The achievement of Yemeni unity on May 22, 1990 was a historic interval moment between two eras and two parts that the young generation in Yemen did not realize or know about. Instead, they are suffering from marginalization, and consequences of the war and the ongoing conflict in the country that exacerbated the anguish of most of the Yemeni population.
It is obvious that the accumulated consequences affected the vision of this group about the unity, as they began to deal with it - according to the statements of many of them from different governorates who spoke to "Khuyut" - according to the consequences of its features and recent circumstances imposed by the 2015 war or previous old distortions, which requires - as the journalist Ra'ad Al-Raimi, a resident of the city of Aden sees - a deeper dive towards preserving this moral value in its general form.
In his interview with "Khuyut", he confirms the difficulty of predicting the future of Yemen in light of these successive changes and developments as well as the interferences, whether local, Arab or international.
Young people in Yemen complain about the marginalization of their voice, which is almost a sustainable approach adopted by all entities, parties or political blocs, while their participation remains a formality that has nothing to do with reality. Thus, in addition to the limited opportunity offered to young people by local political entities or international Arab or foreign parties, as they are not paid attention - according to Al-Raimi - except when it comes to burning and crucial issues, in a bad attempt to exploit young people towards completely different goals that exceed their abilities to understand and or comprehend it due to its wide ramifications and enlargement.
In the context, journalist and writer Hana Abed Rabbo, a resident of Shabwa, says on this important occasion in the history of Yemen: “I was born five and a half years after unity. I groaned to the tunes of the song “My Mother Yemen” and the songs “Who looks like you”, as it really unparalleled. And the Yemeni anthem "My faith and love have always been Yemeni, and “my heartbeat will remain Yemeni” forever. It is what I believe in as an existence and identity despite all the odds.
During the recent few years, the Yemeni unity has been going through at a very critical turning point, especially after the coup of the Houthi group in 2015, as this group doesn’t believe in coexistence. It has buried the principles of the Republic and the September revolution, and claims that it has brought about a new revolution and that it has a popular incubator and millions of people who come out to support it.
For her part, the community and media activist, Hanan Fadhl, from the city of Aden, does not believe that there is any existence of unity, pointing to the absent role of youth and their marginalized voice on crucial issues and matters. Therefore, attention must be paid to the youth, as this category is considered the basis for building the nation, and they must be involved in decision-making and supported in order for them to have a strong role during the next stage.
Young people and activists from different cities and parts in Yemen see that unity is the most important national achievement for all Yemenis, and it is not easy to break through small projects run and funded by external parties.
Human rights activist, Mohammad Al-Mikhlafi, from Taiz governorate, says that there are external forces seeking to divide the country into small states, deepen the fighting between the people of the same country, and what is happening today is a flagrant violation of the Yemeni constitution and the will of the Yemeni people.
Al-Mikhlafi confirms in his interview with "Khuyut" that " The loud voices calling for secession and refusing to negotiate on the southern issue go beyond the constitution of the Republic of Yemen, which stipulates that: “The Republic of Yemen is a federal, civil, democratic, independent, and sovereign state, based on popular will, equal citizenship, and the rule of law, and that its unity is indivisible and impermissible waiver of any part thereof".
The Yemeni unity was achieved according to an agreement between the two governments in the north and the south at the time, and the unity was not the will of the north only, as justified by some of those calling for secession, and according to the statement of Al-Mikhlafi, and therefore the unification is the unity of the Yemeni people in its north and south, and the decision is the decision of the people alone. Therefore, no political component has the right to use Yemeni unity as a cover to advance its interests and the benefits of others. We were born and raised in a unified homeland, and we will live in one homeland forever.
For the journalist Khaled Dahmas, from Abyan Governorate, May 22 represents a great historical day and a dream that was considered unattainable. However, the popular will in the north and south of the country was stronger than the will of the politicians who were looking for their interests and the agendas of the powers they represent.
Dahmas added to "Khuyut" that, we cannot deny that there are mistakes and wrong practices that accrued after the achievement of unity in the year 1990, some of them deliberately, and others unintentionally and sole actions of individuals as well as the tendencies of domination by tribal or regional forces and influence.
Areas in southern Yemen suffered from injustice, prejudice, exclusion, and lack of righteousness in the distribution of wealth and power, and were deprived of major strategic projects that would transform their economic and living conditions to a better level. Dahmas continues his speech by saying: "There are no power stations, adequate water projects, an advanced sewage network, and no modern and applied university education."
The impact of conflict on the future
Yemenis believe that the future of the country in light of the current conditions is indefinite and there is no clear vision, as young people have become outside the equation, and their role has been marginalized in light of the polarization of the conflicting powers to use them in their own narrow projects.
Moreover, Khaled Dahmas stresses that the youth are still the ones to be relied upon in creating a civilized Yemen dominated by love and peace, and their opinions must be considered in making peace away from the influence of traditional, opportunistic and racist forces.
Additionally, Hossam Ali, a university student from Sana'a, indicated in his interview with "Khuyut" that his generation of young people knows only the Republic of Yemen, and the unity that everyone describes as the greatest achievement in the history of Yemen. Therefore, what is going on in terms of conflict and the rise of groups with their own odd visions alien to the Yemenis, does not interest him as a young man who looks to the future with great hopes, and no one should pay attention to it - according to the young man Fawzi Al-Marwae, from Al-Hodeida Governorate.
The young man, Shawqi Noman, believes, in his interview with "Khuyut", that all figures and personalities view unity as something of a national gain that cannot be compromised or negotiated. However, there are other opinions that say that there are incomplete solutions in forming a unity based on quotas and justice, and not on the unity that followed the approach of excluding the south and its people from their jobs and plundering their lands. "We are all with unity, and with one national alignment, but there must be a fair remedy for the grievances inflicted on some of the people of the south." He concluded.
In this context, Al-Mikhlafi pointed out that southern Yemen suffered in the decades preceding the achievement of unity from crises, conflicts, coups and armed fighting between the southern components among themselves; stressing that what is happening in southern Yemen is a futile struggle between the two greedy states, and whoever seeks the separation are tools of others forces.
Unity in the first place, must be the unity of society, and the harmony of hearts, before it is unified geography, so that the attitude that considered unity as a robbery from the North on the South will be erased.
Yemeni youth in general view unity as sacred and a national achievement that cannot be compromised, while youth in the south view unity in a different way, carrying the winds of separation and hostility. The undeniable fact is that unity is the real achievement, which united the two parts of Yemen and made it a united homeland that cannot be divided into small states according to the desire of the new colonizer.
Ali al-Maqtari, a social activist from Lahj governorate, confirmed to Khuyut that focus should be placed on the views and opinions of young people on the issue of unity and the future of Yemen. Because the youth are the pillar of society, and they are the ones who will live the future of Yemen, not the adults; Therefore, youth must be involved in determining the fate and future of their country.
According to civil society organizations and institutions concerned with youth, this group faces many challenges, including their lack of ability, knowledge and skills to draw clear features for their political future. Part of this is reflected in such events that bear a milestone in the history of Yemen, not to mention the development of clear strategies for the form of political activity that they wish to manage. In addition, the youth believe that they should have effective and fair representation in all consultations and discussions that discuss peace building and defining the future of the country, and regarding unity and the form of the state.
With regard to the issue of unity, Sam Al-Buhairi, a social and human rights activist, told Khuyut: “We have heard about it and sang about it and repeated it since childhood, even in the school queue. However, the tension and chaos emanating from some in southern Yemen, rejecting this entity and the term, disturbs the Yemeni society as a whole, and makes it live in societal division in one way or another.
Moreover, Al-Buhairi believes that unity in the first place must be the unity of society and the unity of hearts, before it is unified geography, so that the attitude that considered unity as a robbery from the north on the south is erased.
Yemeni youth assert that they are absent from political decision-making and active participation in important national issues, at a time when peace, social and political justice are required among all components, including the most important segment, which is the youth group.
Further, Shawqi Noman told Khuyut that: "Since the nineties of the last century, that is, since the emergence of partisan diversity, young people have been living under the illusion of the terms used by decision-makers in Yemen - in particular - towards young people, and their involvement in the political process. But in fact, we are well aware that this is just an illusion that we hear." For many years, we have not seen or felt any serious realistic steps to translate these slogans broadcasted from the midst of political conferences, party carnivals, and other occasions."
Although there is no dispute in Yemen that young people are primarily affected by war and peace, and they are the active and influential social group, and they have been the igniters and bombers of revolutions since the sixties, but the reality is that they are just fuel of the furious war that inflames their bodies, and deprivation gnaws at their hearts, which are full of broad hopes. According to Noman.
"We really do not know the reasonable justifications for politicians, regarding this deliberate exclusion and marginalization of young people over the years and successive generations. Some politicians in this country insist on keeping young people isolated from political work and decision-making and exercising their ambitions and experiences, to be fuel for the war that they ignite here and there, whenever they lose their insight and selfish interests.” Noman added.
In conclusion, the responsibility for building and change today rests primarily with young people. Therefore, silence in claiming their rights guaranteed by the constitution and the law is shameful and unfortunate, and it must not be overcome without an urgent reform of such imbalance.