COLUMN: The humanitarian disaster in Yemen should be the biggest story in the world right now


Graves being dug in Yemen after a bus was bombed, killing 40 children. Courtesy Photo | Al Jazeera

President Donald Trump is currently supporting some of the most heinous war crimes in the world today. It's too bad most people haven't heard about it.

The mainstream media has bombarded our senses with endless coverage of Trump’s scandals relating to Russia, Stormy Daniels and all his mean tweets. These outlets need to get serious, and turn their attention to the crisis in Yemen.

In what has been described as the worst humanitarian crisis today by the United Nations, the Saudi government has been supporting the Yemenis government in the country’s civil war since 2015. It has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, a large scale cholera outbreak, and has brought the country to the brink of mass starvation.

The conflict began as war between Houthi rebels, a Zaydi Shiite group, and the government of Yemen controlled by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. After the Houthis took over Yemen’s capital, a Saudi-led coalition aided Hadi by starting bombing campaigns in Houthi controlled territories, and creating a naval blockade around the country.

These airstrikes have been proven to be careless and deadly, as civilian centers have been targeted time after time by the Saudi coalition. Their targets include hospitals, weddings, markets, and schools. In fact, one of the latest (and most devastating) developments from this brutal conflict happened on Aug. 9th, where a school bus was struck by a Saudi bomb, killing 40 children. As of 2017, anywhere between 1,000, to 10,000 civilians have died from these airstrikes.

The entire time, the United States government has been aiding the Saudi coalition in this conflict, because the Saudi government is one of the United States’ top allies. The U.S. helps refuel Saudi aircrafts during their bombing raids, and provides intelligence to the Saudis as well. The U.S. has continued to do this, despite the ongoing war crimes the Saudi coalition keeps committing.

Even worse, it’s the U.S. that’s supplying the weapons to the Saudis. In 2017, President Trump announced a $110 billion dollar weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, and one earlier this worth $670 million (which included 6,700 missiles). And we know these missiles have been used in the massacres, since bomb shells reveal they were made in the U.S. The U.S. are selling cluster bombs to the Saudi Government, even though they have banned by 119 countries for their reputation of killing civilians.

These airstrikes only begin to scratch the surface of this merciless conflict. I mentioned earlier that the Saudi coalition are enforcing a naval and air blockade around the country, restricting supplies from getting into the country. This has resulted in a dreadful famine, with some in the U.N. claiming it could be one of the worst famines in decades. As of 2017, 7 million people in Yemen were at risk of famine, and around 50,000 children died that year from starvation, with around 130 children dying every day.

But the blockade has another disastrous effect on Yemen: a large-scale cholera outbreak. The airstrikes and warfare have devastated Yemen’s water treatment facilities. On top of that, the blockade has prevented patients from receiving medicines, and proper medical care. As of 2017,  a million people in the country had contracted cholera, and caused 2,200 people to die from it.

It is completely forgivable if you’re now just now hearing about this, since the mainstream media has done an appalling job of covering this tragedy. Despite clear U.S. support of the Saudis, and their atrocities against Yemen, there has barely been a whimper in mainstream media outlets like MSNBC. Instead, it’s been a constant barrage of segments about the alleged Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, and Trump’s affair with porn star, Stormy Daniels. And I have the numbers to prove this.

According to a Salon article published on July 25, MSNBC made zero segments dedicated to Yemen within the past year. Yet, they were able to find time for 455 segments dedicated to Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels.

That is straight up shameful and disgusting. A story that holds no policy discussion, or any significant impact on the average American, gets nonstop coverage, while a genocide with U.S. support gets nothing.

The Yemen tragedy hasn't faired much better against the Russia saga either. FAIR is an organization that studies bias in the media with detail. They investigated MSNBC’s recent coverage of the situation in Yemen, and what they found was frustrating, and downright heartbreaking. During the second half of 2017, the words  “Yemen,” “Yemeni” or “Yemenis” was mentioned in only 14 segments, and just in passing, while the words “Russia,” “Russian” or “Russians” were mentioned in 693 segments.

It is funny to me because the media is obsessed with the idea of President Trump colluding with a foreign government, but not the one he is colluding with-- Saudi Arabia.

Trump has direct financial ties to Saudi Arabia, yet the mainstream media is choosing to ignore it. Trump opened eight new businesses in Saudi Arabia during his presidential campaign. Saudi officials have spent over $270,000 at Trump’s hotels in Oct. of 2016, to March of 2017. 

Funny enough, that was only a few months before that $110 billion dollar weapons deal was approved. This is clear corruption, and collusion, but there isn’t a peep from cable news. It honestly astounds me that this story isn't the biggest one the planet right now.

Now, I’ll give credit where it’s due, Chris Hayes from MSNBC did a great segment about the bus bombing that killed 40 children. And CNN, who has been slightly better at covering Yemen, also did a fantastic segment blasting the military industrial complex. But why did it have to reach that point for them to notice? How many more children will have to die before the media will continue to pay attention?

I’m not here to claim the Houthi rebels are good in any sense, and  I’m not here to say the U.S. is responsible for every nasty thing that happens in the world. 

What I am saying is that the mainstream media owes the people who are suffering in Yemen more coverage of their disastrous situation. I feel anyone with a shred of basic humanity, no matter what their party affiliation is, can agree to that.