martedì, Luglio 5

Yemen, letters of War

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What is left to say when a nation has been allowed to burn under the fire of a tyrant for political cowardice and greed prevented world powers to speak justice? What is left to say of a system which claims itself fair, and yet allows for truths to be buried under the boot of murderous legions, on account their coffers withhold vast wealth? What is left to say indeed …

Yemen has been at war with not one country but a world coalition. Behind the political veneer of a military intervention which presented itself as a democratic liberation, it is the spectre of implacable imperialism Yemen has struggled against, and battled with since March 2015. Abusive, despotic and crippling Saudi Arabia has thwarted Yemen’s skies with its warplanes and its bombs, raining death generously – a vindictive power thirsty for absolute feudality.

But Yemen is not one to be conquered easily … Yemenis in fact are not a people to bow under the yoke of despots – resistance it needs to be said runs deep in the highlands. So deep, that empires of old have broken their back on Yemen mountains, unable to make southern Arabia yield to their will. Yemen has stood over the centuries, free and proud … Such freedom and such pride have been tested in the cruellest ways possible; all under the gaze of the international community.

Saudi Arabia today stands a criminal of war amongst criminals of war. And while many nations continue to hide behind legal semantics, alleging technicalities to better profit from Riyadh’s military needs, guilt has already been asserted and confirmed. Saudi Arabia went so far in fact in its rampage against Yemen that, in January 2016, a panel of UN experts felt compelled to ring the alarm bell – hoping likely to distance themselves from Riyadh’s propensity for bloodshed. This is the second time since the beginning of this war on the Yemen, that the UN has attempted to curtail Riyadh’s imperial ambitions against its neighbour.

A United Nations panel of experts concluded in October 2015 that the Saudi-led coalition had committed “grave violations” of civilians’ human rights. They include indiscriminate attacks; targeting markets, a camp for displaced Yemenis, and humanitarian aid warehouses; and intentionally preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The panel was also concerned that the coalition considered civilian neighbourhoods, as legitimate strike zones, on account they held ties to the Resistance movement, as organized under the Houthis. Then, the International Committee of the Red Cross documented 100 attacks on hospitals.

Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions prohibits the targeting of civilians. It provides that parties to a conflict “shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.” But that is not all, in January 2016, the same panel of experts were forced once more bear witness to the kingdom’s war atrocities. Once more, they spoke of the kingdom’s inhumane humanitarian blockade, and detailed at length the maiming, and killing carried against an entire people. Once more the world failed to respond …

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