Yemen famine crisis is an untold, preventable tragedy
Reading the news gives me a feeling of being stuck. I feel stuck being a college student, especially in a world that has so many problems. Often I sit on the floor and feel powerless. I want to save the world, but I have classes and the T runs to Boston, not Yemen. Thus, too often my solution to big problems is to not think about them at all. How Brandesian. There is a famine in Yemen right now. , according to the New York Times. the medical health system has effectively collapsed and the country is a hairbreadth away from an outbreak of measles, cholera and diphtheria.
To you, the reader, this is not a put-down piece, and it is not a tearjerker. This is a serious consideration of political missteps occurring because those in power have put big issues on the backburner, just like many of us. Prioritization is a challenge for the college student, and sometimes the easy solutions follow one into adulthood. Capitalizing on what is manageable is productive, but forgetting that which is unmanageable is not. In International Crisis Group consultant analyst Peter Salisbury concludes that “As the country slips into unimaginable, desperate hunger, it’s important to understand that what is happening was utterly, tragically predictable. The people who should have known knew. They just had other priorities.” There are hungry people in Yemen living on the precipice of total starvation, and the United States government is playing with fire.
Making an effort to explain the complicated relationships between the U.S., Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and others would result in egregious understatement and oversimplification. Within the scope of the article, a ceasefire that would allow the U.N. to reach the innermost famine-stricken areas of the country is a hard call to make. If either side disturbs the peace in any way, it would destroy any potential of peace talks between the two sides. It is a sensitive situation — the current shaky truce implemented by Britain in the port city of Hodeida is allowing a minimal amount of supplies in. However, military action by both sides in more famine-vulnerable areas is making lawmakers nervous. Even the current agreement was extremely difficult to implement.
Britain’s previous several attempts at humanitarian aid were opposed on the same grounds. However, according to a different article in the Guardian, “British diplomats had argued that the , and were taken aback by the lack of support.” It feels too much like a privilege game borne out of “liberal-socialist poison” to say that the people in Congress are apathetic because they are affluent white men who know not what hunger feels like. However, it does appear that many countries are advocating for kicking the can down the road.
According to the same Guardian article, the U.S., China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia argued against the British resolution, while Poland, the Netherlands and Peru supported the move. France, Russia and Sweden abstained. Maybe the world is overwhelmed. Maybe hunger is an abstract concept to those making the decisions comfortably, waiting for the ideal situation to present itself. However, with an issue such as this, time is to the U.N. as caviar is to the starving people in Yemen.
In this sense, the situation lends itself to no easy solution. Especially in the face of the dumpster fire in Washington, there seem to be bigger priorities for Americans than stressing about people starving halfway around the world. I don’t know what starvation feels like, though maybe close on those days Sherman serves underdone chicken for dinner. Someone once told me that overseas states are a lost cause and that violence in Chicago is the real problem. This is a valid sentiment, but part of the privilege and responsibility of living in a large and interconnected world is having a concern for a greater number of more distant people. Live in the moment, you college student, and don’t feel guilty for eating. Be all this as it may, living in the moment is knowing what it means for people other than oneself. In this moment, the most immediate humanitarian crisis is Yemen, and it is now.