The bad, the ugly and the unspeakable – War crimes in the Yemen

SHAFAQNA – Following 18 long months of unspoken violence, engineered starvation and one mighty media blackout Yemen’ suffering has risen to the surface – one hot bubbling shame, the one conflict few have dared talked about for fear of financial repercussions.

I realise that truth and honesty are hard commodities to come by, but let’s try them on for size … let’s see if the shoe fits for a second. Let’s see if you can stomach the reality Yemen has had to live under as the world community chose to look away, and argue instead the right of a people to resist oppression.

Yes a school was bombed, and children were butchered. Yes Yemen was violated and scarred beyond the tolerable and the comprehensible … what else is new? Yemen has died a thousand deaths already, and none have come to its rescue.

Yemenis have pleaded, argued and debated for 18 months, calling for inquiries, calling for a humanitarian corridor, calling on the international community to heed the cries of a nation caught in the fires of war – the world answered by way of deafening silence.

As you look on in disgust to the charred bodies of innocent school-children realise that such barbaric attacks have become Yemen daily bread. Since March 25, 2015, when Saudi Arabia unilaterally declared war on Yemen it is an entire nation which has been subjected to unfathomable abuses – so unfathomable in fact that the United Nations had to keep mum to avoid facing to the consequences of such human rights abuses.

Yemen has long been turned into a grand moratorium … you are really late to THAT party.

Forget what you think you know about Yemen! Forget what you have been told, and the justifications which have been thrown at you so that you would not question murder, and call for restraint. Regardless of anyone’s political persuasion, regardless even of what you may think of Yemen’s Resistance movement, or the right of nations to exercise political self-determination, mass murder remains a crime which can bear no excuse, no rationale, and no justification.

Children can never be legitimate targets. Children should never be target … not if we are still serious about the rule of law, not if we are to still stand and call ourselves civilized, not if we are in fact to have a claim on our very humanity.

I speak not here against the Saudi nation, but those, all those who have allowed for Yemen to become a grand military training ground – the land where military contracts are made, the land where the blood of the innocent translates into dollar signs.

By all means be angry at Riyadh for the lead it has rained on Yemen! Be outraged and sickened by one country’s insistence to lay waste another so that it could impose its rule, and its theocratic model against an aspiring republic; but remember those parties which empowered al-Saud military.

Remember those “experts” who sit today in Riyadh’s war rooms as children are sent to the slaughter. Remember whose weapons and military know-how have been spent towards the killing of Yemen.

If Saudi Arabia should be held accountable … not that we are holding our breath, it should not stand alone in the booth of the accused – the United States and the United Kingdom have a lot to answer to. I would actually argue that in this particular case, guilt lies not with those who pulled the trigger (it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting …) but those who provided a steady flow of fire power.

But then again it is in the nature of capitalists to turn a profit … Money they say has no smell. Money they say is and end in itself, and its call should never be denied. Who could in fact refuse the powerful song of al-Saud billions … who indeed?

THIS is the reality of capitalism. The bloodshed you see on your screen is what our democracies bought, and what our world institutions are powerless to denounce. What happens when the bloodshed hits closer to home? What happens when war capitalists decide to train in your back garden and turn your children into target practice?

Silence will muzzle your outrage. Silence and one good dose of political impotency.

We still speak of war crimes as if we could really punish offenders. We speak of Yemen today as if we were serious about offering solace to those in mourning … Yemen should have taught you that our world system is broken.

Actually not broken, but sold-out.

I remember still how quickly UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had to reinstate Saudi Arabia after labelling it a war criminal in its annual Children and Armed Conflict report. I remember how an allegedly impartial party was brought to a standstill after Riyadh threatened to withdraw its financial contributions.

“The report describes horrors no child should have to face,” Ban Ki Moon said in July. “At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs.”

Still we play civilization … still we claim righteous outrage when bloodshed invades our TV screens.

But silence today has a price, we all know that – we simply chose not to face uncomfortable realities. Why? Because admitting to an injustice would force us to enact reparation – and this requires actual courage.

The kind of courage Yemen has demonstrated as the world firmly looked away.

But guilt is not a burden the kingdom should bear alone. Guilt is still more pronounced in London and Washington since it is there, in those corridors of power that Yemeni lives were forfeited.

If cluster bombs were used it is because the US sold them to Riyadh. If Yemen has been starved under a humanitarian blockade it is because the United Nations has allowed it, if children have died it is because British experts signed off on it.

Blaming the kingdom will achieve little by way of reparation, it is our broken institutions which need to be challenged, and redressed. If not, there will many Yemen to cry over in the near future.

By Catherine Shakdam – This article appeared first on RT International

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  1. […] 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. […]

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