The Mona Relief organization – A Yemeni-based charity for humanitarian relief and development – managed earlier this September to deliver valuable aid to war-stricken Yemenis, at a time when many feel they have been abandoned by the international community.
Independently run by Fatik Al Rodaini in Yemen (a journalist and human rights activist) and Dr Riaz Karim in the UK, the Mona Relief organization has already made its mark in Yemen, offering the poorest and most most vulnerable a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.
While most relief agencies remain bogged down by politics, forced to play a game of cat and mouse with wealthy patrons in order to keep their operations going, the Mona Relief organization has defiantly outsourced its funding, calling on private donations to prevent any form of political hijacking.
A former official at the UN, Dr Karim has said to be determined to offer Yemen and all Yemenis the future they deserve – one filled with hope and joy.
With Eid Al Adha being only a few days away, the Mona Relief organization was adamant no Saudi-run blockade or other logistic impediments would keep their team from distributing the food, medicine and other aid they had reserved for the city of Hodeidah.
One of the poorest city of Yemen, Hodeida seaport has suffered a great deal under Saudi bombing.
Most of the city infrastructures have been laid to waste, leaving tens of thousands to fend for themselves in the harshest conditions possible.
While relief was only temporary, the Mona Relief organization managed to raise a few smiles.
No child should ever go a day without a meal. You can make a difference. Donate to the Yemen Organization for Humanitarian Relief and Development.
Mona Relief’s current project in Yemen is making a difference by distributing food by its own initiatives and collaborations.
In our world today, nearly 16,000 children die every day because of starvation, which is essentially one child every five seconds.
So count to five and somewhere a child is now dead, by the time you reach 60 a dozen children will have died from hunger.
These children are dying because some of their most basic needs are not being met.
Either the family is too poor, or they are suffering as a result of war.
Nearly 870 million people on our planet are chronically undernourished, and sadly, so many of those affected are children, whose minds and bodies are denied the sustenance needed to grow into healthy, productive adults.
More than 1,000 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip sustained permanent disabilities during last year’s 51-day Israeli military onslaught, according to Defense for Children International (DCI), an NGO devoted to children’s rights.
In a report entitled “Operation Protective Edge: A war waged on Gaza’s Children”, released on Tuesday, DCI’s Palestine unit said last year’s Israeli offensive had led to the injury of more than11,000 Palestinians, including 1,000 permanently disabled by the violence.
The children’s rights organization also noted that, a full year after the Israeli assault, thousands of victims — including a number of children — continued to suffer from their injuries and the attendant psychological trauma.
The Gaza Strip, with some 1.9 million inhabitants, is known to be the world’s most densely populated area.
On July 7, 2014, Israel launched a major offensive against the coastal territory — dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” — which finally ended on August 26, 2015.
Over 51 days of fierce bombardment by air, land and sea, more than 2,147 Palestinians were killed, including578 children, 489 women and 102 elderly persons.
Another 11,000 Palestinians were injured during the onslaught, 3,303 of whom were children, according to a report by the Palestinian Health Ministry.
“ORDINARY PEOPLE LIVING THROUGH EXTRAORDINARY TIMES”
While academics in the field of (forced) migration are more often than not aware of these complexities, public perceptions are often skeptical of narratives that recognize refugees as people ‘like you and I’ who find themselves in dire circumstances. At first glance, the difference between the two narratives seems marginal. However, acknowledging forced migrants as people with knowledge, abilities, and strength does not delegitimize their claim for asylum and refuge, on the contrary, it will make their case the more pressing if they are seen as who they are, rather than who they are expected to be. This perspective challenges predominant notions of passivity and inertia which are prolific in most media and inform political action. UNHCR’s 2015 World Refugee Day slogan “Ordinary people living through extraordinary times” could mean a step in the right direction. Despite this positive potential, the aim of such strategies cannot be the uncritical celebration of ‘same-ness’ (“like you and I”), as it echoes a liberal, Eurocentric discourse that seeks to minimize ‘difference’ without addressing the historically-produced, unequal power positions of “us” and “them” with respect to socio-economy, politics, culture, and race. [end quote]
In the immediate aftermath of the preventable deaths of hundreds of Arab and African migrants in the Mediterranean earlier in April this year.
Analysts and media outlets again invoked this sense of despair, hopelessness and victim-hood on the part of those people risking the perilous journey to Europe, and eventually paying with their lives for the dream of a better and safe life.
With looming refugee and forced migration crises in the Mediterranean, Kenya, Myanmar, Syria, Burundi and elsewhere hitting international headlines, public attention is rightfully drawn to those people immediately affected by war, poverty, and persecution. For many, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, and asylum-seekers are above all unfortunate souls, devastated, and stripped of their humanity by seemingly never-ending civil wars, dictatorships and economic stagnation at home. Yet, maybe counter-intuitively, ritualistic demonstrations of compassion in Western media and the political scene do a disservice to refugee advocacy, as they inadvertently – and falsely – reduce refugee-ness to a state of inaction and passivity, and refugee camps to fairly hopeless and “nondescript places”, as Edward Said famously remarked .
In the immediate aftermath of the preventable deaths of hundreds of Arab and African migrants in the Mediterranean earlier in April this year, analysts and media outlets again invoked this sense of despair, hopelessness and victim-hood on the part of those people risking the perilous journey to Europe, and eventually paying with their lives for the dream of a better and safe life.
The implicit message of these various representations was – quite rightly – Europe’s moral and legal obligation to save those drowning right on her doorstep and in visual range of her shores. Understandably, well-meaning human rights activists, leftist politicians, and humanitarian agencies have used the same imagery to create awareness in Western media, civil society and public discourse. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), for instance, speaks of “warehousing” refugees. Not only have the lines between ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’, between ‘asylum-seeker’ and ‘displaced person’ become increasingly irrelevant in popular parlance to a point of indistinguishably, but these groups are also imagined to share a common, inevitably fate.
While these strategic portrayals of ‘essential victims’ are ironically driven by commendable intentions to stir debates and at best provoke policy responses, it is also clear that they nurture and prolong a problematic ‘refugee-victim’ narrative. Here, refugees – or (forced) migrants in general – feature as helpless, indistinct crowds who are being heaved by the coastguard from overloaded rubber boats on the verge of sinking onto the safety of navy vessels, or as destitute and empty-eyed bodies in uninhabitable places, abandoned and sacrificed. Having said this, unspeakable stories of pain and devastation are not a fiction, but they exist to the millions and very much deserve to be told. Yet, by harping on scenarios of trauma and loss, discourse practice ironically thwarts the ‘empowerment’ language of humanitarian actors. Naturally, the short-term benefits of proliferating such images with their metaphorical power must be weighed critically against the potentially damaging repercussions for popular beliefs and attitudes towards (forced) migrants at large. In the words of renowned scholar Jennifer Hyndman, “the popularity and sympathy for displaced peoples on the part of Western governments lies precisely in their location ‘over there’” .
LANGUAGE AND BIOPOLITICS
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“ORDINARY PEOPLE LIVING THROUGH EXTRAORDINARY TIMES”
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To read the rest of this inspiring article by Hanno Brankamp on June 2, 2015 in Pambazuka News click on the link below.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been delivering water to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Al-Dhalea governorate, Yemen, are suffering from a shortage.
Welcoming the announcement by the Saudi-led Coalition of a unilateral five-day humanitarian pause in Yemen, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on all parties to the conflict to suspend military operations and facilitate safe, unhindered access of relief workers to desperate populations throughout the crisis-riven country.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban welcomed the announcement by the Saudi-led Coalition of a unilateral five-day, renewable humanitarian pause set to commence today, Sunday, 26 July, at 23:59 (GMT+3), or 4:59 pm EST.
“He urges the Houthis, the General People’s Congress and all other parties will agree to and maintain the humanitarian pause for the sake of all the Yemeni people, and that all act in good faith throughout the pause,” said the statement, which notes that the growing number of civilian casualties, including disturbing reports of civilian deaths in Mokha on Friday evening, in the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe make a pause and an eventual extension an imperative.
Calling on all parties to the conflict to suspend military operations during the pause and refrain from exploiting the pause to move weapons or seize territory, the UN chief appealed to the parties to exercise maximum restraint in cases of isolated violations and to avoid escalation.
“The Secretary-General urges all parties to facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Yemen, as well as rapid, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to reach people in need of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance,” it said.
The statement concluded with the Secretary-General’s call on the conflict parties to comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and to urgently work with the United Nations and humanitarian aid organizations to bring assistance to millions in need throughout the country.
Announcement of the pause comes after “a major breakthrough,” as the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that its first ship since conflict erupted in Yemen in March berthed Tuesday in the port of Aden after repeated attempts to reach huge numbers of increasingly desperate people and as intense fighting continues to take a serious toll on civilians.
Meanwhile, in the latest report on the toll the fighting is taking, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that at least 165 civilians, including 53 children and 23 women, were killed between 3 and 15 July, and another 210 were injured during this period.
“The majority of the casualties are reported to have been caused by air strikes, but civilians are also regularly being injured and killed by mortar fire and in street fighting,” OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The total death toll since 26 March is now at least 1,693 civilians, with another 3,829 injured,” Mr. Colville said.