Friday, March 25, 2011

Yemen's dictator is treed up his pedestal

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, has said he would be willing to hand over power to “safe hands”, as tens of thousands of pro- and anti-government protesters rallied in Sana’a, the capital.

“We don’t want power but we need to hand power over to safe hands, not to sick, resentful or corrupt hands,” Mr Saleh said in an address shown on state television on Friday.

Too late for that. After forty years of dictatorship, however mild or even benign, that whole country is lined up in support or opposition to him personally. There is no "loyal opposition", since there is no politics. Wracked by civil war, infested with al-Qaeda, and as ill-disposed to democracy as all other Arab states, Yemen will probably not become Luxembourg anytime soon. Still and all, as sure as gravity makes apples fall, we are seeing the manifestation of John F. Kennedy's precept:

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."