The SEYAJ Organization for Child Protection has issued a statement about the situation in Yemen.[i] It reports that more than five million children in Yemen are facing death or disease due to a lack of fresh drinking water and sufficient food. This is because no food, medicine or fuel have been allowed into the country for the last month.
Many of the stocks possessed by families to meet their basic needs have been used up. Water and electricity plants are out of commission and sea and air traffic has all but come to a halt.
The organization reports that schools in Sana’a are closed and more than five million students are thus being deprived of the right to an education. Some 150 schools are inoperable as they have been bombed on suspicion of being used as weapons warehouses. Moreover, it is not only schools that the bombs have destroyed; hospitals and energy plants have also been damaged in blatant violation of international law and agreements on suspicion of being used for military purposes. Some 500,000 people have had to abandon their homes because of the fighting.
Children are of course the first to be affected by these conditions. At least three million children are suffering because of power blackouts in Sana’a, Aden, Saada, Taiz, al-Hodeidah, Ibb, Ataq and Haradh. There are also shortages of food, health services and housing in these towns.
The other day, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported that food aid was not getting through in Yemen because of significant fuel shortages and had almost come to a halt. In a statement from the U.N.’s Geneva Office the organization called on all sides in Yemen to implement a ceasefire to provide the fuel needed for food aid to be maintained.[ii] That call has so far gone unheeded.
The Saudi-led coalition is repeating the error made in various parts of the world in believing that it can obtain results through aerial bombardments. The fact is that aerial bombardments merely worsen the conflict and internal strife rather than ending it, not to mention being a dangerous policy that inevitably leads to large numbers of civilian deaths. Some politicians and soldiers think that supporting aerial bombardments is the only way of showing opposition to secessionist movements and terrorism. Even more amazing is that local politicians are hugely supportive of such operations that will obviously harm their own country.
All the militants, soldiers and politicians involved in the fighting in Yemen must know that murder can never be resolved through further murder. The way to prevent deaths is not by killing more people.
The aerial bombardments are literally punishing the people of Yemen en masse: A whole people, be they Zaidi and Sunni, guilty or innocent, women and children, the sick and the elderly, are all being hit. This is an inhumane tactic and a sign of impotence. Mass bombardments or blockading an entire country are an explicit expression of failure and inadequacy.
In all democratic systems, people who have committed crimes, even the most pathological killers, are caught and placed on trial. You will never see scores of people in a part of any European country being killed for the sake of punishing one guilty man. Even if wrong policies are sometimes adopted, human life is of the greatest value in these countries and those who take life unlawfully know that they will have to account for themselves before the law.
The command “Thou shalt not kill” that appears in both the Injil and the Torah also appears in the Qur’an. God has told Muslims that killing one person is equivalent to killing all of mankind.
Any sincere believer who abides by the Qur’an, be he Sunni or Zaidi, will strive to the utmost to protect the life of even a single person. Therefore, no Muslim can ever advocate aerial bombardments and speak along the lines of, “Of course one or two people may be killed by accident in such an operation.”
What Yemeni Muslims must do is to espouse and encourage peace. The first priority in doing that is for the sides to employ only the language of love; after all, the Qur’an, the fundamental source of Islam, emphasizes the concepts of love, affection, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, understanding and peace.
The Houthis and the government, Iran and Saudi Arabia must at once abandon the kind of inflammatory language that encourages further conflict otherwise, there may be a humanitarian tragedy of the first magnitude in Yemen. Other Muslim countries – and Turkey first and foremost – must at once mobilize to prevent the deaths of even more Muslims by building peace in Yemen. Urgent steps must be taken, and there must be no waiting for a ceasefire for the building of permanent peace. A well-coordinated and large-scale humanitarian aid campaign must be started so the necessary things can be brought to the people of Yemen at once.
Adnan Oktar's piece on National Yemen: