On Sunday 3rd November, UNICEF regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, called Yemen a “Living-Hell” for children, stating that 30,000 children die in the country each year from malnutrition due to the ongoing brutal war between the Saudi-led pro-government coalition, and the Houthi rebels. According to the UN, half of Yemen’s children under 5 (1.8 million children) are chronically malnourished, while 400,000 are so acutely malnourished that they will die without intervention. In addition, more than a million pregnant or lactating women are anaemic affecting the feeding of their babies, and every 10 minutes a child dies from preventable diseases or war-caused starvation. Last month, UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Mark Lowcook, stated that if the fighting continues, famine could engulf the country within 3 months, with 12-13 million people (around half of the country’s population) at risk of starvation. On Tuesday 6th November, UNICEF also issued a statement warning that intense fighting is now “dangerously close to al-Thawra hospital” in Hodeidah City, placing dozens of children being treated in the hospital at “imminent risk of death” and preventing access to severely malnourished and vulnerable children.
The current capitalist world-order has washed its hands of, closed its eyes to, and been complicit in this crime against humanity. These gruesome statistics and image after image of emaciated dying children has not been enough to shake its conscience. Indeed, the western colonial powers of America and Britain have been unconscionably playing games with the lives of the children of Yemen, backing their particular regional agent in this horrific war with weapons and intelligence for the sake of selfish political and economic gains. Meanwhile the slavish regimes of Saudi Arabia and others in its blood-stained coalition have slaughtered the Muslim children of this Ummah in a war fought on the behest of their western masters. All parties in this senseless conflict have the blood of the children of Yemen on their hands!
It truly beggars belief that in the 21st century, an entire population of a state and their children can be starved to death and bombed into oblivion in full view of the world, and yet not a single government moves to their defense. Such is the morally bereft nature of the current world-order that even talk of a ceasefire is met with more ferocious fighting by both sides of this futile war, in the knowledge that there is no power today that will hold them to account for their crimes against the innocent Muslims of Yemen.
The international community have abandoned the Muslim children of Yemen, the criminal and defunct rulers of the Muslim world have abandoned the Muslim children of Yemen….but we their Ummah cannot desert them, for the Prophet ﷺ said, «الْمُسْلِمُ أَخُوْ الْمُسْلِمِ، لا يَظْلِمُهُ، وَلا يَخْذُلُهُ» “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he does not oppress him, nor does he abandon him.” This requires for us as Muslims to take this matter of the genocide against our brothers and sisters in Yemen into our own hands and to reject misplaced hopes in organisations such as the UN or western powers to solve this problem – for they are the ones who caused, fueled and ignored this horrendous crime. To save the children of Yemen requires for us as Muslims to work for a solution from our Deen, Islam, that will TRULY put an end to the living-hell facing our Ummah in Yemen, Syria, Kashmir, Myanmar, Palestine and elsewhere. To do otherwise is negligence on our part on the highest scale towards our brothers and sisters for it only prolongs and worsens their suffering.
O Muslims! Can there be any doubt that only a leadership that represents the true interests of Islam and this Ummah can save the children of Yemen from this living nightmare and provide for them protection and a good life? This leadership based purely upon Islam that fights for its cause, champions its aims, and fulfils its obligations is the Khilafah based upon the method of the Prophethood. It is this state that is obliged by Allah (swt) to be the guardian for all its citizens – Sunni or Shia, Muslim or non-Muslim – providing their basic needs, ensuring for them a dignified standard of living and guaranteeing for them protection of their blood, belief, honour and property without discrimination; for this is a political system which is for all human beings regardless of creed, ethnicity or nationality and under which all people enjoy the same rights of citizenship. We remember the great history of prosperity that Yemen enjoyed under this state such that when Umar bin Al Khattab (ra), the second Khalifah of Islam sent his envoy Muadh ibn Jabal to Yemen, he could not find anyone to accept the Zakat that had been collected from the land! This state is also a truly independent state, whose leader will take care of the affairs of his people independently and genuinely seek that which is best for them, rather than being manipulated by foreign powers. And it is this state that will do everything within its means to heal any divisions between the hearts of the believers, bringing them together as brothers under the rule of Islam. We saw for example how the Sunni and Shia Muslims in Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere lived side by side in peace in the same neighbourhoods for centuries, prayed in the same mosques, and fought together against the enemies of the state under the Islamic rule of the Khilafah (Caliphate). Therefore, if we truly want to save the children of Yemen, we must place our full efforts on the urgent establishment of the Islamic leadership of the Khilafah state upon the method of the Prophethood.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir