Breaking al-Saud’s blockade – Yemen’s unspoken heroes

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” - Nelson Mandela

Yemen I must say has displayed much courage before the fire that was lit against its land and against its people by the grand Wahhabist Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For almost two years now, Southern Arabia has bathed in the blood of the innocent so that Riyadh could play grand master of a region which ambition has been to proclaim its independence from tyranny.

It is likely you were never told that Yemen was declared war to out of an imperious need to maintain Southern Arabia under the radical yoke of a theocracy so violent and reactionary that its elite holds right of life and death over its subjects.

But Yemen has already dreamt itself free from the House of Saud and its terrible Wahhabi clergy … and so, from behind the curtain of your indifference and media-induced coma, a nation has rooted itself in resistance, anchored in the knowledge that victory lies in the proclamation of truth against tyranny.

Yemen you see was taught freedom long ago … Yemen’s allegiance was always to those who seek justice and not enslavement.

It is slavery and humiliation which await Yemen should its people cower before the blade of Wahhabism … and so a people rose in resistance and in defiance – the last free men of Arabia!

Yemen you must now know sits together a grand wasteland and a moratorium. Of its 26 million souls over 23 million are in dire need of humanitarian aid, millions of children are suffering acute malnutrition and diseases have all but ravages those most vulnerable.

War has hit Yemen in many great abominable waves, yes one in particular has stood out cruellest of all: Yemen’s humanitarian blockade.

Back in November 2015 Hussain Al Bukhaiti, a pro-Houthi activist said in an interview: "With the help of Washington, Saudi Arabia is working to destroy Yemen' social and religious fabric, systematically targeting Zaidi Muslims, all the while telling the world they want to help Yemen become more democratic. This is a lie! The US wants to control Yemen and it is using the Saudis to do destroy all resistance."

To assuage Riyadh, the United Nations has agreed to place this poorest nation of Southern Arabia under complete lock and key, forbidding any and all imports to offer relief to civilian populations. For 21 long months Yemen has withered away by design. Yemen’s famine, Yemen’s suffering, and Yemen’s hopelessness were organised to serve Saudi Arabia’s agenda in the region – a despicable new weapon of war, a new treachery played out to break a nation’s resolve to exercise political self-determination.

But there are those whose determination has proven greater than any blockade … step in the Mona Relief Organisation, Yemen’s very own blockade runners.

A Yemeni-based grassroots charitable organisation for humanitarian relief and development, the Mona Relief Org. is one of the very few organisations to deliver critical aid to war-stricken Yemenis, at a time when Yemeni’s feel they have been abandoned by the international community.

Independently run by two friends Fatik Abdullah Al-Rodaini a Yemeni Journalist in Sana’a and Dr Riaz S Karim a humanitarian in London, those two inspiring characters have radically changed Yemen humanitarian landscape.

Bold, outspoken and fiercely committed to serving those whose voices were stolen away, Dr Karim and Al-Rodaini have been hailed Yemen’s unspoken heroes – the carrier of social resistance and community spirit worthy of recognition.

Having witnessed first-hand how their work and dedication offered hope when there was none, I cannot help but decry mainstream’s apathy towards those men and women who have fought tooth and nail for a people to be given the courtesy of their dignity.

Born out of necessity in April 2015, the Mona Relief Organisation has already made its mark in Yemen by offering the poorest and most vulnerable critical aid.

“While most relief agencies remain unable to do anything due to the complete land, air and naval blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and their allies, and also being bogged down by politics, forced to play a game of cat and mouse with security issues in order to keep their operations going, the Mona Relief organisation has defiantly outsourced its funding, calling on private donations to prevent any form of political hijacking,” Dr Karim explained from London.

“The Mona Relief organisation has been defiant and adamant that no Saudi-run blockade or other logistic impediments would keep their team from distributing the food, medicine in Yemen. The Mona ground team in Yemen goes where no organisation wishes to go and delivers much needed critical aid in the most difficult of circumstances and most of the time under non-stop bombardment,” stressed Fatik Al Rodaini from his office in Sana’a.

Only recently, the Mona Relief distributed critical aid to thousands of people in one of the poorest cities in Yemen: the western seaport of Hodeidah, a famine flash-point.

To date, the Mona Relief has been able to feed over 7 Million people. Where most charities have been bogged down by logistics, Yemen’s blockade runners have braved Saudi Arabia’s targeted bombing of aid convoy, al-Qaeda’s threats and resigned-President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s death squads.

When distributing aid becomes an act of resistance, courage becomes a matter of being!

And though Yemen continues to occupy the headlines ... somewhat, few media have ever bothered look beyond Saudi Arabia’s punitive narrative to recognise the sheer breadth and depth of this one nation’s humanitarian catastrophe.

Brought to its knees by 21 months of war, Yemenis have had to contend with horrific living conditions - abandoned and shunned by the international community as officials have argued politics and power-sharing agreement as millions stand destitute.

Yemen now lies an institutional and economic wasteland. Poverty in Yemen is not a choice, it is not the tale of a people who because of a lack of will or ambition allowed themselves to sink in the black hole of misery.

Poverty in Yemen is an engineered plague - one which was brought upon by years of latent colonialism and a violent military campaign.

It is time for the world to open its eyes and speak up against Yemen’s war.

It is time for those whispers of Resistance to become the only voice to be heard.

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