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Société civile, associations et pouvoir local au Yémen

 | 
Sarah Ben Nefissa
, 
Maggy Grabundzija
, 
Jean Lambert

English Abstracts

Postscript (abstract)

Jean Lambert

Texte intégral

1The multiplication of non-governmental associations at the end of the nineties in Yemen, accompanied by the Yemeni legislation (law of 2001) represents a major social phenomenon. It is concomitant with the growth of foreign aids directly granted to NGO’s in a “participatory” way. Simultaneously, there is a decentralization process initiated by the State and meant to reinforce the local authorities. The blossoming of new themes such as development, human rights, women promotion and environment is a continuation of a dynamic civil society which distinguished itself during the 20th century by charity action, union and political militancy, cooperative development and a traditional society rich in solidarity mechanisms.

2Without trying to summarize the whole book neither synthesizing it (what Sheila Carapico has done in her conclusive paper), it is necessary to accentuate a few major points which could and should be developed in future research. Many hot questions the activists as well as the researchers are raising concern the contribution that this “new” civil society will be able to make for the development of democracy in Yemen:

31/ Legal constraints imposed to associations are heavy and show a will to control as much as a liberal attitude from the part of the State. Moreover, the multiplication of legislations in this domain seems not to be favorable for the political maturation of civil society. Finally, the absence of hierarchy in the legal norms, as well as the lack of independence of justice does not favor the emergence of an easy environment. Nevertheless, we know that law does not rule everything and that civil society may develop itself independently, like the NGO’s which refuse to register.

42/ The decentralization, which was acted by the 1999 law, tries to answer a legitimate claim of the administrated to enjoy a more accessible administration. Still, it faces a major problem of financing. The potential of social mobilization is great, but there are many blockades on the level of the local notables which tend to monopolize the local power through political alliances at the national level.

53/ Although the professional Unions drew little attention in the Conference, the study of the Journalist’s Syndicate alone shows the huge difficulty to forge a tool for the defense of a professional category’s interests on the national level, probably for political reasons. The case is similar with other professional categories.

64/ Besides these vital problems which have been, however, unable to hinder the existence of the civil society for many years, some socio-political questions, apart from the role of the State, will still arise, aside from the role of the State. For instance the realm of the tribe, which is still very important in Yemen on the political / symbolical level and on the sociological level, must be studied to better understand what will be the interrelations between tribe and civil society: do we consider the tribe’s mode of “primary” kinship solidarity as an obstacle to its integration in the wider frame of civil behavior? And if the tribe makes use of violence which is difficult to accept for civic ideals, does it not hold principles of mediation and reciprocity which may be useful for civil activists? Finally, is its curbing of women’s role intrinsic to its nature? And in this case, is it compatible with a modern civil society?

75/ Finally, two main questions remain, whose answers have been prepared by the previous ones:

  • Is the associative movement a school for democracy? In a situation of economical and social backwardness, is it not possible for the NGO’s to bring a new dimension of social pedagogy and moral example? Thus, they could let society progress without waiting for the solution of the main political issues…

  • Does the associative movement have a real dynamism, an effective potential of social creativity and of political autonomy? Given the existing blockades and the sclerosis of parties, could they not promote democracy by other ways, aside the traditional means of action?

8The researchers must encourage the civil society activists in their struggle, but their duty is also to call them not to forget all these vital questions in their daily action.

Auteur

Director of CEFAS, Sanaa

© Centre français d’archéologie et de sciences sociales, 2008

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540