Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 17th, 2019

“The Oppressor Has Gone but the People Stay!!”


“The Oppressor Has Gone but the People Stay!!”

That is how it happens. Authoritarian governments, clinging to authority and turning voilent are abhored at the end; abhored so much that their sufferings are celebrated by their subject. So has been the case in Yemen. The departure of the President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia after his injury in the rocket attack on the mosque where he, along with his obedient officials and body guards, was prayers on Friday, made the people jump in to celebration on Sunday June 5, 2011. Saleh has been admitted in a military hospital in Saudi Arabia because of the injuries caused by the pieces of wood that splintered from the pulpit of the mosque.

Vice President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, is performing as the temporary head of the state. The deputy Information Minister Abdu al-Janadi has mentioned that President Saleh is in better health and would return to the country. As, in his view the coups have failed and calms have returned to the country. He also added that Yemen must not be mistaken for Libya and President is not up to civil war. But the people have already started their celebrations on the roads as they have been tired of almost 33 years of the autocratic rule.
People, many in number, chanting slogans and singing with joy, poured around Sanaa's Change Square. They even slaughtered cows and they were joined by the women and children as well. All the people had clothed for the occasion and some even slaughtered cows. They were making victory signs and the most noteable slogan that has been reported is, "The oppressor is gone but the people stay." All these reactions depict the deprivation they have been going through and the relief they have received after the news of departure of the President albeit it may be only temporary.

The protest in Yemen is also seen in the perspective of the protests going on in Middle East and Northern African Countries against the authoritarian regimes of the region. These protests have been intensified after the success of the portestors in Egypt, which sparked new hope in the hearts of the people in the neighboring countries that have been experiencing almost the same kind of authoritarian rules. These protests are marked with both peaceful endeavors and bloodshed. The major cause of these protests has been the lengthy rules of the rulers who have always used authorities for their self-centered motives, neglecting the basic rights of the people and keeping them aloof of modern developments in the forms of government and politics. What can be the prospects of the protests in Yemen are not very evident yet. They can not necessarily result in the Egypt-like developments, keeping in view the nature of the disparities in both the cases. The country is approaching the brink of civil war and the loose law and order situation seems to welcome the terrorists to grab strong position in the region, as the presence of Al-Qaeda members in the region has already been reported. Moreover, deteriorating peace in the country can bring considerable harm to the neighboring countries as well. The situation may get worse unless appropriately handled.

The situation in the country was prepared for a considerabe turn after the decision of Al-Ahmar to support the protest movement instead of President. Al-Ahmar left the President after his forces turned violent on the protestors, killing many peacefull, unarmed demonstrators. Even after joining the protesters Al-Ahmar did not militarily opposed the President. But the last week's incident of President's forces approaching Al-Ahmar's fortress like residence practically changed the situation completely. The incident infuriated the tribesmen of Al-Ahmar they turned violent and started retaliating considerably, pushing the country in a state of serious turmoil. Now, the country is marked with serious encounter between President's forces and different tribes; while, students, children and women who have been favoring emancipation from authoritarianism are mostly confined to peaceful protests from the very beginning. Now the nature of the protests are two dimensional; the first, relating to the urge among the people for the elimination of authoritarian regime and political amendments and the second relating to the individual interests of different tribes that are in adversary with the Saleh's family. The first one if backed properly can result into political development in Yemen but if the second is backed, the result is a certain civil war, which is not supposed to happen as the country is already going through the worst situation of law and order and economic deprivation.

America and European countries have explicitly backed the protests in Middle East and Northern African countries. They consider them as a step against authoritarianism and towards democracy. NATO forces, disturbed by the worsening situation in the neighborhood, are already engaged in Libya actively, forcing Gaddafi to quit his obstinate lengthy rule, which he has denied to do. They with the same tone have asked Saleh to quit. In addition, the Gulf countries neighboring Yemen have also insisted Saleh to quit, which he has accepted thrice only to reject at the last moments. And even now, when he is injured and out of the country he still has the will to return and most probably he will return. The possibility of his return is further strengthened by the fact that his close family associates and the obedient generals are still stationed at home and are backing their position and of the president strongly. He does not seem to be willing to give up his position, which has given him dominancy, superiority and above all the fate of an entire nation in his hand for many years. At the end if he is not able to do anything else, he is expected to leave the country in turmoil and escape; keeping behind an irreversable state of affairs.

With the objective conditions changing rapidly and incidents heading dubiously Yemen is definitely on the verge of great changes. These changes can be positive and can favor the will of the majority if the situations are controlled properly by the protesting forces and the International World. Keeping in view the bliss and optimism of the people celebrating on the roads of Yemen at the departure of the authoritarian president, the people should be given every opportunity of deciding their fate on their own. They really deserve a government that can give them their basic rights; not an era of civil war with multiplying bloodshed, misery, hunger and corruption because they believe that "The oppressor has gone but the people stay".

The writer is a new growing columnist of the daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at sherzai@outlookafghanistan.com

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