Activists speak out against the silent war on Yemen.

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“After 10 months of a brutal war under the pretext of saving Yemen [that was] hoped would be a quick operation ‘Decisive Storm’, it’s quite obvious it neither is short, likely attainable, nor is decisive. Millions of civilians are now paying dearly for the dangerous illusion of a decisive win and Yemen is in the worst humanitarian catastrophe it has ever witnessed.”

These are the words of Hisham Al-Omeisy, a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a, who reports bombs being dropped on the city every single day while people flee in terror.

Since the beginning of this brutal siege, there has been a reported 5,878 killed and an additional 27,867 wounded according to the United Nations as of July, 2015. The attacks have not stopped since then, in fact, and have since left 21.2 million people without access to “life-sustaining commodities or basic services.” The context of this conflict spans back many years and is, simply put, a clash between those supporting President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and opposition groups supporting the Houthi rebel movement.The situation is far more complicated in its full detail. However, Omeisy says that most Yemenis trust neither side and are held hostage by this conflict. 

The perpetrator, as many are aware, is the Saudi-led coalition that is ravaging Sana’a. Saudi Arabia has been continuing its strategy of starving Yemen along with the constant bombings both in civilian populated areas and on the general infrastructure. By the latest count, some 80% of the country is in need of humanitarian.

An American-Yemeni (who will remain anonymous) said this to Al-Masdar:

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“The blockade on Yemen strangles the poorest because Yemen imports nearly 90% of its food. Saudi promised to let aid in. They haven’t. Saudi pledged $274 million to fulfill the initial UN need at the start of a so called ‘2 week war’ and they haven’t committed. Saudi pledged the entire amount to hinder other nations from pledging to control money and aid. They later doubled the pledge to $548 million and still haven’t delivered even though it falls short of the billions now needed. 

The 10% of food produced in Yemen is now being destroyed by Saudi with attacks on farms, markets, wheat silos, dairy factories, meat markets, chicken farms, actual herds of animals, water bottling facilities, etc. 

In addition, Saudi has destroyed communications and the electric grid. They took over all TV stations and turned them into Saudi propaganda while keeping the same logos.”

The Saudi-led coalition has made statements that it will limit the amount of civilian deaths during these attacks, but it seems that there is no true end in sight. The United Nations has called on the coalition to re-exam their rules of engagement after many, many flagrant violations of international law including this instance. Neither the issue of bombings or the barring of aid seems to be having any reconciliation as of yet. However, activists around the world are raising awareness for their own state’s involvement in this siege.

We are trying to focus on war crimes, violations of international law, and the complacency of many other countries in this silent war,” as one activist stated to Al-Masdar. There has been a significant push to shift the narrative in a new direction that would force the financiers of this siege to answer to the public. For example, these accusations against David CameronMother Jones has also been reporting on the war heavily from an American standpoint.

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The many cries against the war go to show the power that the public has, if they choose, in shaping the narrative. This is especially relevant to the present age where social media serves as a platform for many around the world to broadcast atrocities committed right in their own backyards and garner attention from an international coalition of activists.

Activists have been tweeting with the hashtag #TweetStormForYemen during allotted times. The next scheduled time is February 3rd from 17:00-20:00 Sana’a time. 

 

 

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Brad Blankenship is an American student of philosophy and political science as well as the director of Al-Masdar's podcast.