Yemen: the cost of war

Ibraham Jobe on the crisis in Yemen, and how the west came to turn a blind eye

Ibraham Jobe
3rd July 2020
Design based on an image from Kai Hendry on Flickr
It's easy to point out statistics about the war in Yemen. We already see it in much of journalism. The real question, though, is whether or not these statistics help the people suffering from the war.

The civil war in Yemen is between the Houthi rebels and the Yemen government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition. In turn, the coalition is supported by the US, UK, and France. I could do the same thing as most newspapers, and reel off figures without providing insight into the effect of the humanitarian crisis. The BBC and humanitarian organisation CARE have complied good statistics. For now, though, let's try something different.

Those observing a war through the lens of media often take sides

Consider this: war brings about division between people living in the same nation. Those observing it through the lens of the media tend to take a side. As such, their perspective gets blurred into the binary of good and bad. A lot of people get burned out by the incessant consumption of information, and it's not hard to see why. Social media becomes draining when you focus too much on it. Thus, media saturation leads to people turning a blind eye. This is seen not just in the violent images and videos that pour out from Yemen. It can also be observed in the media representation of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. The list goes on.

People get used to images of violence, and to a narrative

Consequently, people get used to images of violence, and a familiar narrative. Very few, if any, are immune to the normalisation of conflicts; think about how many of us seek out entertainment content to 'free' the mind. However, millions of men, women and children are suffering, and do not have the luxury of ignoring their situation. For them, it is reality.

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