Almost at the Half


By Fakhri al-Arashi

It’s an outstanding moment to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the 14th of October Revolution in view of all of Yemen, from south to north. This anniversary is a great occasion, even despite the ongoing political challenges and those detractors who wish to bring Yemen back to 1990, which is the date that brought Yemen together as a strong and unified country.

The headline of this editorial refers to the fact that this Golden Anniversary falls at a very interesting point in the history of Yemen’s great revolutions. This year’s Golden Anniversary falls 23 years after the unification of the two parts of Yemen, which itself took place 26 years after the Revolution itself. What do we observe in a country almost as far from its unification as that unification was from the original liberations that founded the two Yemeni states?

With this celebration, we see a new generation appearing in Yemen: a generation calling for the re-separation of the country. Twenty five years ago began the calls for the joining of the two Yemeni states; a generation later, the new voices of Yemen seek an end to this union.

Within the spectacle of celebrating the Golden Anniversary, Yemen is still on the brink of going backwards. Each generation seeks to implement their own style of statehood, each wishes to build a state that matches their own mentality. They believe that if they change the structure of the state, they might have better chances of survival and success. They don’t approve of the past, they are unsatisfied with the present, and who can say how they will feel about the future?

From the statement made by President Hadi during the opening ceremony of the third plenary session of the National Dialogue Conference this Tuesday, he seems to be in clear support of a united Yemen under a new title: a united federation of Yemeni states. This is a clear indication that both the South and North, despite having achieved five decades of democratic development and modernization, still need more change to reach a stable equilibrium. For decades, Yemen has suffered a history of wrongheaded practices inconsistent with the goals of Yemen’s revolutionaries. Will the voices of today be able to better articulate what they need?  What the country needs?