In-person report: Yemen, where dreams are impossible

From the July-August 2015 issue of News & Letters

Sana’a, Yemen—Under the control of religious armed militias, Yemenis live a humiliating life and die in insulting ways! Now death is the closest thing to Yemenis, whereas our dreams have become impossible.

BOTH SIDES TARGET CIVILIANS

The Saudi-led coalition airstrikes never care about civilians when targeting Houthi sites or where arms are stored—which are mostly in cities, especially in Sana’a and Sada.

Children crying in terror as their city is shelled.

Children crying in terror as their city is shelled.

It seems that the Houthis and their allies treat the dead, injured and detainees as ISIS does. I expected this, for all the extremist religious groups in the Arab world have the same starting points.

In the earlier days of the conflict, I watched a video that showed a woman trying to save an armed man who was with the popular resistance and was injured by Houthis near her house in Taiz. The Houthis shot the woman dead! That day I said to friends: This scene reflects the barbaric methods of the internal invaders, the Houthis and their allies, and their extremist religious thoughts and background. I expected that this will continue and we will see more brutality in the future.

In Aden, Taiz and Al-Dhale, where the street battles are more violent between Houthis and the popular resistance, Houthis shell the residential areas randomly. They prevent injured people getting to hospitals; they let them bleed to death. The dead stay in the streets, no one can get to them. Birds and dogs can be seen eating the corpses!

These scenes are only a sample of daily events in Yemen.

It is known that new movements always are cautious about bothering or abusing citizens, as they are trying to attract supporters. So why don’t religious movements, like Houthis, ISIS etc., care about that?

There are many reasons. One could be that these movements are messy and brutal. When we evaluate them we should remember their secret policies. They don’t abide by the laws of peace or war. They don’t respect the laws of nature either. This is like all of the current Islamic religious movements. Dictatorial regimes have an affinity to these beliefs, which explains the alliance between Houthis and the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who used religious groups to justify his internal war against the southern governorates in 1994, as well as his three decades in power.

In fact, the differences between all the current religious movements are small; they all do the same things against humans: they kill people, impose their control and thoughts by arms and terrorism, they destroy the social fabric; they don’t believe that a democratic nation is legitimate. For them, might makes right.

ANTI-DEMOCRATIC IDEOLOGY WIDESPREAD

Some extremist religious movements accept democracy as a tactic, as did the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But the literature of such groups is in total contrast with democratic values.

Houthis participated in the dialogue in Yemen, but in the end, they turned the table and took full control of the state by force.

Now there are almost one million displaced Yemenis. Over 20 million are in urgent need of food. Most of the hospitals throughout the country are unable to receive patients, due to the lack of fuel and medicine.

Street in Taiz destroyed by Houthis

Street in Taiz destroyed by Houthis

According to my observation, most of the aid that was donated by international organizations has been taken by Houthis, especially fuel. Most of the people who fled their houses live in schools or in friends’ houses and have no basic services.

In Sana’a, where I live, people spend most of their time standing in lines waiting for water given by donors. They do the same thing for gas. Many journalists, politicians, and human rights activists are still detained by Houthis. Some of them were used as human shields.

Many Yemeni civilians are now saying that they prefer death instead of this humiliating life!

   –Khaled Al-Hamdani

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