Yemenis' Last Glimmer of Hope

Khalid Al-Karimi

People in Yemen have been glued to news regarding the peace talks between the country warring sides in Kuwait. They have nothing to offer except sincere prayers and calls for the negotiators to return to Yemen with peace and peace only.

Optimism is strong this time, but pessimism also has a place particularly when people remember the previous peace talks in the Geneva that reached a dead end.

Currently, Yemen stands in ruins nowadays, and persisting to ruin it is absolutely catastrophic. The Yemeni people are crying out for a consensus. Once consensus dominates, the country will be closer to stability and recovery. The Kuwait peace talks have been called the final chance for rescuing Yemen. This is correct. Further wars would make the country uncontrollable. The growing spread of the militants is making Yemen a breeding ground for terror. Now is the time for seeing the reason. Time is ripe for stabilizing Yemen. The Yemeni people merit to lead a dignified and prosperous life.

It has been almost one week since the kickoff of the Yemen UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait. Reports have been varying. Some say the negotiators are on good terms, and others state they are at loggerheads. It is better to terminate disputes on the table than to shed blood on the battlefield.

Thus far, our hopes have not been shattered. Hopes will only vanish when the two parties head to the airport in Kuwait, leaving for Yemen or Riyadh empty-handed.

Social media activists in Yemen have launched a campaign over the past five days, urging the representatives of Yemen warring sides in Kuwait to come back to Yemen with peace. Yemenis are thirsty for peace. Yemenis are not need of life basics only, but they are also hungry for stability.

The one-year war has claimed seven thousand lives, according to the UN estimates. The war also has wounded about 35000 besides displacing millions others. This tragedy has to stop. Violence has to cease.

Pondering over this misery, the negotiators should have realized that one-side winning is unattainable. However, they will be all unequivocal winners as well as the nation if they earnestly negotiate for sake of peace, not for the purpose for narrow-minded political interests and war tactics. Blood of Yemeni innocent people is more precious than any other interests. Do not these negotiators remember they do not stand for their parties only, not for the entire impoverished nation? If they care about the grass roots, they would not opt for bloody violence to resolve their disputes.

Peace matters, not the red carpet
When the plane that transported the delegations of the Houthi group and former president Ali Saleh's party touched down in Kuwait city on Thursday, the delegations got off the plane, walking on the red carpet. This sparked a big debate on the Yemeni social media. Pro-government Facebook and twitter users felt it as a shock. According to them, how can the Iran-backed Houthis be received with the red carpet? It has been said the government delegation did not receive the same attention upon their arrival. This is really funny and saddening.

It is funny because the red carpet has turned out a controversial debate. It is saddening that such a trivial matter sparks divides among Yemenis, let alone serious issues. The red carpet should not be an issue. The genuine issues are the millions of people who are famished in the country, the millions of homeless and the thousands of injured.
It does not matter who walked on the red carpet. It does not matter who came to talks on a special plane. Only peace counts.

Obviously, Yemen peace talks are in full swing now. People are waiting for good news and positive sweeping changes. They are waiting to breathe peace and live in safety. If the negotiators help the people satisfy such an urgent need, they would survive all. If not, all are at risk of continuing ferocious war.
Khalid Al-Karimi is a Yemeni scholar at Kerala University, India. He is a former newspaper journalist, Yemen.