By Fakhri al-Arashi
The National Dialogue will significantly affect the path for change that Yemen is headed on as it tries to secure rights for its people. Until recently, the system of ‘democracy’ Yemen had, involved appealing to residents during election time or for other political interests, like international support and funding to fight terror and extremism.
Unhappy with its government, repression and inequality, people opted for change. That change has resulted in the National Dialogue Conference, which aims to save Yemen from fragmentation and civil war.
For the first time in Yemen’s history, heads of tribes are leaving their guns and bodyguards at home, as they sit at round tables, meeting with representatives from all walks of the life – the youth, the marginalized and liberal women. For the first time in Yemen, high political officials ride buses transporting representatives as they talk and listen to others along the way. This is positive for Yemen.
For the first time in Yemen, a young fella raised his voice at the Presidential Palace at the opening ceremony of the conference, demanding accuracy during the opening remarks. For the first time in Yemen, marginalized members of communities are at a five-star hotel, standing next to sheikhs, discussing the plight of their people freely and bravely. For the first time in Yemen, that person represents members of his or her community. They include barbers and butchers, they all demand equality and justice. History is in the making, Yemen is in a positive place.
This would not have happened if there had been no revolution – if there had been no dialogue. Those who boycotted for various reasons are not satisfied with the dialogue, afraid it will harm their interests; or they are ambitious for more political power than the dialogue made space for.
Some of those who refused to participate, such as Hamid al-Ahmer and Tawwakol Karman, are not ready to meet and dialogue with members of the old regime, who encourage everyone to forget about the past.
Nothing will be achieved after only one week of the conference, and no one knows for certain what will happen in the coming days, but there are high hopes placed on positive outcomes from this conference, which will reflect and increase Yemen’s wisdom.