Celebrations are common when it comes to enjoyment and sharing someone’s good memories. Last Friday, former President Saleh celebrated the 70th anniversary of his birthday in Asbain Square in Sana’a. The celebration was televised on private channels and focused on the analysis of Saleh’s opponents and Saleh’s messages of self-confidence and the continuation of his power.
More than five thousands guards from the Central Security Force were distributed across all the access points of the celebration yard in order to secure the safety of the place. This show of force sent a political message to Saleh’s opponents that he and his loyal followers are still there and they can come together at any occasion.
Even though Saleh spent half of his life in the Presidential Palace, this is only the second time that he has held such celebrations outside the Presidential walls. The timing of the celebrations is not just a simple coincidence. With such aggressive posturing, the future of the country will remain fragile until Saleh ceases his involvement in Yemen’s political scene.
The importance of Saleh’s full removal from power cannot be understated. All the things that were developed in the past 34 years have been simply lost in only the last two. As a result, the country passed through hard times, and if Saleh continues celebrating as if nothing happened, more difficult years remain ahead.
After 34 years, Yemeni citizens are still dreaming of basic services such as infrastructure, health care, education, fair courts and a better quality of life. Instead of achieving these dreams, Yemen has gained titles as the next Somalia, or Al-Qaeda’s strong hold. Instead of working to generate investment and equal working opportunities as its citizens desire, Saleh’s former government only worked on covering up foreign drone strikes within Yemen.
With the recent revolution, Yemenis gained a bright sense of optimism for the future. However, with each celebration that resembles life of the past 34 years, perhaps nothing is likely to change.