You and I never met, all though for a bit I thought we might be together for at least some years. My dad is a restless soul and his work has always involved visiting countries like you. He is always juggling several projects at once and sometimes during dinner he would tell us we might be moving this way or that. But you know how things go. You think you can plan things but it’s a fickle world and my father decided otherwise. Or maybe it was decided for him, I don’t remember, I was quite young. But I’ve always remembered your name and hearing about you always makes me wonder about what could have been…
And now I hear they have been calling you a failure. The fact that it is true doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. There’s a big chance the majority of your people doesn’t even know you are often mentioned as an example to demonstrate the definition of “failed state”.
A failed state is a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government.
You rank 8th on the 2014 list of countries according to the Fragile States Index. I recognize your people for their middle eastern looks, in combination with a tad of malnourishment you don’t see elsewhere in the region. Skinny men with anger in their eyes. Or is it hunger? Or is it just a qat-induced haze I see?
The BBC said it only weeks ago but it’s been this way for years, hasn’t it? What I am trying to understand is why. You seem to have a lot going for you. What curse rests upon you that stops you from blooming? You have some oil, as your neighbors do. Who are these people living within your borders and why are they so divided?
When former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had ruled the country for more than 33 years, finally stepped down and a new president was elected in February of 2012, I thought you were ready to change and perhaps step into the modern world. You chose a president that was able and willing and seemed to have the acceptance of different important political actors.
And now I hear this hopeful newcomer, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has stepped down and you are once again spiraling down into chaos. What happened? It seems president Hadi was not the right person to guide you after all.
It saddens me, Yemen. You are being compared to Iraq and Afghanistan even though these two countries have been scarred by wars to an extent you have (luckily) not had to endure in recent centuries. Where Afghanistan can blame its invaders (i.e. Britan in the 19th century, the Soviet Union in the 20th and the US and its allies in recent times) or perhaps its difficult neighbors or the fact that they are completely landlocked for some of its troubles, you can only blame yourself.
PJ Crowley, former US Assistant Secretary of State, wrote about you last week and is not very optimistic. He says you need help but that it will take decades to get you on track. The problem is, that it is very difficult to sympathize with you and donors prefer investing in more likeable empty stomachs / pockets.
In that sense I wish I had gotten the chance to know you, back then. Perhaps then I could explain that deep down you really are quite loving and that your people are just misunderstood. I’m afraid I really don’t know where to start now. You must help yourself.