Is the Trump administration enabling genocide in Yemen? And will Americans ever pay attention? - Salon.com
The site of an air raid that hit a funeral reception in the Arhab district, 40 kilometres north of the capital Sanaa, on February 16, 2017.
Most American antiwar activists had bigger fish to fry in Syria at the time. And those who focused on Yemen had become obsessed with the drone war, which was new and controversial, though it had a relatively low impact. But beneath the radar, the Saudis had begun blockading and bombing the ports of an already malnourished country that must import 90 percent of its food.Saudi warplanes bombed the bridges and roads. They bombed food processing plants and aid warehouses. They bombed wedding parties and apartment buildings. And while the Obama administration curtailed arms exports to the Saudis, negotiated ceasefire agreements and chastised Saudi forces in public, humanitarian organizations began to warn of a famine that could kill millions.
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That was this last fall, when a Yemeni child was dying of hunger-related illness every 10 minutes or so. But as fall turned to winter and perhaps the most ignorant and callous president in American history entered office, the forced famine that had begun under a Saudi leadership, partially restrained by the Obama administration, descended into a hellish nightmare in which children are dying in the tens of thousands.
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While it has become quite common to refer to Stalin’s forced famine of Ukraine in the early 1930s, and Mao’s Great Famine of rural Chinese farmers in the late 1950s, as genocides, few if any have begun to speak of Yemen in such terms.
So whatever the nature of the crimes now being committed in Yemen, we should not expect to hear much talk of genocide for years to come. Nevertheless, the pattern of the bombings and their resultant starvation beg the question of whether America is now contributing to a genocide. And the pattern of bombings suggests that the Saudis are deliberately starving Yemenis into submission. One might excuse them for bombing the ports and bridges, but targeting aid warehouses is unusually extreme and blocking food imports is both cruel and completely unnecessary.
It is not possible to take part in a forced famine without restraint and not be responsible for it. And with supposedly expert advisers around you, there is no excuse for failing to grasp your own role as a mass murderer. Righteous men have been going off in search of killers only to discover it was they themselves who committed the murder since at least as far back as Oedipus. Leadership is a lesson in self-discovery for even moral exemplars, but it is all the more so for the ignorant and righteous, who blame others while failing to look inside.
Whether or not Trump is possessed of the moral development needed for such an inquiry, Americans themselves should begin to ask questions. In so doing, we may find that the phantom shadow of famine in Yemen points its ugly finger at our own callous ignorance. Somehow we are able to focus on everything else under the sun, but not the most horrific crimes to which our nation has contributed in several decades. It is time to open our eyes and see.
Timor mortis conturbat me.