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In the eyes of readers a newspaper article is like a piece of fresh croissant taken with a cup of hot coffee, irrespective what the person is reading — a newspaper or an e-media. Reading the article, in which the writer has put concerted mental efforts, begin like the first sip of coffee until the idea of the writer is understood.
When a writer begins the journey of writing an article, he could end up being engrossed in it for a full day or even a week, depending on the subject, the ideas, incident or the intended meaning he wants to put across.
This is in addition to the condition or the writer as mentioned earlier. On an average it takes about three minutes of your time to read an article, while every minute costs the writer hours of efforts.
To be honest, as a prolific columnist, I gather several footnotes or ideas for future articles since I may need to develop ideas from them later. Therefore, based on my humble experience from the published articles, an idea is the nucleus of an article and it is the most essential aspect. The first line leads you to the rest of the article.
Here I am talking about a serious article unmindful of its quality from the aspect of writing, language and others. Do you know that articles of sarcastic nature are the most difficult, who knows better than Mahmoud Al-Sa’adani whose memory was blessed writing as if he was breathing in the manner at which he was producing rare alphabets easily with a kind of artistry that nobody else possessed.
After few years of writing newspaper articles, it became obvious that it is the most difficult profession. Although journalism is majestic, it is at the same the fastest way to prison!
Before I started writing articles, I was reading with awe articles written by literary icons such as Mustafa Lutfi Al-Manflouti and Mustafa Sadeq Al-Rafi’e. I used to believe that no other person could write like them, so when I wrote articles I compared my articles to theirs in terms of ideology, methodology, organization and appropriate use of words. Honestly speaking, after every few minutes I would tear the paper to bits and dump them in the nearest dustbin.
The reason is that the write-ups were far below my aspiration. The first mistake I made was comparing my articles with those of great writers, so it delayed me from publishing my articles for several years since I was specific about the quality of whatever I wrote. I do not believe that I have achieved much of my aspiration, but I will keep trying.
I tried to write captivating articles but it dawned on me that after Al-Sa’adani and Ja’afar Abbas it is difficult to write such complicated articles. There could be efforts to write awesome articles like Ghazi Al-Qusaibi, yet it is below the level of Al-Sa’adani. I do not have the right to evaluate those intellectuals whose level I might have not attained, but I am only expressing my opinion as a simple reader and a humble writer.
When it comes to the ‘home front’ writing on subjects such as politics, writers face some problems that are reflected in the margin of freedom which has fallen below the earlier standard, while social relations also play a vital role.
It is also important for a writer to be well read about an issue before criticizing someone to avoid causing injustice to anybody and feeling sorry later on.
When you criticize someone, you should have concrete proof because injustice amounts to darkness, especially in such a situation. Steer clear of critical issues due to inadequate information and it is difficult to gather information, so writers should avoid issues which they are ignorant about, because writing is a trust and conscience before any other consideration.
Writing about international politics is analyzing and commenting on reports most of which are meant to criticize somebody. It is far easier to gather information about international incidents than the local terrain. As I have mentioned earlier concerning writing about international politics, I am supposed to be commenting about incidents that have turned Yemen topsy-turvy and the efforts exerted by the Arab coalition to control the situation.
However, it is unfortunate that I do not have any reliable information about what is happening in Sana’a. It is also glaring that the scarce information that is emerging is deliberate, while it has become clear that the joint military efforts exerted by the coalition forces and the army supporting President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi are not in a good condition.
This is the reason why it took a long time before they could control that significant territory, which is very important to determine what will happen in Yemen in the near future.
It seems the situation will remain an issue between the coalition forces and the resistance on one hand and between forces loyal to Saleh and the Houthis on the other, until, God knows when it will be possible to hold the Geneva dialogue.
I do not wish to take much of your time, but writing has a special pleasure the same way reading is, so I would have wished to be a writer if I were not one. I will leave you to comprehend these simple words like humility of its writer.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi