Unity Day of May 22, After a Third of a Century!

Where did the unity stumbled? and can it resist the undermining schemes?
May 23, 2023

Unity Day of May 22, After a Third of a Century!

Where did the unity stumbled? and can it resist the undermining schemes?
May 23, 2023
Photo By: AL-Gabri

Yemeni people celebrates the twenty-second of May anniversary, which falls in this month every year, while many of its values have been eroded in the lives of Yemenis due to the state of conflict, rupture and chaos that engulfs the country.

Unification of the country seemed to the Yemenis a third of a century ago (May 22, 1990), like a hoped-for lifesaver, from the repercussions of the wave of the major transformations that began sweeping the world and the accompanying stormy structural crises within the same entities. They saw in the merger of two apparently contradictory political regimes, a national step that could be built upon.

However, the unity slogans raised by the Yemeni national powers at the height of the Arab nationalist tide, starting in the mid-fifties of the last century, were accumulated by parties and political formations for three decades inside and outside the two regimes. The most important motives for the rapprochement that led to the immediate merger of the two powers became, a merger that was not devoid of emotional expressions and political uncertainty.

The slow unitary steps, which began between the two regimes after the 1972 war in Cairo and Tripoli, and the acceleration they witnessed during the early eighties, one of these procedures led to the agreement of the Joint Constitutional Committee on the draft constitution of the unified state on December 30, 1981.

The constitution was drafted in a spirit that contained the struggles of the national movements in the two parts, and championed the republican system, political pluralism, peaceful transfer of power, democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of civil society and trade union work, the rule of law, equal citizenship, human rights, and freedom of conscience and belief.

The contemplator of these constitutional principles will realize how translating them in a spirit of responsibility was sufficient to achieve a modern national state that would triumph over the struggles of the national movements and the dream of Yemenis for decades all over Yemen.

However, the frantic panting for swallowing power and resources, stereotyping society, eliminating its diversity, and the fever of assassinations, produced the state of the first division, which deepened with the passage of time. It reached to a real tension point that could not be resolved or curbed by the document (the Covenant and the Agreement) that was agreed upon by the political forces, and the signing took place in the Jordanian capital on January 18, 1994.

In the summer of 1994, the war broke out between the two parts, on the basis of new alliances. The southerners of Yemen were the most affected, especially those who were considered to be on the defeated side, both military and civilians; some were dismissed from their jobs, and many of them were referred to forced early retirement with financial returns that did not protect them from the evils of hunger.

The first "southern ego" began to demand a correction of the course of the unity, and because the regime, ecstatic with victory, was “taken by pride in sin,” it did not pay attention to this groaning and proceeded in its mischief. And when the peaceful movement began with its human rights motive, it was met with repression and confiscation. Also when it became a strong voice in the street calling for disengagement, the government formed patchwork committees, which were unable to fix what was corrupted by its tools on land and sea.

Moreover, the second invasion of the south at the beginning of 2015 came from the internal war alliance (Saleh and the Houthis), to deepen the chasm more and raise the ceiling of demands higher, on top of which is the restoration of the southern state within the borders of May 21, 1990.

The disintegration of the state and its fragmentation between the inside and the outside, and the subsequent consolidation of the de facto authorities on the ground, made the talk about a unified Yemen, with such conflicting authorities, full of political confusion.

What was possible yesterday has become impossible today, due to the polarization of the systematic dismantling projects that have reached the production of more than one regime that is divided between regionalism, localism and sectarianism. As a result, the two governments have become over time with multiple loyalties in favor of regional disputants who were able to use the division in order to sustain the state of conflict and fuel hatred.

Despite all of this, it is possible to bet on an untainted political mentality that takes the initiative and is capable to turn the few opportunities into a vision for building peace with strong principles. This is shall be followed by the tendency to produce a strong and responsible leadership that takes into account the interests of Yemenis in the south and north. Yemeni people shall be able to decide on the future and shape of their state, with the contents of a modern renaissance, and with political tools that everyone agrees upon.


The anniversary of the twenty-second of May falls every year, and many of its values have been eroded in the lives of Yemenis, due to the state of war, rupture and chaos that surrounds the country.

Where did the vast Yemeni dream of (unity) stumbled? and can it resist the undermining projects?

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