It’s been eight years since Yemen’s ‘youth revolution.’ So what are we celebrating?
It’s been eight years since the outbreak of the “youth revolution” in Yemen, driven by the winds of the “Arab spring” uprisings coming from Tunisia via Egypt.
At the beginning and for most people, these uprisings seemed spontaneous and popular but they turned out to be an excuse for the execution of a malicious and carefully calculated plan to overthrow Arab regimes, destroy their countries and displace their populations.
“The people want to overthrow the regime.” Brandishing this loathsome slogan, young Yemenis began their movement, thinking that it was only an expression of their desire to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh and solve Yemen’s social problems caused by the corruption of his regime. Little did they know that whoever developed that slogan meant it literally and nothing less.
The only thing that Yemen has seen so far is the literal application of “overthrow the regime” without leading to any improvement. This meant the destruction of the institutions of the state, of the army and of the police plus the ensuing political, economic and social catastrophes.
Today, the leaders of that movement are celebrating the anniversary of their movement despite the destruction, devastation and corruption they brought about. Had their goals been patriotic and honourable, they wouldn’t have dared celebrate while the country was falling down the drain a bit further every hour of every day.
The leaders of that movement from al-Islah Party, the political current that led the opposition to Saleh’s regime and the uprising against it, claim innocence of the bad things that happened and continue to happen in Yemen.
They blame the former president, who handed them power under the terms of the Gulf initiative, and they blame the coup by the Houthis, who were just one player in their sinister uprising and who, as expected, share their celebrations every year because they know if it hadn’t been for the calamitous uprising of February 11, 2011, there wouldn’t have been a Houthi coup on September 21, 2014.
It was thanks to the perpetual sit-ins in Sana’a’s Change Square that the Houthi militias were able to move from Saada. It was also thanks to neutralising the 1st Armoured Brigade when its commander, Ali Mohsen, joined the “reformist revolution” that the Houthi militias crossed to Sana’a, something they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing for decades.
If the goals of those so-called leaders were patriotic, there wouldn’t be anything for them to celebrate. So, what are they celebrating amid the horrors and tragedies and calamities that surround Yemenis today? Was overthrowing the Saleh regime worth the price and does it deserve to be celebrated?
The February calamity was a heaven-sent opportunity for those aspiring to turn back the wheels of history and bring back the authority of the Imamate priesthood after a decade of patiently waiting for the right time to pounce on power. Their vengeful spirit was clearly illustrated when the Houthis entered Sana’a as partners of the Muslim Brotherhood on that disastrous February 11.
They had been dreaming about doing that since the beginning of the glorious revolution of September 1962 and they found in the disaster of February 11 the perfect gate for reintroducing the Imamate regime. It must be admitted that the constant bickering and divisiveness of the republican ranks helped them tremendously.
Eight meagre years have passed and the people of Yemen received nothing from the high priests of sedition except destruction and desolation. The common people have lost their country while those seditious vampires sit in their ivory towers and suck up the people’s wealth.
They had nothing to talk about this past February 11, no achievement to celebrate, except perhaps the selfies they took in the world’s cities either as tourists or refugees. They can’t stop talking about the outcomes of the National Dialogue, which could have been achieved by constructive and responsible dialogue without resorting to destruction.
The calamity of February 11 was a bitter harvest for every Yemeni, those who supported that chaos and those who opposed it. It was a chaotic drift that produced nothing but terrible loss of human lives, of infrastructure and of economic wealth.
Yemenis have paid a heavy tribute of blood and livelihood. Tens of thousands of people were killed and double that number have been injured and ended up with permanent disabilities. Hundreds of thousands more have been displaced to the four corners of the world. So, what are they celebrating?
Reality and international reports have spoken more than once of the more than 22 million Yemenis who need humanitarian assistance — that is more than 75% of the total population. Some 8.4 million people suffer from food insecurity and are facing famine and 4 million people have been displaced forcibly. So, what are they celebrating in Yemen?
Eight years since the big disaster of February 11, the republican camp in Yemen is engaged in a futile internal struggle. The only beneficiaries of that struggle are the Houthi militias. The latter have exercised a systematic policy of retaliation against the Yemenis. They’ve striven to create a social rift by any means necessary and cornered Yemenis in a tight spot, all in the service of the Houthis’ sectarian project as they deliver Yemen to their masters in Iran.
This is the same Yemen that was proud of its democratic system, of its republic and of its Arab identity. So, what are they celebrating in Sana’a?