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Yemen street wants empowerment, jobs and security

Gulf News went to the streets of Yemen and asked people about the impact of the current crisis on their lives

  • By Saeed Al Batati, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:52 December 18, 2011

Sana'a: Gulf News went to the streets of Yemen and asked people about the impact of the current crisis on their lives.

We also asked them about their demands and expectations from the new government and what they thought about the Arab Spring.

Despite the effects of the turmoil on all aspect of life in the country, a woman who did not wish to give her name said she preferred to look at the brighter side of the uprising:

“I think the Arab Spring has had a positive effect on us. We have become more aware of our rights and what’s happening around us.

“The educated young elite now have dreams and we are striving to achieve those goals. In Yemen, people at the grassroots are reluctant to support the revolution in the country because they are worried about government crackdowns and increased victimisation.

“Also, many people doubted the intentions of some politicians who tried to lead the revolution.

“I look at the Arab Spring as a bold movement for legitimate demands and in pursuit of a better future.

“The new government should work to implement radical reforms that serve the country. The government should primarily focus on the youth — the largest age group in society — through educating and creating jobs for them.

“It should also pay attention to education, health and improving people’s standards of living. The new government should appoint officials based on their competence and not repeat the former leader’s mistakes. Finally, I wish to see my country prosperous and Yemenis enjoying good health service, affordable and quality education and abundant jobs.”

Nabeel Bin Ayfan, 31, an accountant in the Maritime Authority in Mukalla, southern Yemen, and also working as a journalist on the side, said: “The situation in Yemen is extremely worrying because the crisis, in my opinion, was caused by tribal wrangles between former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and influential tribal leaders like Shaikh Sadeq Al Ahmer and his brother Hamed.

“However, the signing of the peace deal initiated by the GCC countries has revived hope that Yemen will be back on track. I think full recovery from the crisis needs at least five years — and this is similar to any transitional period in any other country.

“The new government has a big challenge of providing commodities such as fuel, water and electricity, and reviving the economy. The government should work to put in place the terms of the GCC deal, most importantly the restructuring of the army.

“As for the Arab Spring, I wish that the wave of change reaches all Arab countries as people can get rid of injustice.

“The Arab Spring could not succeed in Yemen because of the intervention of the tribes and parties who used the uprising as a bridge to get to their goals.

“But if the young protesters desert the tribes and political parties, they will ultimately benefit.

“The political crisis has affected people’s lives immensely. People cannot find fuel, drinking water, cooking gas and electricity. The Yemen crisis has had an impact on all aspects of life and if this continues, people will die of hunger.”

Saeed Al Somahi, 31, a taxi driver and a father of three daughters, said: “We want weary Yemenis to live in comfort. Any new government should bear in mind that the people have suffered a lot from the crisis. The government should create jobs for the unemployed. It should also move to reduce the prices of food stuffs and bring about justice.”

Khalid is a bus driver. When the crisis started early this year, he could not drive his bus due to a diesel shortage.

“We went on demonstrations with our colleagues until local authorities agreed to bring in fuel. I want any new government to curb the high price of food and fuel.

“To tell the truth, I have faith in neither the government nor the opposition.”
 

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