened society to many freedoms and opportunities. He championed the rights of women, maintaining the cultural identity of the prideful and honorable Yemeni woman, he opened the gates of knowledge with much investment in all sectors and levels of education, and opened the way for free market enterprises in a united Yemen that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.  And one cannot deny he created a democratic society rich in tribal customs and surrounded by truly corrupt and money grabbing monarchies.  A democracy was being built and as difficult as it was to maintain its legitimacy, it was working for Yemen.

You see I hope Yemen drifts away from this wrong path its people have been forced into.  Yemen deserves an independent governing entity that serves its interest and I trust the frameworks that Saleh orchestrated could have drifted us away from this wrongful path. Yemen deserves to be prosperous.