By Tamjid Alkohali
“I didn’t even know there was an unification ceremony. In the morning, the electricity was off as usual. My family and I couldn’t watch any ceremony on TV, but we remembered the Victims of the al-Sabaeen massacre that happened on the same day of the last year which led to the deaths of more than 100 soldiers.” That is Alaa al-Kuraimi’s story, who works as a seller in a shoe store on Jamal Street in Sana’a.
Al-Kuraimi wasn’t happy on the anniversary of Yemeni unification, on the 22nd of May of each year. According to him, people are suffering from the lack of basic necessities of life. Some are busy in queues at petrol stations, others looks for water, and those in their houses are in the dark because of the lack electricity. They can’t hear or watch anything.
Al-Kuraimi’s feelings about the anniversary of Yemeni unification are similar to many other people in Sana’a. Arzak Aladhirany, 26, who works in Altdaman Islamic Bank, said that people don’t have food to eat while the government is holding a ceremony for the anniversary of Yemeni unification. “Why doesn’t the government use the money spent on that ceremony to help people by resolving one of the crises people live. In fact, we don’t need any ceremony, we need to improve even a little of this bad situation, and we need to feel the positive results of the NDC (National Dialogue Conference) which are still on paper, but we don’t know how long. We need a decent life to feel the value of unity,” Aladhirany added.
Most people in Sana’a don’t pay attention to the ceremony held on the occasion of the anniversary of Yemeni unity. However, there are a few people who believe that despite all the difficulties people live in, “the ceremony is an important event to promote the existence of unity between the north and south, especially after dividing the country into six regions,” said Hamoud Alkodamy, professor of Political Science.
Adel Al-Adlani, a Reservation Officer at Yemenia, said that unification was an important event, so the ceremony is important as well. He emphasized that Yemeni Unification is still between South and North. It strengthens integration, diversity of culture, and heritage in many aspects.
“The positive thing about unification is that it happened as a result of a strong desire from all segments of society. It didn’t happen because of civil conflict or occupation as some people think now. Some voices now in the South call for a separation without recognizing the negative consequences that might occur. These voices are provoked by some brilliant characters who live now abroad. What we are witnessing now of the secessionist movement in the South makes unification a risk. However, there is still a hope for the new constitution and the outcomes of the NDC. With Yemen’s movement towards a federal state with several regions, unification can be better supported“, said Al-Adlani.
On other hand, the reaction in the south to the 22nd of May was completely different. Tens of thousands of southerners gathered on May 21st in Aden in order to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the secession between south and north.
In the In celebration, the leader of the Southern al-Harak, Hassan Ahmad Ba’oom, delivered a speech in which he emphasized their insistence on secession.
Many of southerners expressed their refusal for unification between south and north in the event, especially because of the bad living situation and the crises people live through in both south and north. They called to return the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen that was in existence before unification.
Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi held a ceremony and a military parade on the morning of May 22nd, in which he emphasized that the most prominent decisions of the National Dialogue were to recast Yemeni unity on the basis of a federal state consisting of six regions.
He added that from the ceremony of last year to this year, Yemen had made considerable progress in the political crisis and moved toward a better future, especially after the NDC.
Moreover, Hadi spoke about the achievements of the NDC and the difficulties faced by the country on the economic front during the past years, which has intensified this year.