The Arab spring is ageing me: Yemen after the GCC
Yemenis have been protesting since February calling for president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down , after being in power since 1978, and after at least 2200 died in major Yemeni cites protesting for Saleh’s resignation. Yemen has now witnessed a “peaceful” power transition for the first time after decades. Although Yemen is alleged to be a democratic country it has never seen a new president through elections it.
The Gulf Cooperation Council brought an initiative to end the violence in Yemen and proposed a peaceful way to transfer power. The initiative guarantees impunity for Saleh, becoming an honorary president for 90 days after signing. He delegated power to his deputy Abdrabu Mansour Hadi, Hadi is supposed to form a coalition government consisting of the political opposition parties and the ruling party and they have to prepare for an early election in 90 days of which we all know the result in advance; Hadi should be the next president for the next two years. More importantly the parliament should hold an exceptional session on Nov.29 to give Saleh impunity.
After three times failing to sign the GCC deal, he finally did last night, Nov23.
The Youth who were the only pressure that led Saleh to give up power while he is alive were not involved in this deal, they were only a tool.
What has changed since the Arab Spring started, what good did it bring to the people of Yemen? I asked myself this morning when the world was still celebrating but Yemenis were again dying in the street – what was the point again!!
On BBC radio yesterday they asked me “which is better, giving immunity to Saleh and stopping the violence or protesting against the GCC deal and more deaths?”
I said “it will be wonderful if they stopped the killing but that will not be the case if the GCC is signed.” Today, the first morning after the deal was signed, at least five died and 40 wounded by live ammunition.
Islah Party, part of the political opposition parties that signed the GCC deal last night, showed a new face at the protest today. Unlike each time the protesters marched before, Islah did not do any preparations in case of emergency today.
“They [Islaeh] cut the youth banners that oppose their stance of the GCC deal, they didn’t turn the generator on at the field hospital although many were dying, only two doctors were at the hospital, today we felt like if it was the end of the world at the square “said Adnan Al-Rajhi, a reporter who presents at the field hospital.
“So far this is the most unsuccessful revolution in The Arab Spring,” said my British friend who has been following the situation in Yemen. “Ten months of protests and hundreds of deaths have produced a deal that offers immunity and no real democracy.”
I also got another e-mail from my Australian friend saying “For once, somebody brought a pen to the signing ceremony, and for once Saleh actually signed. Perhaps it was the promise of a comfortable bed in New York? Who knows the pressures and temptations plied upon him in Riyadh?
“Maybe he just couldn’t stomach the company of Ben Ali complaining about the recent elections in Tunisia? Whatever happened, I am happy to see this small step forward towards a potentially new Yemen. I’m glad that I’ve followed the story this far and that all of you are still safe,” he added.
He went on “It is a small step forward. His sons are still in power. The JMP are dancing with the GPC in a new power play. Those responsible for violence are not being taken to justice. And the myriad social and economic problems plaguing Yemen for decades are still there waiting for someone to address them. However, a little celebration and joy is surely allowed at this moment? I know this is not the end, but just the beginning of a true revolution. Look at Egypt now – they still have so far to go. But congratulations anyway – as individuals, as a newspaper, as a people, and as a nation for holding out to get this far.”
Some people think that Yemenis like to stay in the streets protesting chewing Qat, they just found a new way to live. I sometimes think so as well, but this doesn’t reflect they role that has not taken in considerations .where am I as Yemeni citizen in this GCC deal?? What does it offer to any Yemeni?? The only thing I see is the Gulf spoiling Saleh; he is an honorary president, he gets immunity and he enjoys the Yemenis money he stole, while we “who matter” suffer from 22 hours of power blackouts every day, price increases and unemployment moreover, getting killed for having an opinion.
Still I know the revolution has just begun and we have to come together until our demands are met. Removing Saleh from power is just one positive step that we should build on.