Analysis, Featured, Middle East

The World Turns a Blind Eye to the Starvation of Yemen’s Children

On Wednesday 8th February, the UN announced that it needed $2.1 billion to avert a famine in Yemen brought on by 2 years of civil war. It stated that 12 million people in this war-ravaged country were on the brink of famine and that the situation was deteriorating rapidly due to the collapse of the state’s economy and institutions and devastation of its assistance infrastructure as a result of the conflict. UN emergency relief coordinator, Stephen O-Brien told a news briefing that, “If there is no immediate action, and despite the ongoing humanitarian efforts, famine is now a real possibility for 2017.”  He added, “A staggering 7.3 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from.” According to the UN, nearly 3.3 million people in Yemen, including 2.1 million children are acutely malnourished and 500,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnourishment. There has been a 63% rise in child malnutrition in a year and a child under 5 dies every 10 minutes in the country because of preventable causes.

Pictures of the emaciated children and babies of Yemen, their bones protruding through their skin due to starvation, have flooded the media over the past few days. Yet, despite the fact that there are millions of children across the country who are suffering the same fate as those in these images, it is not enough to shake the conscience of the colonial governments of Britain and the US or their slavish regimes and groups in the Muslim lands, to cease their political war games in Yemen driven by their selfish interests. Indeed, these governments have been stripped of their humanity due to their conscienceless capitalist values, having no qualms about continuing this brutal war which is subjecting the children of Yemen to a man-made humanitarian crisis of existential proportions – all in the name of battling political foes to exert their control over the country. To them the death of thousands of innocent children is acceptable collateral damage to secure their political and economic interests. Indeed, the children of Yemen have become political fodder to feed the insatiable appetites of these greedy capitalist governments for power in this resource-filled land.

Even before the war, poverty-stricken Yemen was already importing 90% of its food products from abroad. However, this importation was stalled because of the conflict and the naval embargo by the Saudi-led coalition, leaving millions of Muslims and their children at the brink of starvation. Furthermore, according to the UN, 19.4 million Yemenis do not have access to clean water or sanitation, making the environment ripe for the spread of infectious diseases, with children usually being the primary victims.

Furthermore, in the UK, despite calls from human rights groups for the British government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia which have been shown to have been directly used in raids on Yemen, the government has refused to budge. Indeed, since the beginning of the war, the UK government has granted licenses for £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, ignoring the fact that the Saudi-led coalition has bombed schools and hospitals during this Western-backed war. They are clearly unconcerned with blood money from the murder of innocents filling the coffers of the country and the bank accounts of the arms industry.

Meanwhile, the treacherous Saudi regime, along with all the governments of the Muslim world who are part of the Saudi-led coalition are willingly slaughtering or starving the Muslim children of Yemen, in this proxy war that they are slavishly fighting on behalf of their British or US masters. Indeed, all sides in this shameful war share the blame for the humanitarian disaster that has befallen the children of Yemen. They have sold their souls to their western backers and spilt the pure blood of thousands of Muslims – the life of each of whom the Prophet ﷺ described as more sacred than the Ka’abah and its surroundings.

As the Ummah of Rasulillah ﷺ that Allah سبحانه وتعالى describes as the best nation upon this earth, we must surely ask ourselves, how did we reach such a low point in our existence where Muslims are starving and slaughtering the children of other Muslims to please the enemies of Islam? Surely Allah سبحانه وتعالى will ask us about what our eyes have witnessed and how we responded to this calamity. This man-made human disaster and war between Muslims is the direct result of a world that has been deprived for 9 decades of the mercy and justice that comes with the rule of Islam under the system of Allah, the Khilafah based upon the method of the Prophethood. This state will remove these despicable Muslim rulers who have turned the hearts of Muslim brother against Muslim brother for shallow nationalistic or sectarian purposes, and it will unify the believers as one hand against the enemies of the Deen, mobilizing its army to protect the blood of the Ummah and the lives of its children. Under its rule, the children of this Ummah will enjoy a life filled with security, prosperity and guardianship, just as the children of Yemen and the rest of the Muslim lands once enjoyed under the just rule of the Khilafah of the past.

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُم فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).”

(Al-Nur: 55)


Dr. Nazreen Nawaz

Director of the Women’s Section in the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir

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