11 July 2018

Forgotten

What a very heart-warming story! The Wild Boars boys' football team have been rescued from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. It is a tale of international co-operation, determination, bravery and caving skills. The whole world has been watching and collectively we let out a huge "hurrah" when we learnt that all of the boys were finally out. It was the best of humanity.

But what of Yemen? There are children there too. They may not be trapped in a treacherous cave system and the fickle media, like the U.N. may have turned its back on them but their lives are also endangered. In fact, countless children have already died there - from Saudi Arabian bombing, starvation and cholera. 

They are not sitting on a ledge in the darkness. After all, how could such a ledge accommodate literally thousands of Yemeni children? And as I say, the media are not waiting on the edges of bombed out towns and villages to bring the latest news. There are no "live updates".

Far more than 10,000 civilians have already died in Yemen and in November of 2017, the Save the Children organisation estimated that 130 Yemeni children were dying every day as a direct result of the conflict. Not thirteen - like the cave group in Thailand - but 130 - per day! The secrecy surrounding the conflict in Yemen goes on just as the western world continues to supply Saudi Arabia with the military hardware it needs to force its will upon the beleaguered Yemeni people.

The background to the conflict is complicated but the simple reality is that children are dying. So yes - let's cheer for the Thai boys that the media chose to bring to our television screens - but please spare a thought for the forgotten children of Yemen for they are also human beings.

23 comments:

  1. How right you are. I always try to look further than the media. One only has to look back in history to read what we didn't know about and what was kept secret from the masses.
    Briony
    x

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  2. Too true. Let us hope that the warm feeling of international cooperation which came about in that Thai rescue will spread through the world and relieve others in dire need. Too much time, money and effort, not to mention bloodshed, has been spent on wars and greed. It is high time we all pulled together and did something good.

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  3. I have started to comment here half a dozen times. Nothing I think of is adequate

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  4. Of course, you are right. And thanks for the reminder.

    There is a theory, recently brought to my attention by the Angel, that the more people are involved in a human tragedy the less the rest of us will engage. Hence, the photo of a single child in distress (think the famous Vietnam girl running; and similar since) will catapult us into more action than the barely imaginable plight of faceless hundreds and thousands.

    U

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  5. Such an important reminder...thank you, Neil.

    I think about this sort of thing all the time. How many people suffer, nameless and faceless, all around the world. It's hard to wrap your mind around suffering multitudes because the problem feels too immense to grasp. I believe most people are good and would like to help but have no idea how. Think of all the people who have been praying and hoping that the Thai boys would be rescued--plenty of them would be glad to send financial help to other children in danger if it were feasible. I agree with Addy that too much time money and effort have been spent on wars and greed. If only a fraction of that went to humanitarian efforts what a better world this would be.

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  6. I like the Yemenis. Was sent to Crater Town for a month and stayed for three in the late 90s. They are a warlike bunch but apart from a couple of minor altercations they were fine with me.
    I'd still rather them kill one another in North Africa than come here killing us.
    The small children will always die disproportionally as it's a desert. They could have used the oil they have to develop the place but would rather spend their lives fighting about whether it is Shiite oil or Sunni oil.
    Provides plenty of work for the NGOs so keeps them occupied.

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  7. Sadly, yes. There are so many people around the world who through birth circumstances alone have a very rough and short life. There but for the grace of *luck* go every one of the rest of us.

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  8. TO BRIONY, ADDY, KYLIE, URSULA, JENNIFER, ADRIAN & JENNY. I have read all your comments with interest. Thank you for reflecting on this subject and for clearly grasping a sense of the dilemma I sought to illuminate.

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  9. It is so much easier to concentrate on a few than on the countless. It's human to do so but that doesn't make it right.

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    1. That is a good point Ms Moon. The Thai boys in the cave issue was neat and easy to understand.

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  10. Point well taken. Children are mistreated in many areas.

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    1. Children are blameless but often victims.

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  11. That final photo is so tragic. News of war zones is just not exciting/uplifting and has become commonplace now. Awful.

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    1. The news media seem to get bored with conflicts before moving on to something else but in the case of Yemen it is as if they have been told to simply ignore it.

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  12. Having worked in the media, I'll say that this is a CONSTANT dilemma in deciding what news gets covered. "News," by definition, is often and most superficially what's newest in world events -- just as the French word for both "new" and "news" is nouvelle. So events as they pop up are news. Sadly, events that drag on and on often subside from news because it's hard to keep the story fresh. We've seen it in Somalia, in Sudan, in Congo, in countless places. At least we're aware that there still ARE conflicts in those locations (and in Yemen) and I suppose that's something.

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    1. Yes. I suppose that is something Steve but it's not much is it?

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    2. I'm just not sure what the alternative is. I don't think the media get "bored" with the story, as you say above -- I think they simply run out of new ways to frame it, explain it, develop it and help readers (or viewers) understand it. In fact, I think it's the media consumers who get bored. Absent a change, readers will not read the same story day after day -- "More War and Starvation in Yemen" could be a daily headline. Hence, the media move on to fresher topics until there's a twist or a fresh angle. It's tragic, but it's the nature of news.

      I also agree with some of your other commenters that it's MUCH easier for people to latch onto a story involving a few people -- or even one person -- than a story involving thousands. It's easier to see the humanity.

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  13. I agree, also sometimes we don't need to go too far away from home...
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. The way the homeless and dispossessed are scorned is itself scandalous.

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  14. I echo both your post (which I'm ashamed to say I didn't make time to write) and the comments. I would have been wider than Yemen though because we now treat with almost callous indifference the horrors that are around us all over the world. And it's not just war. I am reminded of a case which made headlines and sparked an intergovernmental row when I lived in New Zealand. An NZ student in Bali was the victim of an accident. The ambulance arrived but because he had no insurance nor a credit card it drove off and he died.

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    1. That is the perfect modern day representation of "man's inhumanity to man".

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  15. What you say is so true YP.
    These days we are led to believe that only the latest, most up to date news is worthy of our consideration, and preferably it's better if it has celebrity endorsement. If those events lack such backing then they sink without a trace.
    I wonder what help, if any, "Children In Need" may have provided for the starving children around the world, and especially those in the Yemen ?

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    1. Because of Saudi Arabian blockades and non-co-operation it has I believe been exceedingly difficult for relief agencies to get into Yemen to make a significant impact.

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