By: Bushra Al-Ameri
Calls against unity by most southerners, paired with the crises and events of the last year and a half, have called into question the importance and significance of a unified Yemen. Still, youths who were born in 1990 (the year of Yemen’s unification), youths who have lived with unity their whole lives, have their own opinions about – and connections with – the idea of an undivided Yemen.
Ahmed Al-Athoori said unity represents “a sacred bond, one that brought together spiritually-united Yemenis who needed the boundaries that separated them forever removed.” In his opinion, unity was the most significant achievement in Yemen’s history, but one that was distorted: “its true meaning was hijacked, and ultimately caused southern people to start rejecting it because of the great injustices they suffered in the name of unity.”
Ahmed went on to say that there exists an urgent need to protect this unity. The government must undertake serious, large-scale efforts to restore true unity between the two parts of the country by way of a comprehensive national dialogue. This dialogue should give priority to those who truly serve the country and all rights and looted lands should be returned, which ultimately would eradicate all deep feelings of hatred and distrust which have festered for the last 22 years. However, southern people “shouldn’t facilitate those who wish to destroy the whole country; rather, they should agree that the national dialogue represents the only way to deal with all the important issues.”
Abdul-Salam Awaideen stated that unity is very important for the country. Yet he concedes that the many challenges and risks the nation faces may not be overcome, and lead to unity’s destruction. He said, “If all Yemenis look out for the interests of their country rather than their personal interest, Yemen can be safe and united.”
Abdullah Someeh thinks the adoption of federalism may be the perfect solution for the southern issue. “Though some may think that Saleh’s removal ends the problem, we as southern people don’t think so; we don’t recognize this as a guarantee that all oppression will cease. Following Saleh’s departure from power, the decision of whether to completely abandon unity or to adopt federalism rests with southerners.”
Radhwan Al-Haimi said that today’s unity is different from what it was twenty two years ago. He believes that while unity did have negative aspects on both portions of the country and while separation remains a possibility, that it would be best for Yemen if did remain unified. Radhwan said, “The Youth Revolution can protect unity, as it caused all Yemenis to unite their efforts to overthrow the corrupt regime and to build a new civil state.”
Rami Al-Aghbari said doing away with unity would represent a truly negative shift at odds with the fact that Yemen should be one. He added that continued eruptions of problems and bloody events which occurred in the past alongside unjustified protests would drag Yemen into a deep chasm of war and conflict.
Adel Al-Hameedi noted that unity – achieved 22 years ago – has recently been misused by certain figures who use it to achieve their own, personal aims. Adel added, “Yemenis – including southerners – should rethink and reconsider their views on unity and reform past decisions and mistakes which caused Yemenis to hate each other. Yemen will remain one land forever if people consider the country’s interests before their own.”