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Suicide Cases Continue to Increase
  Written By: Assma Almasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF)
  Article Date: October 06, 2008 


In the village of Al-Saad, one of the villages of Al-Aboos district in Taiz, 43 locals committed suicide over the last two months, therefore making 2008, by far the most dangerous year, in terms of suicide attempts.

Suicide attempts have increased in 2008, and is feared to keep increasing over the next couple of years due to the pressure on people and the loss of hope for a better future.

According to the yearly study for 2007 conducted by the Ministry of Interior, a total of 465 suicide attempts occurred in 2007, therefore increasing the number greatly comparing to previous years. However, many observers doubt that the governmental sources on suicide attempts are true, and believe that the government is trying cover the increased number of suicide cases in order to remove international eyes from the country.

With the rise in suicide rates in Yemen specifically and the world generally, the World Suicide Prevention Day was announced by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), to be on the 10th of September.

Statistics show that a tragic rise in the number of suicides that took place over the last decade. From 1994-2001, 800 suicidal cases were witnessed. In 2002 alone, nearly 519 suicide cases were reported.

However tragically, in the first half of 2008 alone, over 300 suicide incidents were recorded in Yemen, therefore, making suicide rates reach record marks. Governmental sources clarified that the majority of those who commit suicide were youngsters from both genders.

Dr. Abdullah Mo’amar, Social Science Professor at Sana’a University said that the spread of this phenomenon in Yemen to this extent, especially in the last couple of months is due to the bad financial situation people are going through. He added that when people live under such pressure, ideas such as suicide come to mind.

Mo’amar concluded by saying “family problems are a major reason for its spread, and the effect that foreign movies have on Yemeni citizens. Many foreign movies show suicidal attempts, giving ideas to Yemenis to end all their problems by committing suicide.”

According to a study, the majority of the people committing suicide in Yemen are women. Reasons for it being that way are numerous. A major issue is the extensive work that is being given to young girls residing in villages and rural areas. In return, the young girls are being dealt with in a disrespectful manner. In addition, with the rise in poverty in the country, and the increase of obligations on them, women tend to lean towards suicide in the occurrence of problems.

Numerous suicidal techniques have been used by locals ranging from hanging, burning, or even poisoning themselves.

Nationally, according to governmental sources, the capital Sana’a holds first place among Yemeni cities in the number of suicides as 124 cases were recorded in Sana’a last year. Listing the Yemeni cities according to its numbers of suicide cases are as follow: Aden, Al-Dale’a, Taiz, Hodieda, Abyan, Shabwa, Lahj, Hajja 9, Amran, Hadramout and Ibb.

From a religious point of view, Islam sees suicide as an unlawful action, and promises those who commit suicide entry of hell. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Abdullah, a local preacher in the capital Sana’a, was asked to give reasons for this religious policy and replied, “Islam teaches people the importance of life, and how to use it for the best of humanity. Suicide is forbidden in Islam. If it was allowed, than for every small problem people would resolve to suicide, in result making it a routine for all people who are not successful.”

“In life, you will have good days and bad days, and the beauty of life is to see the good day in the end of the road.”

Throughout history, suicide attempts have been existent for thousands of years now, but never before was it seen as a crisis and an issue of great concern than it is now. It is a behavioral phenomenon in response to certain social circumstances in the past, cases were very limited and people looked at people who commit suicide as wrong. However, one cannot compare the past and its normal way of life, and the changing life today. “Locally, people in Yemen in the past lived in farms and everyone received his daily income from his crops and animals. Now, life has changed and hardships have grown,” said Saleh Ali Al-Shamiri.

Local analysts feel that if serious action is not taken immediately, suicide could end up greater than expected, therefore adding yet another crisis, to a country were problems erupt on a daily basis.

Suicide is one of the world largest public health problems accounting for almost half of all violent deaths every year, as well as economic costs in the billions of dollars. It profoundly affects individuals, families, workplaces, neighborhoods and societies. A WHO report on 2002 revealed that the global rates of suicide tend to increase with age and more among males than females, but there has recently been an alarming increase in suicidal behaviors amongst young people aged 15-25 years, worldwide.

Among countries reporting suicide, the highest rates are found in Eastern Europe and the lowest are found in Latin America, Muslim countries and in a few Asian countries. There is little information on suicide from African countries. According to WHO annual estimates, approximately one million people die from suicide. This represents one death every 40 seconds on average. Furthermore WHO estimates suggest fatalities could rise to 1.5 million by 2020. More lives are lost to suicide than in all wars and homicides.