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While tens of thousands of Yemeni men, women and children are dying from starvation and disease, the world is shamelessly watching with deafening silence

The bombing continues unabated.

The explosions are heard in the distance.

A family with seven children is cowering in fear in a corner of their shack,

Daring not to step out

Dreading instant death from shrapnel or a sniper’s bullet.

Occasionally looking up to the sky through a hole in the roof,

hoping still for some rain drops

collected in a bucket underneath.

Drinking water is nowhere to be found

and only the rain drops keep the family alive.

The mother is careworn;

She tries to breast-feed her baby boy, Mahmood

But her milk runs dry.

The baby’s eyes are open still, gazing at nothing

perhaps wondering what’s happening to him and why.

Slowly he tries to raise his weakened hand

to touch his mother’s breast

as if pleading for just one more drop of milk.

His arm falls back, hanging;

he can’t move, he can’t cry, his eyes run dry

He has no tears left to shed to ease his agonizing pain!

If you bent to ask him how he is feeling

and if he could only talk, he would say,

why, why was I ever born?

Weeks of starvation finally took their turn

his body surrenders

and he dies in his mother’s arms.

How correct was James Baldwin when he said

“A child cannot, thank Heaven,

know how vast and how merciless is the nature of power,

with what unbelievable cruelty people treat each other.”

Countless Yemeni children

are dying from starvation and disease

while the world shamelessly watches in silence

as if this was just a horror story

from a different time and a distant place,

seeing a country ravaged by a senseless, unwinnable war

while a whole generation perishes in front our eyes.

Those at the top who are fighting the war

are destroying the very people they want to govern;

They are the evil that flourishes on apathy

and cannot endure without it.

What’s there left for them to rule?

Twenty million Yemenis are famished

One million children are infected with cholera

Hundreds of thousands of little boys and girls are ravenous

Dying, leaving no trace and no mark behind

to tell the world they were ever here.

And the poorest country on this planet earth

lies yet in ruin and utter despair.

The civilian casualties became a weapon of choice

and the victor will be the one who inflicts the heaviest fatalities

and as the higher the death toll of civilians continues to rise,

climbing ever higher

the closer they believe they come to triumph.

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man,” Dostoyevsky said,

“but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts,

no animal could ever be so cruel as a man,

so artfully, so artistically cruel.”

When will the international community wake up?

Evil humans can do much horrific harm

But those who watch them with deafening silence

cause a greater disaster for failing to act

When will they try to bring the Yemeni calamity to a close?

What will it take to bring the combatants to what’s left of their sanity?

There is nothing left to fight for

Though however hopeless the conditions are

We can still be determined to change course.

And if we succeed in saving even a single life,

as the Abrahamic religions teach us

it is as though we have saved the whole world.

President Biden cannot allow this human catastrophe

to take such a toll on the Yemeni people

and degrade our morals and numb our conscience.

It is time to warn Iran to end its support of the Houthis

as Tehran will never be permitted to establish

a permanent foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.

As an ally, Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to maintain the ceasefire

and sue for a peace agreement.

The Houthis must remember that there will be no victors

Only losers—losers, for they have already lost the country.

The country they are fighting for is no longer there

They must now start at the beginning

And only together with the beleaguered government

put an end to these unspeakable atrocities.

And maybe, just maybe

The community of nations will come together

to right the wrong

Not only for the sake of the Yemeni people

But for the sake of humanity.

We are facing the test of time

and will never be forgiven for failing to rise up

and answer the silent call of that little boy, Mahmood

who died so cruelly so much before his prime.

Note:  This article was originally published in the web portal of Prof. Ben-Meir and has been reproduced under arrangement. Web Link: Web Link

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy