Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Should Yemeni Women Govern the Transitional Period?

I stumbled upon this op-ed by Abdullah Mahwari and I needed to share it. For the Arabic version, click here.  For a loose translation of the article, look below.  
Leave the Power to Women
By Abdullah Mahwari 
Monday, August 6, 2012 

All political sheikhs, party sheikhs and fatawa sheikhs must leave the political arena and take an open ended vacation and a comprehensive period for recovery and  self-reflection, away from the spotlight. They should leave the political arena to the Yemeni woman, the granddaughter of Queen Bilqis and Arwa,  and let her take charge on all fronts, for the interim period only. This is in order to allow male politicians (of all parties mentioned above) to arrange their papers, organize their files and hone their brave men for the upcoming elections.

Give women this critical transitional period because you, gentlemen, are not good at it at all. "May God bless a man who knows his limitations", believe me you will never regret this. For once in your lifetime confess that you are "futile with excellence" in crisis management and that you are not capable of this responsibility at the present time.

Admission of guilt is a virtue. We, the men, on the land of Bilqis (May she rest in peace) are unfit to rule. This is the truth that is obvious for everyone to see and it does not require intelligence to realize. Withdraw from political life! all of you with beards, guns and empty minds and leave the political ring for those who deserves it.  You who are futile with excellence, history will write that you are the worst rulers of Yemen over all the previous centuries. The Yemeni politician, and I mean the man, is money oriented who does not serve the country but rather his benefactor.  He is also selfish and lacks nationalism. We want a Yemeni woman to govern us; we want originality, sincerity, loyalty and honor  to lead us.  We want our leader, our teacher and our  symbol of pride among the nations to be a woman.

O men, disappear from the political scene and get out of the ministries and the parliament. Do independent work and form associations where you can trade lies and hypocrisy out of the political arena. Sell each other outside the country, and feed on each other outside of our homes and in private rather than on our audio-visual media. Do not ruin our children as you are not fit to be anyone's role model. Do not spoil our tastes with your ruddiness. We are done with your boring appearances, your yelling, your wars and your display of power on each other. We are fed up with your  meekness, your clock and dagger activities, you lack of chivalry, and your betrayal. You who are futile with excellence, disappear from our view.  
There are two ways to read this article; either this man appreciates the efforts of women, or he is attempting to insult men by telling them that women can do it better. I do not know the background of Abdullah Mahwari, so I cannot tell you where he stands. For those who choose to believe that he is flattering women, then this man is excellent in the politics of flattery. Most women, especially those who are actively involved in Yemeni politics, will feel honored by his words. I feel sincerity in Abdullah's frustrations with the Yemeni politicians, but I can not get over this line: "[men] should leave the political arena to the Yemeni woman and let her take charge on all fronts, for the interim period only". So, consider this a freudian slip. 

If you are one of those who consider his article a sarcastic stab at the guts of men, then he is making fun of women too. 


When the Yemeni revolution first took off, women took to the streets with men. They slept in tents, shouted the same slogans and protested the same nuisances as men. It was a period of uncertainty. While I watched from abroad, I could not predict what was to come. My biggest fear was that all of these women, who exerted a lot of time and effort for the sake of democracy, will be confronted by the same realities that the Egyptian women are facing now (not a single woman was appointed as a minister). I was exceptionally delighted when three women were chosen as ministers and many others were appointed on various advisory committees. My anxiety for women decreased and I worried about other things; effectively increasing women's participation in the parliament, education and the labor force. Although Abdullah Mahwari's article is dubious, I can't help but wonder if women are only doing the heavy lifting temporarily. So wise up women! and make sure that whatever you do in the following two years will carry into the future. 
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