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Making fun of the shallow

Yup, it is time to have fun and the Guardian got me here. They gave us 8 hours ago (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/02/uk-must-do-more-to-end-yemen-conflict). And that set in motion my need to make fun of people like Ruth Tanner and optionally Winnie Byanyima as well.

The laughter starts at the headline ‘UK must do more to end Yemen conflict’; you see it implies that the UK had done any they have not. Now, in defence here I state that it would have been hard to accomplish anything, and the stage of “it’s time for the government to respect the ruling of the appeal court earlier this year and immediately halt all arms sales to Saudi“, and as we see this letter from Ruth Tanner, Head of humanitarian campaigns, Oxfam we now see Oxfam as the joke they might need to be regarded as.

The issue is a large one, in the first, there is no mention of Iran in any of this, Iran has been arming the Houthi forces, they have been directly involved in actions into and against Saudi Arabia. In the second, we have seen humanitarian aid being stopped as Houthi forces took control of food and aid for their fighters in earlier months. All elements not mentioned in this shallow 224 word essay (an essay at best) by the head of humanitarian campaigns Ruth Tanner.

It gets to be a lot less entertaining (not for me though) when we see in other sources that Yemen foreign minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadhrami blames Iran for war, whilst he also blames the UAE for their choices in this escalating location, I will try to steer clear of that small part as it does impact, but not to the degree that allows us to make fun of Oxfam. The fact that Oxfam sails away from the fact that Houthi forces had stopped and interfered with humanitarian aid and relief is just too funny to ignore, especially as Ruth Tanner makes no mention of that part. It’s like hearing Jimmy Carr say: “I sometimes get love sick, well they call it Chlamydia“, and as we see that ‘wisdom’ styled by Ruth Tanner: “Let’s end the Yemeni conflict, let’s call it: ‘stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia’

The fact that Iran is still sending missiles, drones and other goods to Yemeni Houthi will only lengthen the entire matter and it will get additional thousands killed. If there was more consistent support for Saudi Arabia this entire matter would have ended 2 years ago. Yes, TWO YEARS AGO! As such we could make the case that Oxfam (and several other parties and players) are directly linked to the increase suffering in Yemen. We could have a go at Ruth Tanner with the additional question “Was it that time of the month for you to rely on ‘to push for a nationwide ceasefire’ whilst ignoring 50% of the involved parties here?” We have clearly seen that you have a lacking grasp of the entire matter, but you were clear enough to show your lack of the matter in a 224 word letter whilst the entire matter is a lot more complex than that. In addition we can ask Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam why she did not reign in Ruth Tanner when she could have, or better as she SHOULD have done a much better job in informing the audience, which in light of the focal point of Oxfam “alleviation of global poverty” beckons the question why global poverty is a focal point in a war torn nation when there are focal points that Oxfam (according to their mission statement) should focus on; in this case Madagascar, Comoros, South Sudan, Liberia, Mozambique, Niger, Malawi, Congo, Central African Republic and Burundi come to mind, no, we see nothing of them, just a shallow completely unacceptable piece on Yemen comes to print. In this, the Google search gives us: ‘”Ruth Tanner” Oxfam’ with as a result the hatched in the Guardian and after that a mention in the Evening Standard (July 19th), the Telegraph with one small paragraph (June 19th), a few quoted and requoted issues the day before and then the Independent on April 6th. I reckon with that lack of visibility she has a larger problem to deal with, adding what some might regard as a ‘load of bollocks’ will not (and should not) help her.

All whilst last Sunday evening we got “Houthi rebels used civilian infrastructure to launch a ballistic missile at Saudi Arabia on Sunday” (at present unconfirmed), in the stage where the Houthi forces had stated that they would no longer fire into Saudi Arabia in the week before, a promise that was hollow at best. Yet in all this and in all these escalations Oxfam was all about ‘stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia’, as I personally see it they need to get a clue to comprehend or merely look at the well-being of cows in Applegarth, Aughton, Bilton and Calderdale. They might be able to stop the plight of cows (if there are any).

I agree that it is relatively easy to make fun of any charity, and for the most I never do this, yet to see a letter this short sighted getting attention in the Guardian made me want to step up my game (to deal with my own irritation and frustration). The fact that the clearly established involvement by Iran in all this was not part of the consideration and neither was the Houthi attacks on humanitarian aid in the past made it essential, again a Jimmy Carr comes to mind: “I told my best friend that I fucked his wife and got her pregnant. That cured his hiccups!” Yup, the total absence of subtlety tends to give light to the need of what cures a person (hiccups being the obvious issue here).

As we end this go at Oxfam, I wonder if they wizen up and have a realistic look at the events out there. Especially in light of the situation that was reported one month ago: ‘The UN fund for Yemen has received only a third of the funds needed; most vaccination programmes have already stopped as a result‘, and even as Al Jazeera gives us: “Abu Dhabi and Riyadh pledged $500m each but have so far failed to pay up as humanitarian disaster worsens” the underlying issue is not with these two players, the entire setting of “the UN and humanitarian partners were promised $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis. To date, less than half of this amount has been received” gives view of a much larger failing, more important, as CNN gave us ‘CNN exposes systematic abuse of aid in Yemen‘ with the added “according to UN reports and CNN reporting on the ground, some of that food is being stolen by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, on a scale far greater than has been reported before“, as well as “humanitarian and local sources said that aid was now being held up because local tribal leaders associated with the Houthi government were blocking its work” (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/middleeast/yemen-houthi-aid-investigation-kiley/index.html). In all this there has been a massive failing on several levels and Oxfam merely whips it off with a ‘Let’s end the Yemeni conflict, let’s call it: ‘stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia’‘, which makes Oxfam come across as a joke and I have no issues whatsoever to have a go at Oxfam, especially when the stage of the matter is a lot larger, as we see in the quote: “Last year the World Food Programme publicly complained that about 1,200 metric tons of food was “diverted” — diplomatic speak for “stolen

The WFP said, asserting there had been fraud. As well as falsified records, the WFP said it discovered unauthorized people were given food and other supplies were being sold in markets in the city. In all this when we see the stage we see David Beasley, executive Director of the World Food Programme is in as we take notice of: “Beasley wrote to the leadership of the Houthis, threatening to stop collaboration with the Houthi government-linked charity blamed for the problems, and to cut off aid altogether. “WFP has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and corruption, and we cannot allow any interference from any person or entity … including from your officials,” the letter states. The immediate problem was addressed when the Houthis and WFP agreed on a new system of registration and biometric verification to stop abuses. But that’s not yet working.

I feel completely validated in using Oxfam as a punching bag. Even as you hide it in some letter to get secondary exposure through the Guardian (and optionally other sources too), there is a line that describes a stage of stupidity and hypocrisy that as I personally see it Ruth Tanner is in and as I personally see it should force Winnie Byanyima into action as fast as possible.

So have fun and make sure you get all the information when you feel hurt or angry, because this event clearly voices the face that Oxfam is eagerly willing to keep you uninformed as you react in emotion on events that are seemingly reportedly taking place.

 

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Media, call it as it is!

I saw the news yesterday and I initially decided to ignore it. It was not really ‘news’ news if you know what I mean. It is sad, it is not a surprise and it was always going to happen. The dice were rolled and the children in Yemen rolled two ones. Some call it snake eyes, but the impact is severe, you automatically lose with that roll and that was the state of things from the very beginning. We start with CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/02/middleeast/yemen-famine-amal-hussain-intl/index.html). We see the direct truth with “The three-year conflict between the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis has devastated Yemen and reportedly has killed at least 10,000 people“. CNN does not mention that Saudi Arabia got involved when the deposed elected president called for help, no we do not get that. We get “the international furor over the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul“. We get no information that Iran and Hezbollah have directly intervened in making Humanitarian aid utterly impossible there. One Quote gives us: “Yemen’s information minister called on the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah supporting Houthi rebels, insisting the group’s activity will prolong Yemen’s war. On Sunday, Moammar Eryani said Hezbollah was providing the Houthis with logistical and military assistance, turning Beirut’s southern suburbs — known collectively as Dahiyah — into a centre for media attacks against the Arab-led coalition“, in this CNN decided not to go there. We also get Yemen’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Marwan Ali Noman giving us: “the Yemeni suffering is caused by the Houthi militias, which are executing the agenda of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party in the region. He added that the militias practiced all kinds of murder, torture and forced displacement in all Yemeni cities that they invade“. CNN had no issue using the Khashoggi incident to present an anti-Saudi Arabia view, but fell silent on the actual issues in Yemen, yes: ‘That was CNN!

The New York Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/world/middleeast/yemen-starvation-amal-hussain.html), and after that blazingly stages “The devastating war in Yemen has gotten more attention recently as outrage over the killing of a Saudi dissident in Istanbul has turned a spotlight on Saudi actions elsewhere“, yet it merely gives one mention of Iran in: “Saudi officials have defended their actions, citing rockets fired across their border by the Houthis, an armed group professing Zaidi Islam, an offshoot of Shiism, that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy, views as a proxy for its regional rival, Iran“, and in all this we see ZERO mention of Hezbollah, is that not strange? Neither is the part where the Firing of missiles is a direct result of Hezbollah and Houthi forces firing missiles into Saudi Arabia towards civilian targets. One source giving us that as per yesterday over 200 missiles have been fired into Saudi Arabia. Would you not think that this element is equally important? Let’s be honest it all started with the death of a toddler, but that was not what it was really about for the New York Times, was it? Yet they do give us “THE SAUDI COALITION IS NOT solely to blame for Yemen’s food crisis“, yet goes a little short in pointing on where blame, a much larger blame lies. It lies with Hezbollah, the tool and puppet of Iran provoking Saudi Arabia as much as possible.

The New York Times also gives us: “Tensions reached a climax this summer when the head of the United Nations migration agency was forced to leave Sana after clashing with the Houthi administration. In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption, and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“, it is a stage where Houthi officials are now enriched. It is a stage where we see that halting towards humanitarian aid and preventing the other 20,000 children from dying too. In this we see one additional quote that is identical in nearly all the newspapers I saw: “In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“. My question becomes, was it an interview or was it merely a presentation by Hussain al-Ezzi finding a moment to state: ‘I’m not a crook!‘, which he probably learned form an American, namely former president Richard Nixon to be more precise.

The part that most publications are not giving us is that the death toll of children is roughly 130 children per day, in 2017 50,000 children died (Source: Al Jazeera).

The setting is not a nice one, on neither side. The Saudi Coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. Al Jazeera also gives us: “Iran has denied arming the Houthi rebels, but the US military said it intercepted arms shipments from Iran to Yemen this March, claiming it was the third time in two months that this had occurred. Iranian officials have also suggested they may send military advisers to support the Houthis“, yet we have seen an utter lack of larger political activities by many nations other than the USA against Iran and Hezbollah, exactly how does that add up?

I particularly liked the quote “Commentators in the Arab Gulf States often claim that Iran now controls four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa“. I like it because it is the first part that gives the light of Iran, of what Iran is trying to achieve. The stage is not merely Hezbollah; it is not merely Turkey who has skin in that game too. It is the stage where we see the foundation of what Iran would call a holy war in defence of their sites. We are informed via “For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi’ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say” and most of the western media is not even trying to look into these parts, it is actively avoiding any coverage on Iran. From that side we do get “The European Union is trying to preserve a version of the nuclear deal, but the recent incidents in Denmark and France have heightened the tensions.” In this it seems that Denmark is the strongest pusher against the Iranian actions, with the aid of France. We are all treated to the arrest event that was about a failed operation to bomb a June rally organised by Paris-based Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), it is a stage of oppositions are to be killed, no negativity on Iran in Europe. This stage is now labelled by Iran as: “Iranian officials view the claims as designed to derail Europe’s efforts to salvage the JCPOA, particularly the planned European economic package for Iran“, the partial impact for now is that the Nordic parties who were initially extremely in favour of sustaining the JCPOA, are now less likely to fully support it.

What happened to the girl?

Well, the question is who cares? The girl is dead now! A photographer got his Pulitzer price, humanitarian aid in Yemen is a joke and the players behind the screen are all playing their own game. On both the Saudi and Iranian side there has been too little on humanitarian aid and that part must be clearly shown. Even as Saudi Arabia is much more on the defensive side of what they do, the clear staging where the work of Iran and Hezbollah is ignored by the media justifies the current position that Saudi Arabia is taking up. In all this the UN has blood on its hands too, even as it is through inactions. That part we get from the Irish Times (at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-s-war-in-yemen-yields-hunger-and-devastation-1.3681488). They give us: “Only two famines have been officially declared by the United Nations in the past 20 years, in Somalia and South Sudan. An UN-led assessment due in mid-November will determine how close Yemen is to becoming the third“. Yet the Independent and a few other papers gave us almost a year ago: “More than 50,000 children expected to die of starvation and disease by end of year“. So I would think that the threshold for famine had been long passed. Would you not agree?

Save the Children gave us a little more a year ago, they also gave us: “an estimated 400,000 children will need treatment for acute malnutrition this year, the charity said“, at what point did it require an additional fifty weeks to get the label ‘famine’ attached?

Yemen, once the poorest country in the Middle East is about to become an extinct one. It happened as some nations were overactive in that region and the others are guilty through total inaction on almost every level. So even as we might feel for the title ‘Starving girl who became symbol of Yemen crisis dies‘, we should not be allowed to do so, our inactions give us that. And as the news staging goes on with Al Jazeera giving us: ‘US calls for the end to the Saudi-backed war in Yemen‘, we see again that the absence of Iran and Hezbollah in that equation might give the Saudi coalition additional fuel to continue. It might have been different if 100% of all support to Lebanon would have been halted until all Hezbollah troops have left Yemen, but Europe is not willing to go that far, are they? There are plenty of sanctions on Iran and I am not sure what else could be achieved there, yet barring Lebanon from EVERY negotiation table until Hezbollah is no longer in Yemen has not been attempted has it? It would force Iran to either engage of step back. In the second case the Yemen situation would be quickly resolved in the first case we would have a clear theatre of war with Iran, a war we might desperate need. Not for the fun of it, but until the hurt can be brought to Iran, they will continue their proxy war until they get lucky. Statistically speaking that will happen and the consequence of that will be a lot worse and it could have been prevented if the inactive players would have acted when there was a chance to limit the damage, for that it is far too late and the death on one 7 year old girl is merely the start for an optional 300,000 children to die within the next 30 weeks. Now you tell me, when we get to the 1st of June 2019 and you wake up to the statistics that in Yemen 453,261 children will have died at that point from starvation and disease, how happy will you feel? Will you have that Coffee with an Éclair? Will you have the steak or the fish that evening, optionally with grape juice? I cannot blame you for not caring, but I can point you out on the hypocrisy you let happen, the stage you allowed for and the media giving us half a story again and again is equally guilty in all this.

It is not merely an imperfect world. This world is descending from bad to worse at the same speed that is currently killing the children in Yemen. I think that we can soon state that we stopped being humanitarians in 2019, so feel free to box that thought wrap it in shiny paper with a bow and place it under the Christmas tree. Ignore that package and watch another version of a Christmas carol on TV whilst you deceive yourself that you are such a better person than Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Bah! Humbug!

P.S. Yet should you genuinely care (and you could optionally suffer to lose a few coins) then click on the link below and make a donation to Save the Children by pressing the donate button. You might just be the hero of the day and safe a life that way.

 

 

 

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