SHAFAQNA – Today silence has become more than a war crime. Today silence has become more than just the manifestation of our egocentrism and selfishness. Today silence has enabled, empowered and shielded oppressors and tyrants.
Today I’m hoping that silence at last will be broken.
Before I begin telling you what your silence bought, I would very much like you to take a breath, and appreciate the severity of the situation in Yemen.
I urge you to remember that as officials, politicians and other bodies debate Yemen, and the suffering which has befallen this impoverished nation of southern Arabia, lives are being lost, communities are being obliterated, and a people is being starved.
Those are the crimes, and the heinous barbaric atrocities we have all failed to stop for we lack political courage. Not only have we lacked political courage, but we have failed in our humanity to acknowledge the abomination which Yemen has had to battle against since March 2015.
Before I begin to speak to you about Yemen humanitarian crisis, allow me to teach you Yemen’s pain. Allow me to open a window into the hell we have all collectively contributed to, for we have lacked courage, determination, and humanity.
A people was made to starve, and you, we, all of us, argued legal technicalities and realpolitik.
As bombs have rained and poisonous chemical filled the air, you, we, all of us, have turned away to avoid the shame of our collective apathy!
We cannot look away anymore. Looking away today equates to the most despicable of war crimes since it offers immunity to the very brutes we ought to cast out!
Yemen let it be known has suffered the intolerable cruelty NOT of Saudi Arabia, but the diseased regime which sits on its throne.
Yemen let it be known is being murdered in cold blood by the ignominy of Wahhabism for a people chose to uphold religious and political pluralism as the cornerstone of its democratic dream.
Yemen let it be known has risen a Resistance in multicolour for such is the nature, and make-up of its Society. Yemen cannot be reduced any longer to one tribal faction. It is NOT a political or a religious statement to resist Riyadh’s invasion – it is Yemen’s right to stand free and rise independent in the face of imperialism.
It is Yemen’s right to exercise self-defense!
It is Yemen’s right to exercise Resistance!
Will you deny Yemen what you have chosen for yourself?
Will you deny Yemen’s life and dignity, when you demand both for yourself?
Will you turn away as humanity cry out? I, will not!
I stand here before you ashamed of our collective impotence to shine a light in the face of the most vicious of darkness.
I stand here before you ashamed for I do not know how best to convey the pain of a people I have learn to cherish, respect and admire.
Yemen has taught us a lesson in resistance I pray you will heed.
Too few have thus far answered Yemen’s call – too few still have not realised that Yemen is only the first domino to fall to Saudi Arabia’s military pursuit.
I now must apologise for I’m about to reveal a few truths you will likely find difficult to acknowledge, let alone stomach.
For the past 18 months the world has played deaf to the tears of a nation over 10, 300 lives have been forfeited, 3,000 children were slain, and 6 million souls were displaced. Those numbers are not official and yet they reflect a reality you have denied for it speaks of your shame.
Tens of thousands lie now injured, thousands in agony still …
2 million children face imminent death as famine ravages them. Mothers have watched helpless as death encircles their children, fathers have stood powerless as their loved ones have fallen to the canons of al-Saud for their prayers rose in rejection of Wahhabism.
As poisonous gas still fills Yemen’s lungs can you not hear the sound of your silence?
As cluster bombs explodes over communities, perverse and sinister, can you not hear your resounding shame?
Your silence is Yemen’s tombstone.
Your silence has many names, all of which were once Yemen’s sons and daughters.
Learn their names for their lives you sold out to war capitalism. Learn their names, and mourn for we have allowed tyranny to reign again.
Never again you said and still you turned away!
Never again you said and still you walked away!
Yemen’s civil infrastructures have been obliterated.
Yemen’s civil institutions have been set fire to.
Yemen’s political right to self-determination has been labelled a rebellion.
Yemen’s life has been forfeited.
Yemen’s honour has been denied and its many faiths called to be surrendered to the repression of Wahhabism.
Yes, before Brutality Yemen has risen a tide, and in its sons and daughters entrusted its future.
Yemen’s future is its own to forge, it is our duty to defend it.
Will you break your silence now?
By Catherine Shakdam for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies – This article was also published in the Huffington Post