Monday, August 8, 2011

Yemenis’ Schizophrenia

A great piece I read on
By Nadia al-Saqqaf


I have finally come to a conclusion as to what is wrong with Yemenis.. we are all schizophrenic! We have double personalities and some of us have unlimited alter egos which we summon according to the situation.

How else would you explain how we as people would easily give up our lives and fight for freedom when it comes to politics and not utter a word when our very basic rights such as water, electricity, fuel or even security are violated repeatedly?

The first thing we must understand about our situation is that it is a disease that could be treated. We just need shrinks and many pills. Unfortunately this is not even remotely possible because we don’t have any basic health care services and we would rather buy qat than any medicine. By the way, doctors have reported that qat increases hallucinations and other psychiatric diseases. So there you go, another proof that Yemenis especially those who chew qat are schizophrenic.

Still not convinced? Ok, let’s take a totally different example, let’s take the issue of how Yemeni men’s deal with women. A Yemeni man typically treats his female co-worker or project partner totally the opposite of how he would treat his wife, sister or daughter. For example, he would encourage his colleague to work and even support her in her activities but he would deprive his daughter from going to college or his wife from even going to work. If this is not schizophrenic then I don’t know what is!

You want another example? Ok, how about the fact that Yemenis were ok about having to queue for days to buy fuel, or buy it from the black market for 6 times its price, but then when better quality fuel was made available and accessible by the state for double the old quality type’s price they went nuts? It’s like it is ok to buy it illegally for six times its price but if it is legally available at the standard international price Yemenis have a problem.

Yemenis also have a problem when it comes to budgeting and domestic economics. Now we are going through tough financial times and the prices of general commodities are sky rocketing yet Yemenis would sell their souls to buy unnecessary items in order to keep up with Ramadan habits of spending and eating. They complain that there is no money to buy things and the shops are crowded with people buying ridiculous things.

I don’t blame my people... something must have gone terribly wrong when our great great grandfather was conceived... maybe the pregnancy was exposed to some radiation that twisted our logic and decision making process genes. Or maybe there is something in the water we drink that makes us so... schizophrenic.

Nevertheless, this is a very serious problem. Yemenis today across the country pay exaggerated electricity bills while we receive power for only one hour a day. We would rather buy generators and spend money buying fuel than demand that we as citizens are respected and provided with basic services such as power.

This is very surprising coming from people who are protesting for the sixth month in a row demanding political change. Many youth are willing to stay in the streets under the rain and sleep in tents until there is a change in the regime. They are following political directives from opposition parties or their own coalitions in demand for a better regime. But our schizophrenia does not allow us to see that changing a regime for the sake of changing a regime is not going to help anything.

Until we understand fully why as Yemenis we want a change in the system and how this change should impact our daily life and provide us a more dignified life as respected citizens there will be no progress at any front.