What do we want from the National Dialogue?
The catch is that hardly anyone among the public has read it even though it is available and accessible. In fact, even those claiming to be involved in politics and in the transition have not taken the time to read about it and to understand it.
Media gossip and conflicting political statements do not help either. Aggressive bias reporting has contributed to confusing the public about the National Dialogue and what it should expect from it.
As Yemenis, we learned during the last few years that demonstrations and street protests are a sure way to draw attention to our cause. This has been overused or misused at times, creating not only traffic problems and disturbances of peace but also the political complications and disheartening of the decision makers.
I had the opportunity to be in close contact with the president and high-level decision makers through my work with the National Dialogue Contact Committee. And I can tell that he and many officials are really working hard toward making a difference and carrying the country through a peaceful transition.
Yemenis need to put some effort into understanding what has been done, whether in terms of the transitional plan or in terms of the implementation mechanism, as well as what they want from the dialogue.
The Gulf Initiative implementation mechanism talks about democracy, inclusiveness, peaceful transition, security and the vision for a new Yemen. That is what we should focus on—not the disagreements of the past. We should not carry our historical baggage into the dialogue without even as much as understanding its objective and its structure.
By doing this much, we will help the decision makers do their job and keep them in line if and when they go astray—constructively—not through random protests or security incidents.