SHAFAQNA – If the world has become desensitise to human suffering, there are still crimes so tragic and unnecessary, so violent in nature and abominable in the tragedy they carry, that we cannot help but pause.
Should you have missed it somehow War has held Yemen hostage since March 25th, 2015, a day which saw Saudi Arabia unilaterally move against its impoverished neighbour in the name of “democracy building.”
Yemen’s war you were told then, was a necessary evil, a democratic mean to end a popular movement Riyadh cared little for, since it spoke in negation of its religious extremism – Wahhabism. As Riyadh weaved its narrative the world sat back, gleefully deaf to the cries Yemen let out in its agony.
26 million souls stand today under a humanitarian blockade which has defied humanitarian law … never mind natural law.
I realise that Yemen has become somewhat of a complicated affair as contradicting agendas and narratives have played you against each other, echoing I believe, of the political manipulations we are all subjected to on a daily basis. Today media have become together powerful proxies and extensions of nations’ will – journalism in this mix has lost much of its independence and of course integrity.
Still, there are truths which suffer no contention. Still, I want to believe, there are tales which command our attention for they speak to our humanity.
Yemen here warrants such attention … too many lives have been claimed by the Saudi-led coalition of power for any of us to dare turn away any longer. An excess of 36 nations have collided against Yemen Resistance Movement so that Riyadh could taste political submission, and sit itself atop Arabia a grand Wahhabi empire. 26 million souls have seen their life forfeited so that war capitalists could increase their bottom line.
Regardless of what you may think of this war’s legitimacy, recognise that violence has long overstepped whatever boundaries we can deem acceptable. In a recent interview with George Galloway for RT, Dr Riaz Karim from the Mona Relief Organization exposed Yemen’s humanitarian crisis in all its heinous glory, breaking the very silence media have held on to for fear of upsetting al-Saud powerhouse.
Allow me here to act Yemen’s vessel, and offer a platform to those the world appear to have abandoned.
Let me share with you a father’s despair, Yemen’s tragedy, as its children continue to be claimed to War’s criminal hunger. Her name was Zainab, and she was a daughter of Yemen … she will be remembered as another victim of Riyadh’ s military interventionism.
Zainab’s father, Ibrahim Abdulkarim asked me to speak his daughter’s death to the world, so that maybe his tragedy could prevent another, so that maybe nations would learn to speak peace before they clamour war.
Tragedy struck on July 3rd, 2016 sometime after midnight, as Ibrahim and his family laid fast asleep in the comfort and safety of their home in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. One push of a button, one order given in Riyadh’ war room forfeited Zainab’s life. One choice forever ripped a family apart, leaving but an open wound where there was life, hope, and unadulterated happiness.
“I remember waking up to the screams of my wife. I opened my eyes to utter devastation … my home was not my home anymore. Everywhere I looked, everything I saw was either collapsed or shattered beyond recognition. My wife was calling out for me in agony, half of her body trapped under our now collapsed roof. I realised then that we had been directly hit by a Saudi plane.
I climbed over debris to get to where my wife and daughter were. I could hear in the distance other screams for help … I could not help them, I had to get to my family first, I had to …
I could not see my daughter … my baby girl was drowned under a mountain of debris and I could not get to her.
As I battled to free my wife, to get to my Zainab, volunteers came to our rescue. My son thank God was unharmed … his bedroom was somewhat spared from any direct hit.
Then began an agonizing wait. For every block of cement, every fallen debris I removed from my Zainab there lie another, preventing me from getting to my baby. She was there only a few centimetres away from me but still out of reach.
As my wife began to sob uncontrollably for our daughter, calling on God to spare her innocent life we raced against time … Zainab! I had to save Zainab! My heart, my joy, my little girl, I had to save her and kiss her cheeks again.
My baby laid there in the dark, all alone and I, her father, had failed to protect her!
But then hope came rushing through me, she was in my arms … I was holding her.
We were rushed to hospital … there I lost my Zainab again.
Doctors took her from me. She needs immediate medical attention they told me … I lost my Zainab on that awful night.
One bomb and my baby was gone! With one bomb they took my heart, and murdered my soul. With one bomb they took the life I was given to cherish.”
How many bombs since have fallen onto Yemen? How many Zainab have the kingdom claimed since while the world kept mum? Too many I would say! Too many for us to think ourselves innocent still.
Zainab was stolen away from her loving family. A father now cries for his one-year old daughter was sacrificed to the pyres of a war which has been as unlawful as it has been cruel.
Ibrahim now wants justice. A father wants answers …
“I am looking for justice, I am looking for proof that justice is not a word reserved to the rich and the powerful. Who will answer the voice of the oppressed and the poor? Who will speak for the victims of Yemen’s war?
You speak of democracy and justice but you have participated in the murder of my child. You debate and you argue with us political legitimacy and rights but you have trampled over ours. You say to be righteous in your stance and still you came for my Zainab and her life you forfeited.”
26 million people face Zainab’s fate.
By Catherine Shakdam for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies – This article was published first in the Huffington Post.