FOR what is known as the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, it’s important that people in developed nations are educated about the destruction happening in the Middle East.
It is now becoming common knowledge that we are in a race against time to save Yemen. Months ago the news was reporting that the country was on the brink of famine. Now, Covid-19 is quietly sweeping through a country with 400,000 children already suffering from life-threatening malnutrition on any given day. As schools are being closed, more and more children are being robbed of their futures.
It is no secret however that many Western countries have been complicit in the crisis in Yemen, including the UK.
The conflict dates back to 2011 in the Arab Spring when the country’s dictatorial president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was forced to hand over power to his delegate, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. This change was supposed to bring stability to Yemen, but President Hadi struggled with many problems such as: militant attacks, corruption, food insecurity, and continuing loyalty of many military officers to Saleh.
The fighting began back in 2014 when the Houthi Shia Muslim rebel movement took control of northern Saada province and neighbouring areas. The Houthis went on to take the capital Sanaa, which forced Mr Hadi into exile abroad.
The war escalated greatly in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states – all backed by the US, UK, and France – began air strikes against the Houthis, with the aim of re-building Mr Hadi’s government.
Over 100,000 lives have been claimed in Yemen since the conflict escalated in 2015, including over 12,000 civilians. More than 85,000 have also died due to the ongoing starvation.
Back in 2016, Jeremy Corbyn asked at the Prime Minister’s Questions if it was time that Britain stopped its sales of lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia, advocating that we aid the crisis. And as Theresa May tried to reassure that the UK was doing everything it can to provide humanitarian aid, one could only think about the hypocrisy of sending aid to a country we are simultaneously helping others to destroy today.
Since this, very little has been reported on about the Yemen crisis.
Today, our children go through high school learning about terrorist attacks on Western nations i.e. 9/11, and the pain and suffering it caused people at the time. Yet we fail to educate about the slaughtering of innocent people, including children, that goes in the Middle East, where if you aren’t killed by a bomb, you die of starvation.
As war becomes more normalised in our society, and the pictures of dying children loses its shock value, we see the Middle East being reported on less and less by the media.
Regardless of where you are from, every parent mourns the loss of their child, and every child deserves a bright future.
Therefore, in light of recent events such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic (which is affecting all of us), we cannot allow Yemen to become the forgotten crisis.
Read more about the Yemen crisis and how you can help here.
Featured Image Credit: Sana’a Centre for Strategic Studies