On May 16 in San Francisco, World Can’t Wait joined a protest demonstration of 200 people to demand Stop the War on Yemen. Members of the Yemeni community in the Bay Area (one of the largest in the U.S.) organized this street march and rally ”calling on all to support their struggle for self determination against foreign intervention and imperialist wars” and welcomed everyone.
Speaker after speaker described the hell and heartache for Yemenis living under the bombs since the Saudi-led war coalition began its merciless air campaign on March 25. Speakers called for an end to the bombing; many decried the raging civil war, but said the Saudis have taken advantage of that conflict to bomb through their own agenda (and, said some, that of the U.S. also). In these seven weeks 1,200 Yemenis have been killed in the streets of their residential neighborhoods, in their schools and hospitals and homes, and 300,000 have been driven from their homes. In a country already gripped by food shortages and starvation, now there is no clean water, families can’t find food. One man told us that just the night before, his family called to tell him planes had just bombed a maternity hospital in his city.
All of this savage destruction spearheaded by the reactionary Saudi regime enjoys the full backing of the U.S. in weapons, intelligence, and logistical support. As Revolution writer Larry Everest points out: “The U.S. and Saudis … would rather see a whole country laid to waste and thousands murdered or starved, than see the fundamentalist monarchy in Saudi Arabia or U.S. imperialist geopolitical interests and domination undermined.”
A Yemeni businessman who helped to organize the rally told us that the reality on the ground in Yemen is absolutely missing from anything the American public sees through the mass media here – we don’t see the devastation and death, but Yemenis have been able to watch satellite TV coverage to see it close up. Another man told us everyone is trying to stay in communication with their relatives, but what they tell of life under the bombs is unbearable to hear: “I am here but I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I lie awake all night — how do I know the minute after I hang up the phone if more bombs will come to kill my children?” (At least 4 other adults we talked with spoke almost identical agonized thoughts.)
World Can’t Wait urges everyone to join in with protests against this latest expansion of war and intervention in the whole region, wherever they may arise. There are large Yemeni communities in several American cities; among Yemenis, there is political controversy over what stands different forces take toward the conflicts both internal and now from the Saudis and U.S. But there is generally much outrage against the slaughter going on under the Saudi bombs. And really! Many more people who are NOT themselves Yemeni ought to be outraged too, and acting on that with protest – in the streets, and in other ways, to take a stand against this war. At Saturday’s rally, a handful of non-Yemenis joined the rally, representing several anti-war and other organizations. World Can’t Wait’s speech received a warm welcome, and many came up to meet us afterwards. The people of Yemen are our sisters and brothers, and the crimes sponsored by the U.S. government against them must stop.
Contact the San Francisco Chapter of World Can’t Wait at sfbaycantwait.net.