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”Saudi Arabia is slowly sending Yemen and its civilians back to the dark ages”

Saudi Arabia started a war against Yemen on the 25th of March 2015, in an attempt to reinstate the Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power. Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi lost the power of Yemen to Houthis’ leaders on 21 September 2014. Yemenis are isolated from the air, sea and land as no trading, no traveling and no fishing is possible.

After more than four weeks of daily bombings 3693 of civilians have been killed – including 373 children and 300 women. 3 million students cannot go to schools, while 7000 buildings such as schools, public health care facilities and factories have been damaged. These numbers are increasing every day with the continual bombing of Yemen.

On the 25th of March a Saudi-led airstrike campaign destroyed huge parts of the capital Sana’a that has a population of about 3 million people. About 300 persons were killed and 3000 where injured while the airstrikes have reached a number of 2300.

According to the UN agency for refugees, more than 150,000 people have been displaced in Yemen since the start of the Saudi-led air campaign, while over 300,000 have fled their homes since the beginning of the conflict.

The commander in charge of the campaign announced the end of the airstrikes, however nothing has stopped so far, while the killing, damage and evacuating still exists with not enough attention internationally. The Saudi-led coalition has also imposed restrictions on airspace and ports, preventing humanitarian supplies from making it into the country.

This war has started without any legal permission, from neither the United Nations nor the Arab League. The airstrikes in the war-torn Yemen have been conducted in cooperation with Saudis allies like Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan in addition to the Gulf countries, GCC, that are united with Saudi Arabia except for Oman and Pakistan that refused to be part of killing Yemenis.

The war in Yemen is a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran but it is the Yemeni people that are the victims. The Saudis are now causing a massacre of civilians in Yemen. Yemeni civilians have become victims of Saudis, Houthis, the ex-president, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the movement in the South recently.

Saudis mentioned that they target only Houthis, but through inaccurate missile strikes and a lack of information of the situation on the ground, innocent civilians form the majority of the casualties. The damage in infrastructure is paralyzing, as there is a lack of water, fuel, medical supplies, food and first aid.

Saudi Arabia is slowly sending Yemen and its civilians back to the dark ages which will allow Saudi Arabia to build new allies to devour Yemen again. The people of Yemen mainly get their livelihood from other countries. Wheat is not produced locally and now all trade means (airports and shipping ports) are blocked. This will result in real hunger that will cause more deaths.

The first targets of the airstrikes were civilians living next to the National Yemeni Airport in the capital, Sana’a. Military bases are located in the center of the main cities in Yemen nearby schools, houses and public and health institutions. Innocent people in the cities of Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Sa’ada and other governorates are facing a slow death, while airstrikes continue to destroy vital infrastructure.

Saudis’ borders are not open to assist Yemeni refuges that have evacuated from conflict areas, so those groups have no option except to sail through the sea to Somalia and Djibouti. Meanwhile thousands of Yemenis are stuck in airports abroad. Egypt has recently changed its policy and now requires Yemeni citizens to attain a visa, although for decades Yemenis have been free to enter Egypt for medical, educational, and tourist reasons.

The solution is to return to the negotiating table with mediators such as Oman and the UN without any interventions by the Saudis, Americans, or Iranians.

My family was under fire in Sana’a airport on the 26 of March. Here is a Whatsapp chat with my little sister Huda on the day of the attack.

Huda: yesterday we run away at 2:30 A.M. from my uncle house to the 45 street, Muhammed, Rudwan, and Ahmed turned on the cars and said YALLAH !
Amira: Huda tell me everything if you are able to.
Huda: Of course all houses turned into rubble and the neighbors died in the morning which we saw with our own eyes. 2:30 A.M. I saw the world turn red because of the explosion, windows smashed on us, the house got full of rubble and the doors where blown away!
Huda: Khalas, we almost got crazy, we went to the street with no clothes, the street was all in rubble and we could not see anything! Then we drove with the lights turned off so that the planes would not see us and  fire at us! Our coward president left us and went to all countries to tell them to kill us, and he run away to Egypt, and all countries agree!

Some people are supporting the Saudi airstrikes other’s are against it. Yemeni children do not have the choice to be for or against the war, nevertheless it is them that are under fire. Civilians can not run from the war and even if they decided to leave the war zone there is no petrol for transportation.

No matter the Saudi’s justification for the attack on Yemen, children should not be part of it. The only word to explain what the Saudi’s airstrikes are doing in Yemen is massacre. They are creating bloody images that our new generation will not forget.

 Amira Al-Sharif, Photojournalist from Yemen

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