Reality In The Land of Yemen

Location: Aden, Yemen

Weather: 99 degrees.

Pause whatever your doing and focus on this. Use imagery in your heads.

Its 12:00 P.M, the heat is beyond belief. I sit in a Land Cruiser but with the comfort of an AC. See, the only thing is, those people that are sweating and are under the heat think differently, or more like- feel different, then where I sit. I have cold air blowing to my face, when they don’t. Instead they have hot air that is blowing to their face.

What do I see? The question is, what do I not see. Everything here is deteriorating. When I say everything, I mean everything. Heck- I think animals are having a taste of the bad situation in Yemen as well.

Traffic is in most areas now, you tend to get curios on why some lanes aren’t moving at all. Just think of it like this. Imagine a four lane highway. Two lanes are basically not moving, while the other two lanes are.

While I do take the lane that is moving, I look to my right and see cars, cars and more cars as I go. Waiting for what you say? Waiting for gas/diesel. I say it stretches for about one to two miles long. How long will it possibly take to reach the end point? Just park your car and bring a pillow. Make yourself comfortable. Overnight is how long you will stay. But, this is only if you wake up real early in the morning, around 6 AM.

Thats not all. Once you reach the gas station, you have to fight your way to the pump because other people from the lane on the left side is merging into the right lane. Claiming they have been there first. Thats non-sense to me. There are two lanes and two sections at the gas station. Well, sometimes its only one section- so thats why some fight.

These fights arent just typical arguments. Its arguments literally on top of their cars! Imagine twenty people on top of their cars looking like they are going to kill each other at any moment! In some cases, they do. Heard a man tell me that three people died in a specific gas station due to fights.

On the other side of the gas station, there is less traffic. The only thing is- You see people with containers, big containers that people put gas in. For what? To sell. The price jumps to double the amount of the gas on the side, where the gas station is.

Basically, on the left side of the road, you have people selling gas- from their own cars after they stayed on the line over night and selling it for double or even triple. And on the right side, you see more than a hundred cars on line as long as your sight can go. So, which one? What to do?

I compare the two sides as rich and poor. Not poor in terms, but poor as in, cant afford more than one Riyal extra for gas. IF you have a lot of money, go to the black market. Wait! Be careful, the black market sells you gas with the mixture of water! Thus, ruining your cars engine. Well, I wont say ALL the people in the black market do that, but I’ve seen some.

One thing that I did realize is, if a women drives, they let the women drive all the way to the gas station and pump gas without waiting at all. Its out of respect because the women can not wait in line and stay overnight in her car. So, I recommend all those women and/or wives to take their cars or husbands cars and get gas.

Aside from the gas issues. What about the people? How are they dealing with this? Well, ill tell you something. They are so frustrated. In fact, I went into a Taxi and while the guy was driving us home,  we see these lines for gas. He then gave a huge sigh. We looked at him and he then told us, ”we are in a bad stage.”

Bad stage? Come on- bad cant describe it. This stage cant be described. He then went off and said ”why couldnt he just leave already? Why cant he and his sons go! They are gripping us from our throats!” Oh no, he didn’t stop there, he continued ” Why is this country under all this because of our selfish president? His family doesn’t own this country.” He then prayed against him and his family.

So, while he was complaining you hear peoples voices from the gas station next to us, arguing for gas. Isn’t that sad? Isn’t it heart breaking. That was really something. Everything was just horrible at that moment. I dont blame the taxi driver though. He has the right to say whatever he wants.

What else do I see? I can go on and on. But, I see the security slowly dyeing out in Yemen. Security as in, when it comes to the old check points and the new ones. The army looks like they are slowly going to fall and just call it quits! They look horrible. Skimpy and quiet frankly, they look annoyed. Some don’t even look like they are in any form of the army or police.

Some just do checkpoints like routines. Not fully intending on what they are supposed to do. Most of the time they just move the cars along. I find it quiet funny yet sad. Funny in some way because they aren’t really paying attention, unless its something suspicious. Sad in a way because our security is on the brink.

They look so frustrated but they have to deal with it and continue these ‘routines’. Hey, it is what it is. Its your job! At least check cars in a serious manner. I don’t speak on behalf of all the check points in Aden. Just some.

Before this uprising had happened in Yemen, I used to love being around police and army. Felt so protected. They were all smiley and happy. Now, I fear them! Every time I come near them I think ”God, what in the world has happened to these people!” They are very serious and not friendly looking at all. No more smiles.

I do, still smile no matter what. Hoping they will smile back. Some do, some don’t. Others, have the ‘Im higher than you people’ type of attitude. The traffic police haven’t lost their spirits though. Those people have a good type of personality. Even though there are barely anymore of the traffic police, every time I see one, I always throw a smile because they will smile back.

Hope all can just get a image of all that I tried to describe in the country of Yemen.


About Summer Nasser
Blogger, with Yemeni roots based in New York City. Student of Sociology (B.A.) with a focus on the country of Yemen. I would consider myself a student of knowledge.

One Response to Reality In The Land of Yemen

  1. lyudico says:

    You are right and know what you think.
    This blog is great, great photography and attitude. you would like it.
    Young revolution

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