Fresh calls for a civil state
The movement aims to establish principles of freedom and justice, with equal opportunities accessible to all Yemeni citizens. It also aims to raise awareness of what constitutes a civil state in the country.
The movement was launched amid effective political deadlock, with the launch itself repeatedly postponed due to the country's tenuous security situation.
Bilquis Al-Lahabi, a pro-democracy protester and founding member, said that the movement did not belong to any particular political current.
“The civil state is a general requirement for Yemenis. It’s the only guarantee for the free expression of opinions,” she told the Yemen Times.
Al-Lahabi is optimistic that the movement will be effective in Yemen. “We hope that many youths will join the movement and unify our aims.”
Commenting on the presence of many women at the event, Al-Lahabi said, “Women are very enthusiastic about the idea. They decided to join the movement after reading its programs and learning of its ideas; moreover, they urge many other women to join the movement.”
The concept of the civil state is still vague for many Yemenis. Some political powers, especially those of Islamists, link the concept to secularism.
“I think that some political currents will boycott the movement, but we will discuss the issue with them,” she said.
“Many Yemenis think that a civil state is a state that isn't ruled by soldiers,” said Al-Lahabi.
Abdul-Ghani Al-Eryani, a prominent political analyst and co-founder of the movement, said during the launch of the movement that it would include businessmen, intellectuals, diplomats and politicians.
“The civil state we seek is one based on principles of freedom, justice, equality and the rule of law,” he said. “We hope that the law will be a respected framework that all institutions and individuals turn to.”
Al-Eryani indicated that the decades-long absence of a civil state in Yemen had exacerbated the country’s problems.
Amin Dirhem, a businessman, told the Yemen Times that the idea of the movement is bright and ambitious. “We hope that the movement will succeed in creating new steps and ideas, with the aim being the country's success,” he said.
Yemenis' guide to a civil state
The Tamkeen Organization for Development (TDF) launched a guide for a post-revolution civil state in Yemen, on Tuesday.
The guide contains the bases for a civil state, including citizenship rights, equality, justice and transparency, to name a few. It defines the civil state as a contractual entity, where people agree on principles, a constitution, and the forms of institutions.
A prominent opposition politician, Dr. Mohammed Al-Mutawakel, said during the event that the groups that want to build a civil state must organize themselves well in order to face off other groups that refuse the very concept.
“It’s time to come together to build a civil state,” said Al-Mutawakel.
The guide aims to raise awareness about the idea of a civil state among Yemenis, according to Al-Gharati. He also called for all NGOs to unify and organize their efforts.
Sallam praised the guide. “Many revolutionaries talk about a civil state, but they have no knowledge about it,” he said. “The term carries a broad range of conceptions.”
He also called for opposition political parties to clarify their ideas of civil state. “We want to revive stagnant water and agree on a single plan.”