WASHINGTON: A U.N. Special Envoy arrived in Washington today to help a country on the brink of chaos. The delegation, composed of Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen Jamal Benomar, along with Yemeni experts and tribal leaders, will share their knowledge on dialogue and conflict resolution.
“Given our ongoing support to Yemen, we believe it’s only fair that the Yemenis help us with their technical assistance—that we in fact paid for” State Department Deputy Secretary John Smith said.
The Obama administration recently emerged from a 16 day-long government shutdown that started after Congress failed to enact 2014's fiscal legislation. During the shutdown—the third longest in U.S. history—about 800,000 federal employees were indefinitely furloughed, another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates, and many services such as post offices and park services were suspended or curtailed. Analysts at IHS Global Insight calculated that the shutdown knocked $300 million a day off US economic output.
Based on Yemen’s successful National Dialogue process, the Yemeni delegation will train American officials on how to create an inclusive negociation process that engages both Democrats and Republicans, in addition to representatives from the Texas Nationalist Movement and the Alaskan Independent party, in an intense and long discussion on important topics. The main issues to be discussed will include healthcare, gun control, military spending, women’s rights, and also unresolved historic grievances threatening the unity of the country since the civil war between the north and the south in the 19th century.
Given the bleak economic conditions of the U.S. today, it is highly likely that the U.N. will secure a trust fund to support the Yemeni-backed U.S. national dialogue process. “Don’t bother raising funds from your own budget, the U.N. will gladly do it for you” said Ahmed Al-Ahmed, a member of the Yemeni delegation to Secretary Smith. “You obviously will not resolve the deep issues, just make it look like you will,” he added.
Based on Yemen’s successful National Dialogue process, the Yemeni delegation will train American officials to create an inclusive negociation process that engages both Democrats and Republicans.
During the shutdown, many US citizens felt stuck in a catch-22 situation between seemingly irreconcilable parties—a typical Yemeni situation. The tension resulted in a number of unsettling events, including the self-immolation of a man at a mall in Washington D.C., and the killing of an unarmed mother suffering from postpartum depression after she tried to ram the White House gates with her car.
Known for their expertise in handling nonsensical violent outbursts, the Yemeni tribal experts will also train US community leaders on how to channel overflowing energies by creating commissions tasked with solving problems generated by previous comissions. The endless loop is intended to leave every hothead on his knees—and the community safe.
Numerous parts of Yemen have long relied on tribal law to manage conflicts, preserve order, security and functioning administrations in areas free of governmental presence. Tribal management textbooks will be widely distributed in select American neighborhoods to prepare the populace to react in case they are hit by a new government shutdown.
However, the biggest inter-partisan conflict in the US—and indeed, the most serious issue in the country—remains arms proliferation, the Yemeni experts stated, nodding in sorrow. The U.S. has the highest number of guns per capita in the world, and is home to regular mass shootings that leave tens of innocents down. The UN-Secretary general is considering the formation of a special disarmament commission that should be sent to Washington soon. This one will be composed of Libyan experts.
* Atiaf Alwazir is a Yemeni blogger based in Sana'a. A version of this satire piece first appeared on her blog Woman from Yemen.