Yemen’s Reconstruction Fund – Pushing back against the war narrative

SHAFAQNA – It is no secret anymore that Yemen has cracked and burnt under the genocidal hand of Saudi Arabia – the grand Wahhabist kingdom of exclusion and all things vengeful.

While figures vary greatly depending on the institution speaking them: until recently the United Nations could only admit to 7,000 deaths, while the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies asserted a tally closer to 15,000 civilian deaths as of November 2015, Yemen has undeniably been bled dry to assuage Riyadh’s hunger.

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 –  and still the world has argued legitimacy.

Western capitals have stood by Riyadh acting a grand exceptional cover to the hysterical blade of Wahhabism so that Resistance could be risen an enemy of mankind and oppression painted as a just liberation.

But there are still those who can and will speak the truth.

There are still a few brave voices willing to cut against and through the grain so that nations would learn to think themselves free on their land and in their traditions.

Make no mistake, with Yemen it is territorial sovereignty Saudi Arabia wants to explode and in Wahhabism carve a new empire of exclusion and theocratic isolation. And though Yemen may exist far from your shores, and certainly away from your TV screens, the impact of this war will be far reaching indeed.

History you must realise will not be kind to those who watch idly as nations were martyred.

If mainstream has yet to come to terms with the reality that is Yemen, I will maintain that Saudi Arabia is in fact guilty of genocide. When a people’s history, culture, faith, and national institutions are being systematically disappeared to the sound of western-made weapons no other word comes to mind.

But for all the world’s apathy and western democratic grand-standing Yemen has worked to assert its right to be, its right to resist, and its right to political self-determination.

Yemen you will find was reborn in its Resistance Movement. Yemen you must learn was set free the second its people united behind the leadership of this one man: Seyyed Abdel Malek al Houthi, for he spoke NOT of personal advancement but national pride.

Whether western capitals recognise his authority or not has little value in the face of unprecedented popular support. Legitimacy we may do well to remember sits with the people not the elite – there lies Yemen’s strength.

Many across the centuries have made the mistake of under-estimating Yemen … one has yet to conquer the land of Yemen and force its sons to take a knee. As Yemenis would say: “the sons of Hamdan only ever bowed to one man: the first Imam of Islam.”

Indeed … for all the lead and persecutions Saudi Arabia has mastered of late, Yemenis have yet to break. It is unlikely they will, it is expected however that they will prevail.

And so Yemen is planning its reconstruction.

Away from the tumult of world politics, world agendas and it needs to be said western greed, Yemen is quietly planning its social renaissance – focused on carving a way that speaks and fits its people rather than buy into the neo-colonial humanitarian complex.

Under the umbrella of Veritas Consulting, independent Yemeni NGOs have come together to draw an accurate humanitarian map of Yemen, and thus approach aid pragmatically, and according to communities’ need so that programs could be tailored around growth, conservation and socio-economic emancipation.

Beyond a simple exercise in social reconstruction, Yemen Reconstruction Fund will reclaim the very ground Riyadh has systematically scorched – religious pluralism.

For Yemen to be restored to its true self, Yemen will need to reclaim its religious pluralism and its independence from Wahhabism. There can be no other way but together!

What the kingdom has sought to disappear, those names al-Saud have ambitioned to forever buried, Yemen Reconstruction Fund will offer a platform upon which to strive.

Freedom cannot come about through the enslavement or negation of others. Freedom can only be achieved through Justice and that, Yemen hungers for most of all.

Dr Riaz Karim, one of Yemen’s greatest humanitarian and co-founder of the Mona Relief Organization – also a partner of Yemen Reconstruction Fund said in an interview: “Yemen’s hope lies must and foremost in its ability to rebuild those institutions Saudi Arabia exploded with its bombs. The real tragedy is not that of war but the systematic negation of a nation’s pride and identity. It must begin and end with the Yemenis. Our goal is to empower, aid, and nurture Yemen back to life. For that of course we will require the support of all our community.

To put it plainly we ambition to reinvent humanitarian aid and offer communities an alternative that fits them and work for them.”




By Catherine Shakdam

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