OP-ED

A Prayer for God or a Prayer for Politics?

Fakhri al-Arashi

Most politicians and protestors in Yemen turn Friday worship into a show of strength to prove the legitimacy of what they call for. The 2011 scenarios are likely to reproduce the same outcomes of making change by using the same tools and demands for ousting corrupt government as they say. The need for reform is great but is obscured by a desire to attract the public’s sympathy and support.

The fact is that most people in Yemen do not pay attention to the petty details of politicians, such as the ongoing political dispute between the President, the government, and the Houthis. The majority of Yemenis are beginning to believe that their future is in the wrong hands – the hands of politicians whose interests come before the well-being of the people.

Watching local government TV channels, including the ones owned by political groups, is no longer useful for entertainment or for learning about current news. All channels are selling the same lies and misinformation and act as if the country is being attacked on all its borders and fighting off armies of colonizers.

In one aspect you have sectarianism and in another it is just plain politics. Shamefully, both every leader tries to adopt the slogan of improving citizens lives. Everyone knows that such calls will not serve people in the future, but rather serve special agendas. What do you call those who cut off roads and threaten those who try to pass? What do you call those who block your rights and kill you if you don’t agree with them?

Everything happening in the Yemeni capital is not just the fault of Hadi or the Houthis, it is also the fault of third parties like Iran who finance and supporting the Houthi rebellions and like the Gulf countries who use the battle in Yemen as an excuse to exercise their power.

The dialogues and negotiations today will fail tomorrow because they do not represent the people. Prayers won’t help because the situation is not about the mercy of God, but about overcoming manipulating politicians. Prayers demonstrations on the streets are less about faith of more about self-interest. Such acts bring the anger of God upon them, because they have something in mind other than religiosity. Such prayers can’t be prayers to God if politicians are ordering them to do it as part of a political show.