The Continued Attacks on Yemen

The Continued Attacks on Yemen & The Heroic Medical Volunteers

Message from Caleb Maupin in Tehran

Daily activities in the fishing port in al-Hodeidah, Yemen.
Daily activities in the fishing port in al-Hodeidah, Yemen.

As has already been widely reported, the mission of the Iran Shahed Rescue Ship to Yemen was unsuccessful. Massive Saudi bombing of the Hodiedah port, and 15 hired Sudanese mercenaries with rocket launchers, made delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen impossible. The 2,500 tons of medical supplies, food, and water have been handed over to the World Food Program, because Saudi terrorism has made it impossible for us to deliver them.

In the aftermath of our ship going to Djibouti, and my subsequent return to Tehran, the Saudi bombing campaign has only increased. The total number of Yemenis now dead is estimated to be well over 4,000. The Saudi bombers, being refueled by the US air force and directed by US satellites, are specifically targeting the region of Hodiedah, where we intended to deliver the food and supplies.

yemen-bombings-wbaAccording to the reports I have seen, the port of Hodiedah has been “completely destroyed,” after days of relentless bombing. In addition to bombing the port, the Saudi airstrikes have targeted a Medical University in Hodiedah. 12 young Yemenis, who were doing nothing other than sitting in class, studying to become doctors or nurses, have been killed. Scores of others were wounded.

How can it be morally justified to kill innocent people in such a manner? How can the Saudi military and its US allies, or any rational human being, justify slaughtering non-combatant medical students?

It has occurred to me that this horrendous act was probably retaliation against the Red Crescent Society of Yemen, because it dared collaborate with the Red Crescent Society of Iran, in planning the delivery of humanitarian aid from our ship. This speculation fills me with extreme feelings of grief, sadness, and anger.

Risking Their Lives To Help The Oppressed

A boy and his sisters watch graffiti artists spray on a wall, commemorating the victims who were killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, May 18, 2015. Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Yemen's Shiite rebels resumed early on Monday in the southern port city of Aden after a five-day truce expired amid talks on the war-torn country's future that were boycotted by the rebels. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
A boy and his sisters watch graffiti artists spray on a wall, commemorating the victims who were killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, May 18, 2015. Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Shiite rebels resumed early on Monday in the southern port city of Aden after a five-day truce expired amid talks on the war-torn country’s future that were boycotted by the rebels. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

The situation forces me to think of the many Red Crescent Society volunteers who are currently in Yemen. As a wealthy US backed autocratic kingdom unleashes its forces of destruction on one of the poorest countries on earth, they are stepping up and doing what must be done. The medical volunteers who are aiding the people in Yemen right now are some of the greatest human beings ever to walk the earth. They are risking their lives each day to bring aid to those who are in great danger.

While I was on the Iran Shahed Rescue Ship, I had the honor of having many in-depth conversations with Red Crescent Society volunteers. Many of these men have spent years working in international operations. These men have been all over the world, throughout the Middle East, and to Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and they have sometimes put themselves in very dangerous situations.

One the volunteers I spoke to told me his life story. He described how his two older brothers died in the Iraq-Iran war during the 1980s. He told of how his mother had psychological trauma for the rest of her life, after losing her two oldest sons in this horrific war. He told of going to Iraq in the aftermath of the US invasion, as a Red Crescent Society volunteer. In Iraq, he was captured and spent months being held prisoner by an armed faction. He was eventually able to escape in the chaos of the fighting.

Because I do not speak Farsi, I was unable to communicate with many of the men on board. If I had, I am sure I would heard many more amazing stories.

When it was announced that our ship was unable to go to Yemen, these men were filled with bitter disappointment. They wanted to go to Hodiedah and help those who needed them. They felt that they had a moral responsibility to get to Yemen. They were so let down, not to be able to do as they had set out to do.

These men are from a different country, half a world way from where I was born in Ohio. They have a different religion and a different political perspective than I do. Regardless, I still hold them up in the highest admiration. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to accompany them for two weeks.

Especially as a someone from the United States, a country that has so much blood on its hand, it means so much that I was trusted and welcomed onboard.

If more people in the world were like these brave men, and fewer people were like King Salman, Barack Obama, or Benjamin Netanyahu, the world would be a much different place.

The actions of the Red Crescent Society volunteers point toward a side of human nature that the apologists for capitalism and neo-liberalism simply do not acknowledge. Within the human spirit, there is a drive to help others, or “stand with the oppressed” as Shia Muslims put it.

Though it is not rewarded in a global economic set-up defined by profits, it has not been, and will never be driven from the human psyche. Beyond the bombs and cruise missiles, there is hope for a better world.

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Editor’s note: If you would like to sign a petition asking that the Saudi Prince who as Minister of Defence is responsible for this onslaught be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), please click HERE.

 

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