OP-ED

Bent El-Hares

While I was flying from Doha to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the 1Malayisa Year-End Sales (1MYES), I made the final choice to watch a movie onboard to kill time. I picked up Arabic movie Bent El-Hares, a movie produced in 1971, which talks about simple life in a small town in Lebanon. The plot reflects the duplicity of society at that time. Feirouz, the most well-known Arab singer, whose father was fired from his job as town guard, tries all her best to help him get it back.

The case of Bent El-Hares is not far from today’s problems in Yemen, whose community is being destabilized for the favor of some powerful individuals. Reviewing the videotape of Yemen’s past and present problems, I found it similar to that old Feirouz movie. After five decades, mentalities of leaders and their affiliates are worse than before. The whole globe has abandoned personal, tribal and political disputes and moved forward to compete for long term gains.

It’s quite petty to still live in that era. Feirouz was raising problems in the small town fighting for her father’s rights and his friend who were dismissed with an excuse of securitizing the town. Shooting in the air, attacking corrupt officials’ residences, monitoring their personal scandals was with the purpose of bringing her father back to his work. With full confidence she succeed.

In Yemen, since the former President stepped down in 2011, the country has not enjoyed any stability. Attacks on power cables happen regularly, oil pipelines are easily bombed, and sectarian killings are repeatedly occurring, simply because of loyalties. There is a big difference between Feirouz’s mission and today’s destruction, she was fighting to maintain peace and those in Yemen are fighting to destroy peace.

Bent El-Hares was an example of making change for good. There a big difference between fighting for rights and fighting against rights. What is happening in Yemen is a fight against rights. If the past was so good, then why have people called for change? The new government should be aware of the old lessons and think ahead for the future. The people need to feel the change that was absent over the last 50 years and is still absent since 2011. Bent El-Hares should be copied in the right way, such as how the Malaysian Deputy Director General of Promotion DATO’Azizan Noordin said, “coping the good ideas is good for competition.” Yemen’s new government should copy good ideas no matter how they look like  and where they were applied before.