The children dying in Yemen - ÖZLEM ALBAYRAK

The children dying in Yemen

Yesterday I saw a post on social media showing the details of a yacht party with models and alcohol thrown by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed who have been bombarding Yemen, thus causing the death of 85,000 children by starvation while killing a great deal more adults without differentiating between the women and elderly.

Of course, it is not the first time we hear that even an average Arab has a luxurious life and that some of them are living riotously, but these two princes are affecting so many lives that it is not enough for one to say “what a shame” and do nothing.

According to a report yesterday, the resolution to end the support given to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war passed in the U.S. Senate. According to the comments, this means that despite Trump, the U.S. doesn’t want to be a part of this humanitarian crisis in Yemen anymore. And the tarnished reputation of bin Salman has played an important role in this decision-making process.

We can say that Turkey’s effort to keep the murder of Jamal Khashoggi on the agenda unmasked the crown prince, who has supposedly been making democratization reforms, giving women the right to drive, making statements that “we are now practicing moderate Islam,” presenting a Western outlook with news presenters without headscarves and wearing makeup, revealing his autocratic, dark side.

This is a good thing. What is not good, is the situation in Yemen. Let’s have a look at the chronology in order to understand what is going on in Yemen and why a group of Muslims getting support from the U.S. is killing another group of Muslims:

The war was started by the Gulf countries against the Houthis who are claimed to be backed by Iran. When the Houthis occupied the north of the country and then capital Sana, forcing the president to flee, the Gulf states took action with air strikes. If the Houthis’ occupation of a large part of the country prevented to ensure the security of the oil export routes of the Gulf states is one reason for this intervention, another reason is the sectarian conflict. It was the power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran disguised under the struggle between Sunnism and Shiism that has been going on for decades.

Next March will mark the fourth year since the war broke out on March 2015. Although the Houthis recently stated that they are ready to declare a cease-fire after the peace offer from the coalition, the ceasefire could not be declared. Last September, there have been meetings under the supervision of the UN, however the Houthis did not attend them. UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths stated that he hopes both sides will come together by the end of this year for peace talks.

On the other hand, these are only details.

What is happening here is that a Muslim country is killing another one, or forcing the other to starve to death. Emaciated children are dying every day before the eyes of the whole world. According to a report published two days ago, in addition to those who died recently, 14 million people, of whom 5 million are children, are facing the danger of dying due to starvation. I cannot even understand what kind of a cause, what kind of an interest, or what kind of a legitimate reason would be worth doing this?

Well, let’s say the Saudi government under the leadership of the crown prince is out of their minds, that they have no heart, but what about the rest of the world? What are we doing in the face of those photographs? Nothing! While you are reading this article, a kid died, because according to statistics, every 11 minutes, a child in Yemen dies.

When I look at the photographs of those children, whose faces have shrunk because of starvation and eyes have popped out, I feel terrible as a Muslim, I feel a dreadful pain in my heart, and the only thing I could do as a citizen would be to go and donate some money to a humanitarian relief foundation. In fact, the only thing that keeps Yemeni people away from death is the food aid arriving there. Although it is said that because of the chaos in the country and various manipulative activities that the aid sent is not distributed fairly, it is clear that their death is being delayed thanks to the relief foundations…

Also, the U.S. Senate’s veto to the support given to the coalition is not enough. Washington has to apply serious diplomatic pressure to end the conflict in Yemen. I can hear you saying, how this is going to happen with Trump, that is right, but it has to be done somehow. Of course, Britain and France also have to stop giving support to the coalition.

I think that if there is a power that could stop these countries that are indirectly causing the death of children and has no problem with doing it, that is Turkey.


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