I’ve never liked
This time, I walked twice for several hours through the city. It killed my lungs and damaged my hearing, but I saw
A Yemeni who was born and raised in the US once told me that the first time he visited Sanaa, the first thing that came to his mind was: “it is broken, the walls are broken, the streets are broken the windows are broken the street lights are broken.” This is the impression
To complete my cliché visit, I had cliché conversations with taxi drivers. I asked the taxi from the airport about the types and provenance of the food he eats at home. He was 60something, and lives in a shaabi neighborhood not too far from Tahreer. He insisted that everything he buys originates from
He also told me that he eats meat or chicken or
The other taxi driver I talked to -on my way to the airport this time- gave me a reasonably good economic analysis of loans and debts and told me that all the cars you see in the streets (and there are hundreds of thousands of them) were bought on credit. The banks encourage credit, he said because they cannot lose: the police, which works against the people and for the rich, will make sure that either people pay or the cars are taken back and sold again. Anyway the state would bale the banks out. He was in his mid-30s and wore Ray Bans. He had to make fake papers to show that he is a company employee to get a loan to buy his car, which he uses as an unlicensed taxi. He said that he lives reasonably well, and eats everyday while many people he knows are only able to afford one meal a day. He has 3 daughters and the fourth is on the way. And it is God’s will that he does not have boys, and it is God’s will that the rich are sucking the country dry, and it is God’s will that the rich can get good health care and education and that he cannot. And he fears God and does his duties as a good citizen because then God will protect his daughters.
I told him this was a really odd God who keeps him on his toes all the time when He appears to be really lenient with those who steal and rob and exploit people’s misery. He told me I was right, but that it does no do any one any good to think this way, because the rich are powerful and violent and they can break him and thousands like him, and that he is the only earner in his family, and should he disappear like many others, then who will protect his daughters? So, I said, you fear the State and the Rich and do your duties to them so that your daughters are protected. And you fear God and do your duties to him so He protects your daughters. He said yes. So I said: following this logic, the State and the Rich must be God.
Then my phone rang and I had to answer and I think he was pleased that the conversation ended there.