For those of you who have been to see the film “We are many” and come away with hope, I hate to dash it. When something is successful, then those with power find a way to overcome the problems. And I can see that is how it is with the Saudi attack on Yemen. The killing goes on – it is shocking. Everyone I know in Yemen – and I don’t think they are a special group – is either housing internally displaced people, or are displaced themselves, or sometimes both – my best friend and chosen sister Sameera fled from her home into a small flat, and took in 2 other families, 18 in one very small flat, because otherwise they would have been sleeping in the open. Whole cities have been wiped out – literally they no longer exist. Humanitarian aid is stopped from entering the country by controlling of the seas and airspace – airports and ports have been bombed. Water which is pumped from deep wells is in such short supply. People rush to stand in queues to collect water when for a few minutes every few days power is turned on to pump water, but now they are fighting each other for this precious commodity. There is little fuel for generators, cooking, or for getting away from this hell hole that Yemen has become today. The antiquities and historic sites are included in their targets for bombs – the Qahira Citadel and Old City of Sanaa are two precious UNESCO sites that have been extensively bombed – the Qahira Citadel took 3 days of bombs to bring it to a state of rubble. And the list of ancient buildings and museums demolished extends every day.
If you pretend to be a democracy, and don’t want to bow to public opinion that says no to war, then you find another system. And so it is with this war. A non-democratic country bombs its poor neighbour, and puts out the lies, the same lies we have heard time and again, that this is due to other evil people – in this case, the blame was put on Iran. It was simply not true. There is a bitter civil war in Yemen, and instead of acting as a honest broker, Saudi took advantage, claiming to be supporting one side against the other with the excuse of keeping the evil Iran out (Iran that has not invaded another country for centuries, I may say, and whilst its government is far from perfect, it has more democratic credentials than Saudi) And the media is non existent. We can’t have films of Medea from Code Pink or anyone else calling Saudi princes warmongers. The media would simply not print or broadcast a word. I have spoken to freelance journalists asking why they do not write about Yemen. I have been told that no newspapers or magazines will print anything; in one case a journalist said that he tried to submit to a magazine that had previously accepted everything he wrote, and they turned it down. I write to the broadsheets – nothing. I complain to the BBC only to be told that they are covering it fully. I am shocked, heartbroken, the see this, my cherished jewel of Yemen, destroyed with no-one wiling to tell the story. So spread this around as far as you can. We need to raise public awareness by another means. For historic, beautiful, generous Yemen. For its human population, who are dying and suffering only because it suits those in power.