Conferences for or about Yemen?
It has become sort of fashionable in a way, and even those who have never been to Yemen are somehow overnight becoming experts talking about the complicated details of this country and its problems.
Many times a Yemeni representative is invited to participate in these events. Since most of the events need an English speaker, usually the same faces go in and out of the country talking to foreign audiences, enlightening them about the country.
There are also meetings at the highest levels where heads of states and ministers are meeting to discuss Yemen and what should be done about it. Yemeni ministers have become scarce in the country, since they are most of the time attending those conferences abroad. These days Riyadh is the place to be, and almost every minister or high level official that I know or know of is already warming his or her (mostly his) seat.
I don’t deny the need for such conferences to take place, but it just feels a bit too much, especially that Yemen needs more than talk at this stage. How much strategizing do we need to do before action kicks in?
Also, imagine how much benefit would come to Yemen if such conferences and events take place in the country? How many service oriented businesses would benefit and how many people will find a job, even if temporary, if such events were to take place in Yemen?
If the question is security, then many foreign ministers and Western parliamentarians as well as Gulf diplomats have already been in and out of Yemen.
If the question is time, well, considering the proximity of Riyadh to Sana’a, it should not make that much difference. In fact, instead of taking Yemen’s entire government out of Yemen, it would be more economical and convenient to bring the others in.
It can’t be the cost, because we know that the costs are covered by the host country. After all, we are a poor forsaken country with a huge budget deficit.
These events need to be for Yemen instead of about it. And for God’s sake, enough meetings and let’s get the ball rolling.