24 July 2017

Yemen

Shhh! Let's not talk about Yemen. Let's talk about Brooklyn Beckham and BBC salaries. Let's talk about the two princes and their documentary about Princess Diana. Let's talk about Brexit and the Trump clan's links with Russia and film stars' love lives and what the weather is like outside but please, let's not talk about Yemen. Let's put it in a dark cupboard and try to forget about it.

This is Yemen:-
It sits on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. It has a population of some 25 million and it is the poorest county in the Middle East. Its history is long and complicated. A succession of "visitors" left their mark in Yemen - from the Ancient Egyptians to The British Empire. To understand the influences that have made the Yemen of today you would need to be a professor of Yemeni history and even then you would be missing something.

Oh, by the way in the early hours of this morning Saudi Arabian fighter jets  supported by the US military bombed Sanhan and Bani Bahlul districts of Sanaa province reportedly causing heavy damage to citizens' properties. In the ensuing chaos today's death toll is not yet clear. But what's new? Such attacks have been happening for months on an almost daily basis.

It is said that Saudi Arabia's persistent bombings of Yemen are connected with the power struggle between the supporters of  President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi rebels who have opposed his governance. SaudiArabia believes that the Houthi rebels are backed by Iran and this is why the USA, along with Britain are quietly supporting the military action.  Only a few days after the "accidental" bombing of a big funeral in Yemen earlier this year the British government approved the sale of £283 million worth of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Since Saudi Arabia began their attacks on Yemen in March 2015 more than 8000 civilians have been killed and some 44,000 have been seriously wounded. The country's fragile infrastructure is in ruins with roads, schools, hospitals and bridges destroyed along with power plants and water treatment works. It was hard enough for ordinary people to survive in Yemen before this conflict but now it is a whole lot harder. Meanwhile the United Nations stand idly by.

It is perhaps no surprise that the country is now in the throes of a terrible cholera epidemic. More than 370,000 people have contracted the disease since April of this year and an estimated 1800 have died. A quarter of these have been young children. Thank you Saudi Arabia and your shadowy backers! Great job! By the end of this year the World Health Organisation estimates that 600,000 Yemeni people will have contracted cholera in the world's biggest ever outbreak of the disease.

Instead of dropping bombs perhaps the Saudis and their western allies might consider dropping barrels of clean water instead. But shh! Let's not talk about Yemen. After all, nobody goes there for their holidays and anyway aren't the folk over there mainly Muslim?

15 comments:

  1. Those poor people. You're right about how trash celebrities get so much news coverage while whole countries suffer unimaginable hardship and no one seems to care.

    Actually, now that I think of it....how are ordinary people supposed to care when they never hear about the situation? As you say, when you turn on the news it's never mentioned. I must admit that I,myself, have never given Yemen a thought. And now that I have (thank you, Neil) what can I do with that information? Like most decent people in the world, I feel powerless to help.

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    1. Knowledge is Power. Increasing the number of people who are aware of Yemen's plight is one of the building blocks of change and peace. Folk can also support Oxfam's work in Yemen.

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  2. How horrid! We can and should be able to do better but we are too wrapped up in our own stuff.
    The greatest cholera outbreak ever should be on the front page of every newspaper.

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    1. Yes it should Kylie! I am glad that you share some of my horror. No doubt "they" will keep sweeping this manmade tragedy under the carpet.

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  3. It is one of many "forgotten wars", along with the South Sudan and other places where ordinary people can not lead ordinary lives "thanks" to those who sit in air-conditioned conference rooms, bellies full, and decide about the fate of millions.
    And then, even in (relatively) peaceful countries, there are millions who suffer. Take the Kosovo, for example. Officially, the country is at peace. But ask the many women who suffer from what are ancient ideas of "morals" and of how a woman should live, and you'll get a very different picture of a country steeped in "tradition" that legitimates violence against anyone who dares to be different, resulting in abuse and murder, and we never hear about it.
    (Well, we do. We can all inform ourselves. As we are showing every time we comment on your - or anyone else's blog -, we are capable of using a computer. The internet has all the info, we only have to look for it.)

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    1. Western media - perhaps secretly guided by governments - appear to be quite selective about the conflicts they focus upon. Over the years I have been aware of numerous "forgotten wars" and other newsworthy matters that have never known the full glare of publicity. I think of East Timor, Burma, Colombia and as you say South Sudan.

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  4. Despair is the only word that comes to mind instantly. This kind of situation is repeated in so many places - and so little is heard of it or done about it apart from air agencies and the brave people who dare to go in. I support them but my donation is but a drop in the ocean. What is needed is the support of our governments but that it not forthcoming - it is all too far away to be of any impact.

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    1. It's good to know that you care Pat and that you do your little bit.

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  5. Never-ending horrors and injustice; man's disrespect towards his fellowman; man's inhumanity to man. We humans never learn. Sadly, our world never becomes a better place...I doubt it ever will because of the arrogance of humans.

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    1. Of course you are right but isn't it interesting to observe that some crises get plenty of airtime but others get very little.

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  6. We just don't hold governments accountable for anything. we don't throw the bums out. We are obsessed with voting for the same parties.

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    1. Sometimes I think there are political agendas that exist in a separate arena that is not troubled by normal democratic processes.

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  7. A worthy cause among many worthy causes. The suffering in many parts of the world never seems to end. And there is suffering on our doorsteps, too. There is no shortage of places to contribute to.

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    1. Some conflicts get plenty of airtime and media comment. Others, like Yemen, appear to be sidelined.

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  8. I support them but my donation is but a drop in the ocean. What is needed is the support of our governments but that it not forthcoming - it is all too far away to be of any impact.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.