03 August 2018

Arabia tristis

Once again, Yemen is on the brink of a massive cholera outbreak, indeed, the third in its recent history, a direct result of the flagitious aggression being perpetrated upon it by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and NATO. This in addition to the direct bombing campaigns that are targeting needed infrastructure and supply lines and killing dozens of civilians on a weekly basis. Let there be no mistake; let there be no obfuscation. Despite the self-serving lies of organs aligned with a particular side of the conflict, both sides are not equally at fault. The responsibility for this crisis lies not with the Houthis and the Yemeni Shia tribesmen, but squarely with the Saudi-led ‘coalition’. Of course, the pro-establishment wings of both parties would rather not mention it, but my nation’s executive branch, legislature and military-industrial complex are all deeply complicit in this systematic deprivation and brutalisation against some of the poorest people on the planet.

None of this should be news to my gentle readers. My apologies, by the way, for making these outraged blog-rants on Yemen read like so many Wikipedia articles with all the links; please understand that my outrage is well-sourced. Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis already know my stance on ‘humanitarian interventions’ by NATO member nations in general, but at this point, the disturbing thing is that no one has even tried to justify this intervention on any kind of moral ground whatsoever, but the war continues anyway, with the Biblical ‘least of these’ by any measure we might apply – the poor, refugees, widows, orphans – squarely in the cross-hairs.

Other commentators with more experience and better knowledge than I have can be read for the historian’s-eye view of the conflict. The only thing I can really add here is that, from a religious perspective, Yemen is every bit as ancient and every bit as significant as Syria is, with a rich and storied physical and written religious history going back to the sons of Noah. Here as in Syria, it is difficult to avoid suspecting that the wanton and heinous acts of destruction and plunder which the grasping iconoclastic puritan bigots in Riyadh are undertaking are aimed as much at this material history as they are at the people. In any event, the history and the people of Yemen are tied together; they are in the exact same plight.

All-Holy, Most Blessed Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, whom as we remember during this fasting season is the ‘shelter of orphans, and intercessor of travellers, strangers and pilgrims, joy of those in sorrow, protectress of the wronged’, is assuredly together with the orphans, the displaced, the sorrowing and the wronged in Yemen, doing her best to comfort and protect them as she sees fit. The season of fasting is also the season of prayer and of almsgiving. What the Yemenis desperately need now is not merely humanitarian aid – which is also direly needed, but much of which simply doesn’t arrive where it’s needed thanks to the blockade – but instead for the bombs to stop falling. I strongly encourage the readers of my blog to donate to one of the following groups working and advocating for peace in Yemen: Win Without War, Peace Action, the Campaign Against Arms Trade or United for Peace and Justice. Most Holy Theotokos, intercede with your Son to forgive us for our sins, both individually and as a nation.

UPDATE: The figures for the casualties from the most recent bombardment of hospitals and markets in al-Hudayda by Saudi-led forces have risen to 60 dead, and 140 wounded. Ya Rabo irham.

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