Cause for celebration

Fakhri al-Arashi

Despite the fact that real change in Yemen has yet to arrive, the Yemeni youth revolutionaries and a number of political parties have contributed to preparations for a large celebration tomorrow, on Monday Feb 11th, 2013 – the second anniversary of Yemen’s Youth Revolution, which saw the ouster of now-former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In a general sense, Yemen still a long way to go before the goals of the youth revolution are achieved. Whether or not February 11th will be recognized as a national holiday, there is no doubt that people are looking forward to an end to the chaos which has made Yemen an open ground for third party interests to battle it out.

Yes, Saleh lost his presidency; however, the rules and standards which governed his 33-year-long tenure are still very much at play. They are also very much present in the structure and actions of the current government. The revolution itself left behind its share of problems, or challenges. And to be fair, the new government inherited a huge, heavy, difficult legacy. Wisdom will be visible once our nation’s political players have decided to deal with each other as partners.

I would say it’s still too early to announce that February 11 is a National Day; I would much rather see that justice has made headway because of those youths who assembled on that day and many others which followed. And improvements in our economy, a stronger fight against corruption, equal opportunity for all…

While injured youths and their supporters continue to protest in front of the Cabinet Building in Sana’a, there are verbal clashes between Houthis and Islahies and southern calls for separation. Amidst all the noise – some of it reasonable, some of it not – one thing is clear: there must be a focus on resolving all such disputes as much as humanly possible at the National Dialogue.

March 18th has been set as the first day of the National Dialogue Conference, a gesture to the martyrs of 2011’s Juma’at Al-Karama (‘Friday of Dignity’), when many youths were killed in cold blood as they sought freedom, better lives and promising futures for future generations of Yemenis.

As we look towards the National Dialogue, we are looking towards a good future. Yet the future doesn’t warrant celebration – it simply requires good will. If we have that, we will then one day have good cause to celebrate something undeniably positive for a change: Yemen’s present.