Saturday, June 16, 2018

A vigil for Yemen at Tompkins Square Park

Today from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a group of activists will hold a vigil on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place to raise awareness of the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. (The group had been holding the weekly vigils in Union Square, and recently moved to Tompkins Square Park.)

Felton Davis, one of the organizers, provided some background:

At the weekly vigil for the people of Yemen, we display signs about children starving or dying of cholera. This past week, as the battle for the port city of Hodeidah began, people started saying that the situation in Yemen was an emergency.

But for a whole year — mostly at Union Square and now at Tompkins Square Park — we have been saying that it's an emergency. Delegations of activists have descended upon the offices of elected officials, and tried to get through to them that it's an emergency. Fifteen of us blocked the UN missions of Saudi Arabia and the United States on Human Rights Day in December, and were arrested, saying that it's an emergency.

When will the emergency be over, when Yemen ceases to exist as a nation, and is carved up by whoever prevails in the war? Is there any sort of less drastic way that the emergency could be dealt with? What room is there in all this for compassion — neutral compassion — and respect for the value of human life?

For further reading:
The Next Disaster in Yemen, The Atlantic

Humanitarian Crisis Worsens in Yemen After Attack on Port, The New York Times

What Happens if Mass Starvation Takes Hold in Yemen?, The New York Times

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