SHAFAQNA – As we prepare to pull the curtain on 2016 I believe we ought to reflect on what it is we are leaving behind, so that maybe we would learn not to repeat in our errors, misgivings and otherwise laggings.
By all accounts 2016 has been a year of bloodshed, terror and suffocating violence – whether political, or religious; hatred, bigotry and prejudices have ruled over world affairs, tyrannical in their radicalism, vindictive in their self-righteousness.
But for all the fury armies have deployed, for all the blood and the destruction which befell nations, silence has been the one constant that has engulfed Yemen, and in darkness plunged a people whose only fault was to declare itself free.
It is freedom Yemen has cried from its mountains and its valleys! It is Yemen’s freedom the world has denied so that a house, that of al-Saud could add another capital to its dominion.
It is national sovereignty and religious freedom Yemen has raised as a shield against the miasmas of fanaticism, and still the world turned away arguing political restoration over popular legitimacy.
For all the ink which has flowed on Syria calling on the world nations to speak against civilians’ deaths and communities’ tragic fate for it fitted a particular political narrative, not a whisper has been spared on Yemen.
While Britain has decried Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged war crimes – which crimes have yet to be documented and asserted, silence has deafened over Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s planned genocide against the Yemenis.
Much can be said of the hypocrisy of nations …
Much remains to be said over those powers which offer not just cover but lead to those who wish to dispense death as a liberation over nations. Saudi Arabia it needs to be emphasized has been a grand dispenser of death – a theo-fascist reaper whose ambition has been to drown people in war so that their cries for freedom and democracy would be muffled in blood.
Yemen remains our greatest shame since we have failed to hear the cries of the innocent … By the end of November 2016, the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies asserted that Yemen’s war claimed 15,000 civilians, notwithstanding those lives that were forfeited in battles, notwithstanding those tens of thousands of souls which were spent in famine and sickness.
Yemen, like its institutions has been exploded, ripped apart and set fire to so that the kingdom would erect its Wahhabist will, and in fanaticism bind nations. But Yemen has resisted …
As I have written many times already Yemen has resisted a grand Resistance … a resistance rooted in the belief that a people belongs to the land that carries its forefathers and saw rise a civilization of inspiring beauty.
Yemen you must learn, speak of Time itself. Immovable and true under Arabia’s sky, Yemen echoes of humanity. Its lands, its shores, its mountains saw many sunrises … the sun has yet to set on its jewel of Southern Arabia.
That of course your media and your heads of state will never admit. How could they when wanton murder and hysterical air raids have fatten Britain’s bottom line and allowed for the Crown’s military complex to thrive under the influx of Saudi petrodollars.
Greed today has become a euphemism for genocide.
How much more before war capitalists can deem themselves satisfied?
How many more lies will have to be weaved before Yemen’s pain can be told and truths laid bare as to the nature of this conflict?
For nearly two years this one country of southern Arabia has suffered an onslaught of such violence that its very national identity has been bathed in the blood of the innocent.
As world nations have gathered in support of Saudi Arabia Yemen was earmarked for annihilation under an unlawful humanitarian blockade, courtesy of the United Nations … still it is Yemen’s Resistance Movement that was accused of betrayal.
Still the world cries out “famine” as if forgetting that it was its institutions that engineered such a plague.
In late October Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council that more than 21 million Yemenis — 80 percent of the population — are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.
“Over 2 million people are malnourished nationwide, including 370,000 children who are severely malnourished,” O’Brien said. That is an increase of 65 percent compared to the year before the conflict began.
Those numbers are but a pale reflection of reality. Reality is too unpalatable for any of you to bear … I should know having witnessed first-hand what it is to live under-siege.
For the United Nations to decry Yemen’s suffering while manning the blockade reeks of hypocrisy and moral dissonance.
Rebellion they all say … betrayal they all have called in support of Riyadh’s hegemonic ambitions.
But can there be betrayal in self-defence? Can there ever be betrayal when one is defending one’s land, one’s sovereign right, and one’s inherent right to political self-determination?
Would it not be more accurate to say that if betrayal indeed there is, it has come by way of London, Washington, Paris … since it is they, that sold the kingdom its weapons of war?
Was it not London that sold Riyadh cluster bombs and chemical agents?
Was it not Britain’s war experts who sat in the kingdom’s war room and from behind a computer screen played life and death with women and children?
Hospitals, funeral halls, mosques, churches, temples, museums, market places, hotels, UNESCO protected sites, homes, farms, arable lands, power grids, factories …. Everything that once stood is now in rubbles.
And still Britain’s government plays political deflection. Before Yemen’s blood Sir Michael Fallon rationalised murder as a necessary evil. He argued before Parliament this December that cluster bombs were used against “legitimate military targets” and therefore did not constitute any real violation of international law.
In other words, murder is only ever a matter of political perspective.
But truth is not yet dead. There are still voices willing to speak up in denunciation of tyranny, falsehood, manipulation and war capitalism.
A petition was launched in the UK this December so that 2017 would not be spent under the miasmas of unaccountability.
Maybe we ought to support it before we all become the lies our governments have spoken on our behalf.
By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies