OP-ED

National Dialogue: Leave the minor issues aside

National Yemen

Fayrouz Mohammed Ali

By: Fairooz Mohammed Ali

I’ve long been asked who, politically speaking, I support. The only answer I can give is that I am simply a Yemeni citizen who wishes for nothing but to see the fruits of revolution – which can help to improve people’s minds and thoughts – realized. I’m a citizen who wishes to see the revolution produce personalities who don’t aspire to power and wealth, but rather aspire to decent lives full of freedom and dignity. I wish to see such character in people who care naught but for pride and strength, so that we may stand and face all difficulties head-on.

Apart from all the threats I regularly receive, I never feel afraid because I only fear Allah.

Most important of all for us is a balance of power. It has been said that an excess of power corrupts. When excessive power appears in any system – be it political, economic, environmental or social – corruption spreads far and wide as a result. This notion was the basis for some twentieth century philosophies which in essence posited that laws are only for the powerful and survival is only for the strongest among us.

However, many counter-theories were developed to fight such ideas and prevent them from penetrating communities; the result was the formation of constitutions for various states. A clear example of this is what can be noticed in democratic nations which reject election results if one party has won an overwhelming majority of votes. In such places, and in such cases, a deadline is set until the other parties have gathered together to form a single opposition party.

In Yemen, such thinking applied to the idea to form the Joint Meeting Parties, when opposition parties gathered together to face the ruling General People’s Congress Party. However, this wasn’t applicable in the case of Egypt, where the ruling party was dissolved in the face of the opposition of certain politicians who believed in the ‘survival of the fittest’ idea.

Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil has stated that he is against dissolving the ruling party, so that Yemen’s balance of power doesn’t collapse. He also disagreed with the taking of responsibility for missiles from the Republican Guard due to the weakening effect it would have on Yemen’s military forces. In reality, Yemeni conflicts were never just between citizens and the army; rather, it’s been between political powers and who possesses power and authority.

Many politicians understand that the National Dialogue will be composed of political power players, and that it will be monitored by foreign powers from behind the scenes.

In that case, I truly don’t understand why the dialogue should be burdened with minor issues, accompanied by numerous demands that they be discussed. The dialogue is supposed to be focused on discussions of the most critical issues, including the southern issue. It would be fair to mention that the south was an independent state which sacrificed its independence for the sake of Yemen’s unity, but ended up entirely losing its rights and dignity. The southern issue should be wisely resolved, in a way which maintains an ancient people’s pride and dignity.

As with the inclusion the southern issue in the dialogue, we should also grant the inclusion of the matter of Sa’ada governorate and discuss sectarian imbalances and religion-based massacres. Moreover, the case of Tehama and the abuses people suffer there should also be on the conference agenda.

Political concerns are not the only matters which should be included. Issues concerning Yemeni women should also be included. Women were not created for the sole purposes of marriage and giving birth; she was created to be men’s partners in building societies. Hence, rights granted by way of religion and the constitution should never be ignored or discarded. Women have the right to prove their worth. It shouldn’t be necessary to view women as enemies whenever they exceed men in various fields. Women have always proven their ability to handle their responsibilities and duties both inside and outside the home.

It should be obligatory that youths who peacefully took to the streets to demand their rights be included in the dialogue, as many had genuine intentions to effect change and seek a better future. As it stands, they’ve been left disappointed, having discovered that nations are ruled by internal and external political forces.

Arabs were left no choice but to aspire for more – to finishing their studies, have good jobs, build houses and get married. Our rulers used certain policies to force us aspire for nothing but hardly decent lives. This is why I firmly demand that the Yemeni people’s right to a decent life be included in the constitution and be part of the discussion at the National Dialogue Conference.

When all the political powers agree on these critical points, the minor issues will then be solved by the relevant authorities. There is no need to load the dialogue up with less anything less than major issues.