Yemenis homeless, whether in-country or abroad

National Yemen

Aref A. Al-Sealami

By Aref Abdullah Al-Selmi


The Yemeni citizen suffers throughout life, whether he is inside or outside his homeland. Such suffering starts with the government, which fails to provide its citizens with basic services and rights. It’s more of the same when it comes to a quality education, health services, equal opportunity or enacted laws.

The education and higher education systems remain unable to provide the labor market with qualified individuals; in turn, these same people are unable to find rewarding work, whether in or outside Yemen. Health services are extremely poor, and governmental projects target only small numbers of youths. Such factors have forced the Yemeni man to leave Yemen in order to find a better world, a place where his skills can be appreciated and where he can pursue his ambitions.

Yet the fact remains that when you escape from a bad reality for a worse reality, you cannot call this a solution. Unfortunately, most of the problems which Yemeni expatriates suffer from can be traced back to their nationality and their country’s regime. Case in point: the Filipino Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is active and works hard to solve all its citizens’ issues; meanwhile, our embassy merely has a building and never addresses the problems of Yemeni citizens. This is the case with all Yemeni embassies across the world.

It’s all a result of decision-makers who always neglect their responsibilities to their homeland and to Yemen’s people. When they reach their seats of power, they work extensively and hard, but only for themselves and their families – and not for the people. We are in need of qualified and well-educated officials who work for their homeland’s interests and not their own. I believe that the only solution for the issues of Yemen’s people – both inside and outside the country – is to reconsider everything in Yemen, starting with the officials and on to the soil itself, which only produces qat; then, on to people’s very minds.

The government has to address all issues strategically and rebuild the trust of the Yemeni citizen in the government; then, it must truly activate governmental bodies in and outside Yemen. It must act with the realization that if the citizen loses trust in the government, the government then has no role.

The Ministry of Expatriate Affairs should be compelled to act – and not just carry a name. If such a body can’t solve the problems of the expatriates in Gulf countries and find solutions for the issues of students in Malaysia and in many other countries, what possibly is the benefit of such a ministry?

Finally, all Yemen’s issues will be addressed only through the goodwill of educated people and decision-makers. I hope that the National Dialogue Technical Committee will see fit to include expatriate representatives in the conference, so that expatriates may be given a forum to discuss their problems as national issues. Their numbers are significant and they deserve to be cared about.