A young man in the making in times of war

To see a young boy, no more than seven or eight, crying because of the war, is something we will never get accustomed to.
Qasim Ali Al-Shawea – in the picture – of Your Abilities Yemeni NGOمنظمة قدراتك للتنمية your.abilities.org ) writes:

”Every day I meet a child, family, displaced people during my work with my team and I have a close look at people’s unbearable conditions, how they try to stay safe, alive in such a humanitarian disaster. 
I see children sleeping at night with empty stomachs, after having fought hunger for several days.
I meet many families who have fled their homes to live hopeless, homeless in displacement camps; I am seeing a daily nightmare, a tragedy I have never seen…ever, in my life.
How not to mention the Cholera outbreak which is decimating lives while hospitals are full with patients. 
What is happening in Yemen is really inhuman, illegal and unfair. We are human beings and have human hearts, the world shouldn’t keep ignoring the children and women’s suffering. Every child deserves to live a better life.”

I asked Qasim why was the young boy shedding so helplessly and he replied:
He told me that he and his family used to have a better life.  That was before bombs fell on their home. He was crying because his brother was killed there, at home, under a missile. Now they are living in a tent in a displacement camp. They have nothing to eat, monsoon rains enter the only abode they have. He wants clothes… he really asked me a lot: new clothes, toys, a chance to study. He is a clever child. I felt so sad for him and their life, the hard conditions they must cope with. Heartbreaking, really.”

The picture of a child, dressed like a man in the making, with a jacket which most likely will be worn until it fades to a shadow of a garment, crying helplessly cannot be the emblem of childhood. Not in 2017.
Yemen has been under air strikes, blocked by a siege, crippled by cholera and famine for over eight hundred and sixty days. A number so heavy it seems too long even to write. Impossibly long for a child whose home and past have been buried under a missile.

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Yemen, where schools are bombed ‘just because’

A friend writes: ‘Before war, Yemeni children were still studying here. They had a place to study at, a tree, a straw bale house or just whatever it was.  9
After Houthi came to libe
rate us from corrupt and incompetent government and after Al Saud came to help us build a better country without militants, our children lost everything schools, trees, caves etc. Dangers are surrounding them everywhere. Go to hell, all of you.’

 

 

The war on Yemen, commenced by the Saudi led Coalition has brought us all to provide numbers, like automatic machines: 3 millions internally displaced, 9 million with no access to water, 21 million underfed and with no access to food, 10.000 killed (mainly civilians), 16.000 maimed for life: there is a number for everything and a name to accompany each case. And numbers skyrocket from one week to the other.

 

According to Unicef, over 3000 schools had to close doing to the ‘ongoing conflict’  (why no one calls it an aggression is still beyond comprehension) leaving almost 2 million children with no education.

12

On Saturday, August 13, a school (private home-school) in Juma Bin Fadhel  area of Saada was purposely airstruck by the Saudi led Coalition, leaving 10 children dead and over 20 injured.
Saada, declared military zone by the Saudis, has been a target of every single bomb available in the 21st century. Everything has been dropped on its soil, something close to nothing still stands.
Saudis claim there was no school there: only a children-soldiers recruiting and training centre, hence, bombing justified.

In a week filled with Saudi’s war crimes – at a rate of 1-2 per day – we just want to reitarate that Kudos go to the population: those teachers who never gave up on Yemeni children and parents who continue to send their kids to ‘school’ (whatever that means now).
What the world does not get is the vastitude of this war: schools are considered recruitment places for child soldiers, hence, bombed.
Schools are bombed just because everything else has already been bombed. Schools are bombed because the uncle of the cousin of someone whose relative teaches in the school is Houthi or has a drop of Iranian blood in his veins.
Schools are bombed as collateral damage.
Schools are bombed because the carnage of the innocent hurts more and there is a pleasure in breaking the spine of Yemen.
Schools are bombed because the ‘taking of Sanaa’ the media keeps on filling its mouth with, passes through war crimes. One after the other, one filthier than the other.
The vast majority of Yemeni children goes to school empty stomach because 80% of the population is food insecure (famined), still, teachers are there and children walk to whatever stands as a school.
A paranoid urge to bomb has pervaded Saudis: something unseen before in history. Satanic.
But Yemenis continue to teach and children being educated. What is left of them, that is.
Resilience and courage are Yemeni.
The rest is understood.
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A Love in the Middle East

No one would dream of living where they live.
Unless forced to.
His country
is a bulletin of war
coming from the borders,
originating within.
Hers,
a divided land,
stitched together by wars and treaties.
Proud countries.
Untamed.
Hysterically feared by the world.

He tells her: Write about our love, my love.
She promises she will.

They have their own way of coping with reality,
of preserving their love.
They pass by the respective daily checkpoints
each one knowing
that today one could be fake,
controlled by the wrong faction,
unfriendly with friendly fire.
Perhaps their last checkpoint.
They both refuse
political or religious discussions.
They dream big and endlessly.
So often together.

He tells her: Write about our love, my love.
She promises she will.

They talk about their jobs,
the daily insignificances.
It paints normality
where nothing is normal.
They dream big and endlessly.
So often together.

She knows
he is not safe.
He fears
she is nothing more than a target
to reach the headline news.

Extensively,
they both refuse
to follow the news.
He knows where she is at 11 am
She knew he was sleeping this morning.

He tells her: Write about our love, my love.
She promises she will.

He called her.
He went to the Capital this morning.
And no, he kept it to himself.
The checkpoints
the bombs
the demonstrations
He spared her all these thoughts
“I did not tell you, my love”, he says.
She knows the reasons why

He tells her: Write about our love, my love.
She just did.

Picture: artwork of Laila Shawa