Letters of War – Yemen’s voices will be silenced no more

Yemen witnessed this August the most ferocious and barbaric of attacks as Saudi Arabia – the grand oil Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, unleashed hell on the impoverished nation, to better break a people’s drive, and right to resist foreign oppression. As bombs rained from the skies it is children, the sick and the disabled whom Riyadh aimed at in its military fury.

As Riyadh officials work still to rationalise their decisions to target innocent civilians by shifting blame on the Resistance movement, and argue it is, they, Yemen’s resistance fighters who have used their people as human shields, it is Saudi Arabia’s bombs which have torn through schools, hospitals, factories and residential areas. It is not armed men who were pulled from under the rubbles, but bloodied children.

18 months into Yemen’s war of co-called “political restoration” Saudi Arabia could prove to have committed one atrocity too many for the world community to still dare keep silent. One can only hope that human life still weighs more than the siren call of capitalism. Let us remember that Yemen’s demise has enabled the likes of the United States and the United Kingdom to secure billions of dollars in military contracts – in many way Yemen was sold out to a war lobby which interests lie not in peace and democracy-building, but annihilation and military diktat.

ALEX POTTER – COURTESY OF THE MONA RELIEF ORGANIZATION
Yemen in rubbles – 2016

 

This time rights groups and NGOs appear to have gotten over their usual apathy to decry Riyadh’s war crimes and demand, if not reparation, at least an investigation. In a joint statement Oxfam, Save the Children, Medecins sans Frontieres and others pointed out that air strikes were behind more than half of the 785 children killed and 1,168 wounded in Yemen last year. While such a stand comes a little late to the party, and even though the alleged figures fall short from the truth, such a stand nevertheless offers a glimmer of hope by way of accountability.

According to both the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies and the Mona Relief Organization – a Yemeni-based NGO, over 2,000 children have been killed by Saudi fire since March 2015, and an estimated 4,000 have suffered injuries. If such figures do not make you shudder in horror, then consider the fact that for the past 18 months a nation of 26 million souls has been made to slowly starve as an impenetrable humanitarian blockade was imposed on Yemen by Saudi Arabia.

Cut off from the rest of the world, unable to meet its most basic needs: food, medicine and water, Yemen was transformed into a grand moratorium – an open wound onto international law as few have ever dared challenge the powerful Saudi lobby for fear of being send to the financial dog house.

Might and fortune surely cannot be allowed to become the foundation upon which our legal system is raised. Surely, we owe ourselves to hold to higher, more righteous standards if we are in fact to call ourselves “civilized”.

But if the world community still looks the other way, consciously oblivious of the rivers of blood Saudi Arabia has made flow in this poorest nation of Southern Arabia, Yemenis have held on to their rights: their rights to be, their rights to choose, their right to manifest a future of their making.

As bombs are once more raining from the skies, as thunder and dread have become as palpable as the pummels of smoke rising across Yemen cities, it is the voice of Yemen youth which has now risen in denunciation of such Terror.

This August, as a nation stands in mourning, I will ask you to hear the cries of its sons and daughters for they have raised their voices … and in this case their pens, so that you could share in their grief and understand their pain.

The following is a compilation of several letters young Yemenis to pass on to Shafaqna for publication in the media. To protect their families from any potential reprisals the identity of each contributor will remain anonymous. Each letter is addressed to Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, al-Saud Royals and those officials who have refused to give Yemen the courtesy of a choice.

“Since our words so far did not reach you, we pray today that you will heed Yemen’s cries, and remember how powerful the prayers of the oppressed are,” – Yemen youth.

Ali –

“I turned 16 today! I don’t feel like a 16-year old though … I feel old and wary, I feel eroded and broken down to my very core. Today I heard my father cry … I heard my father and my mother cry bitter tears of shame as some of our countrymen have called for further actions against Yemen. Oh how I would like to tell them of my anger, and my hate for their cowardice, and their treachery.

How I would like to tell them about the blood they have spilled, and the lives they have claimed as they sit safely away from the battlefield. Shame will follow you beyond your grave! Shame will be your burden to bear and we shall never forgive you for the offenses you committed against our Yemen.

Yemen is not yours anymore! Yemen is ours and you are no longer of us. You, who sit in al-Saud palaces, tucked away beyond your walls, can you hear the sound of your betrayal as it falls on our heads and kills our loved ones!

Your shame will be your burial ground, and your headstone. Your name we will not pronounce … your face we will cast from our memories, and your deeds you will answer to in full.

Didn’t you hear the warnings of your Lord when He said: “Fear the prayers of the oppressed!”

Waffa –

“Your bombs have already killed my brother, my uncle, and my father … your bombs could kill me still. But then again little is left of me … My real life is not here. My real life stopped when al-Saud declared war on my people in March 2015. My real life is waiting for me at the end of this long night you call war.

It is not just any war … it is a war against my people, my land, my faith, my soul, and my home. Everything I am you declared war to.

Everything we are you want to disappear … WHY?!  We want peace. We want peace and we want dignity. We want peace, and we want dignity, and you have robbed us of all of it!

My country has burnt for over a year and you have said nothing.

My country has starved for over a year and you have done nothing.

My country has cried freedom for over a year and you have called us liars.

YOU are the liars! You are the criminals! You … all of you, all of you who have watched us die, and cry for our dead. All of you, who have whispered your support but left us to fend in the dark alone.

Didn’t you hear the warnings of your Lord when He said: “Fear the prayers of the oppressed!”

Adham

“You have brought death and misery to our land, and still it is us you call impostors. You have murder, butcher and violated the land which gave you your name, and still it is us you call the rebels.

Hear us when we say Yemen is our mother and our father. Hear us when we say, we are Yemen sons and daughters!

Hear us when we say our allegiance remains as it was given. It remains as it was in the first day and nothing will ever make us renege!

Hear us when we say to you: “Traitor, Usurper, Liar!”

Hear us when we say to you: “Fear the prayers of the oppressed!”

Hear us, for our anger is coming to you!

Can you not hear the thunder? Can you not hear the anger rising? Can you not hear Yemen’s awakening? It is the voices of the oppressed calling for justice … it is maybe the last sound you will hear.”

By Catherine Shakdam for the Huffington Post

 

 

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