Translation of former president of the PDRY and vice president of the unified Yemen Ali Salem al Beidh’s speech on 5/21. His view of the origins of the civil war is quite interesting.
The speech of the president Ali Al-Bid 21/05/2009
It is with great pleasure and immense gratitude that I speak to you today, in this historic occasion. My open speech to you today comes after a long period of absence and quietness, caused by many difficult and overpowering circumstances that forced us to live away from our beloved homeland and away from you. Though our hearts and minds were never absent, not for a second, from watching the events and observing and reacting to its development to the best of our abilities.
Dear Noble people of the South…as you know we signed the agreement of the fully-integrated unification between People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen and the Yemen Arab Republic with aspiring national and civil spirit, hoping to give both our nations a better future, and we had high hopes that we will be building a homeland big enough for all of its sons.
A homeland based on the respect of individuals within the framework of a state built on constitutional institutions. Where the values of justice and equality are extended to all, a state governed by the rule of law and order. A homeland that will protect all of its citizens, young and old, the strong and the weak…a homeland able to meet all of the hopes and aspirations of the citizens of both countries party to the agreement, achieving this though the complementing the energies, human and material resources of both countries, taking the best from the experience of each country prior to the unification.
In order to achieve this huge national goal we made many great sacrifices and compromises as a homeland, as a state and as people and citizens. We did not make any conditions neither did we make any gains, bearing in mind the huge participation that the South and its sons brought to accomplish this unification. We put forward a sovereign state with its citizens, its capital, its national identity and its wealth…
But the authorities in Sana’a were having different evil and hostile intentions towards our state and people. They planned and conspired to divert the unification from its natural democratic path (the peaceful and civilized), the one that it was created for.
The first few years of the unification witnessed the criminal assassination of many of our politicians, this continued throughout the transitional period. They – the Sana’a authorities – did not have any goal to achieve from the unification other than seizing the South and its wealth. The evasion of implementing all of the clauses of the Agreement of Unification became apparent and an evidence of the disingenuousness of our partners in achieving this unification and its noble objectives.
It became very clear that the authorities of the Yemen Arab Republic did not view the unification through its noble meaning and great objectives, but rather through a narrow individualistic point of view. They did not view the South – with its vast size – as a major partner, but more as a branch that has to return to its origin, as they have mention in many occasions and announced it publicly without any equivocation or subtlety.
And as they have revealed and confessed through their memoires and public notes. All of that lead to the well-known political crisis that ended in the signing of “The Document of Covenant and Agreement” in the Jordanian capital Amman on 20/02/1994 under the patronage of His Highness the late King Husain bin Talal.
All of that was not enough intercession for peace callers to try and prevent the war that the other party have prepared for and made the decision to go to it against the South. On the 27th April 1994 Ali Abdullah Saleh declared war from the Sabeen Square in Sana’a, immediately after that attacks began on Southern Regiments stationed in the North, one after the other as a preemptive measure to the all-out war on the South.
Arab and international mediation to stop the war against the Southern land and humans did not succeed, therefore, we made a political announcement on the 21st of May 1994 and called for the secession of the South from the Sana’a regime and to retrieve to our previous positions and former state as a legitimate and natural right of the citizens of the South in light of the ongoing war waged against the South that even the Security Council Resolutions 924, 931 could not stop it. After the full military invasion of the South ended on 7/7/1994, the South became under occupation. As a result of that the Sana’a regime has completely ruined the unification.
Dear brothers and sisters…the invasion of our country with military force started a new chapter in the history of our people…The unification in its political democratic and peaceful sense became a clear military occupation. The authorities of the 7th of July imposed the unification on us with the power of the weapon and the tyranny of occupation in unambiguous breach of the resolutions of the International Community which prohibit resolving political differences by force and in contradiction with the spirit of the genuine Arabic customs and traditions,
Our country and people have entered a difficult era since 7/7/1994 until today. The Sana’a regime throughout this long period showed the gruesome face of occupation and tyranny, by obliterating the identity of the South and altering its milestones and historical landmarks, they have also laid off hundreds of thousands of Southern employees from their jobs in the military, security and civil institutions. The regime have turned all of them into unemployed beggar-like citizens seeking their tiny retirement pay in Sana’a in a humiliating and degrading manner.
In addition to that and in carrying on with implementation of the occupier’s policies, the regime privatized at least 55 successful public economic institutions in the South by selling it to its cronies and allies.
The regime also started the gradual lay off of all of the Southern diplomats and replacing them with others from the North in a repulsive racist manner. Thousands of kilometers of public and private land were seized from the South and were given to Northerners to own. Farms, commercial lands and private properties owned by Southerners were taken illegitimately by military personnel and civilians from the North. Oil, mineral and fishery wealth were the subject continuous corrupt fiddling by the regime and its cronies and turning them into the private assets for the corrupt allies of the regime.
Imprisonment and killing were the fate of anyone who resisted these acts which had nothing to do with the unification of the country.
Dear sons of our great nation…the authority of 7th of July have betrayed the nation of the South. Land, wealth and humans have become war spoils and trophies, and our nation has turned from being a partner into occupied. The practices of the occupiers have the taken the following branded features:
1 – The exclusion of the Southerners from the political and administrative decision making. Wherever there was a representation it is a matter of formality and for decoration purposes only, with all due respect to our bothers who are participating with 7th July Authority
2 – Placing the South (land and man) under harsh military and security fist, the occupying authority has deployed more military and security forces in the South than our Southern forces prior to the unification
3 – Depriving people of the South from their oil and fishery wealth and from their land, and placing it for the benefit of the forces of war and corruption.
4 – Plotting and planting conspiracy and grudges amongst the Southerners through constant reminder of the past and digging out of past atrocities, and by grooming the “revenge” phenomenon amongst the Southern tribes in harmony with the occupiers philosophy of “divide and rule”
Despite all of the above practices and gross violations imposed by force on our nation, it did not hinder Southerners from taking up their national duties in rejecting these policies and practices and fighting by all peaceful means available. Many peaceful resistance movements have arisen from amongst the subjugated people to resist this tyrannical regime. Many other political groupings and organizations and have formed in different governorates, towns and villages in the South.
The day of 7/7/2007 was a distinct day in the transformation of the Southern peaceful blessed revolution into a new and better phase when many of the liberal Southerners have joining the movement through a long sequence of activities and peaceful festivals in different Southern governorates, through which our people have expressed their legitimate demand of independence and the restoration of their former national state.
In the face of all of these peaceful and blessed beginning, the Sana’a regime did not hesitate from crushing this movement and standing against it using its brutal military power resulting in the martyrdom of tens of people and the injury and arrest of hundreds of activists and demonstrators. Unfair courts were installed to try those activities, many of whom are still in the prisons of the political security forces in Sana’a, Whom we demand their immediate and unconditional release.
Dear liberal people of the South…the way of “forgiveness and reconciliation” that was founded and embraced by the liberals of the South, in Radfan Charity Association in Aden on 13 January 2006 as a national umbrella for all Southerners including those participating with the 7th July authority as a result of the harsh living and political circumstances, only reflects the tolerant national spirit of the South and their immense ability to turn the page of the painful past with all its tragedies forever. This will establish a new era in the history of our beloved South, where love, harmony and tolerance are the foundations.
An era where our country is for all of its sons, this methodology will open the gates wide-open to all members of the Southern brave society, Sheikhs, Sultans, Respected people, Religious Scholars, Intellectuals, Journalists, Businessmen, Students, Laborers, Skilled workers, men and women, young and old, to effectively participate in the peaceful national struggle that aims at the disposal of the occupation and achieving independence and restoring our national state..
I call upon all Southerners who are working with the occupying authorities, to put the interest of the South above their own interests and to join the caravan of liberation of the South…the way of “forgiveness and reconciliation” draws a bright headline for the new South, the essence of which is that the South is for all of its citizens from all cross-sections of society. The time of elimination and exclusion and assuming custody over the homeland and people have long gone. The destiny of the nation and the shape of its political structure will be in the hands of the Southerners alone, after the will of Almighty God.
Dear Southerners inside our country and outside it…we are calling upon you today to stand united in the epic of our peaceful struggle and hang on to it and to not deviate away from it by anyway that could serve the occupier or prolong the occupation period…it is in my personal capacity and on behalf of my colleagues in the pre-unification authority, who stand today by their people, to offer my apology to the great people of the South for all the harm that have been inflicted upon them in the past periods due to circumstances and global political factors beyond our wills and wishes.
It is my great honor to accept this responsibility as a national duty and giving my word to be in the front lines of our peaceful revolution towards our libration and independence.Giving in all the party membership because our homeland is bigger than any political party. i promise you that my role political will be only during the libration phase and I will hand in the banner to the young southerners generations and I will take my place within the general public offering my advice whenever it is needed.
In this historical occasion… I direct my call to all the southerners groups and firms and the political figures outside the homeland to hold a counseling meetings to come out with a unite vision and policies to help straighten the southern lines. And to accelerate the libration day for our beloved home. And I would like to give my blessing and content for all the southerner parties who have united their visions in the country wishing it would be extended with the needs of the next stage of our struggle
It is very important to make a brotherly and honest plea to all the Arab leaders their majesties and highnesses in the Arab world and the friends and all over the world and calling the brothers in Sana’a to use the wisdom and logical since, to withdraw their forces from the south and to hand in our state to its own people in a peaceful and brotherly process under an international and regional patronage to prevent any bloodshed, taking the experience of the late leader JAMAL A. Naser as an example when he disengaged the unity with Syria to prevent bloodsheds and to maintain the brotherly relationships between the brothers in Egypt and Syria. Imposing the unification by force at the expense of the other partner cannot last forever and our nation will
Not accept it anymore, and it cannot be a stability factor as Sanaa regimes declares every now and then.
I would like to emphasize to everyone that we are free great nation with a historical civilization and our destiny, identity and future cannot be destined by lies and fake excuse made by the regime every now and then, especially the bordering agreements which have been signed with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman, and recalling every one that our nation is capable to build and maintain our civilized and sovereign state with the inheritance of its historical experience and civilization and that would be a peace and stability factor in the region and the world, based on the respect of the of the international law and treaties and the respect of the democratic rules and the principle of the power sharing, and the respect of the freedom of expression and press, and to fight the corruption and terrorism with all its sorts and shapes. I would like to emphasize that all the attempts made by Sana’a regime to stick the terrorist nature to our peaceful revolution is a pack
Of lies, but it is being well known to everyone that the industry of terrorism is part of Sana’a regime.
At the end I have no other choice than to bow as a respect for all the martyrs of our peaceful revolution who fill down in the battles of dignity to regain their raped homeland. I would like to throw the attention of all the human rights organization and the international bodies to play its rules to put an end to the dictatorship of Sana’a regime and to stop them killing our people in the south And to stop terrorizing the aggrieved independent news paper (AL-AYYAM)
As believe in all the principles of devotion and loyalty I would like to thank his majesty the sultanate of Oman sultan Qabous Ben Saied and the Omani people for all their kindness and generosity for their brotherly feeling and hosting me all these years in there noble homeland.
Long life eternity to our martyrs… Long life to our beloved homeland of the south and our great nation.
Thank you very much.