The Democratic Future for Yemen
Salloum, Habeeb, Contemporary Review
ABD al-Aziz Abd al-Ghani, deputy head of the Mu'tamer Party General Popular Congress), the largest political organization in the country, was firm when he asserted that democracy was in the Yemen to stay. |The problems are enormous but we are convinced that a new society is in the making.' In the mind of this young leader of a party which was the main force in uniting North and South Yemen, the democratisation of his country was on a path of no return.
No one would have ever thought in the early 1960s, when Imam Ahmad ruled North Yemen in a ruthless fashion, that less than a few decades later his country would be the leading democratic land in the Arab world. A cruel tyrant, he kept the masses illiterate: many believed that Yemen was the whole world and that when the sun disappeared over the Red Sea it had reached the ends of the earth. The Imam had hoodwinked some of his people so thoroughly that even after the Imamite was overthrown in 1962, it took near a decade of civil war for the country's revolution to survive.
Today, when one visits the newly unified Republic it is almost impossible to think that in the 1950s the despotic ruler of the North governed a country which had virtually no modern industry, roads, schools or medical facilities, and little trade with the outside world. At that time, no one in their wildest dreams could have predicted that barely 30 years after his demise and the subsequent years of civil war, Yemen would be well on the way to becoming a progressive modern state. Yet, amazingly, this is what has happened. North and South Yemens have merged -- an unexpected event according to most observers-and in all areas, today's united country is progressing at a break-neck speed.
After foreign intervention was halted in the early 1970s, the North Yemen …
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Publication information: Article title: The Democratic Future for Yemen. Contributors: Salloum, Habeeb - Author. Magazine title: Contemporary Review. Volume: 261. Issue: 1522 Publication date: November 1992. Page number: 236+. © 1999 Contemporary Review Company Ltd. COPYRIGHT 1992 Gale Group.
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