I am onboard the “Iran Shahed”, the rescue ship sent by the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are hoping to bring aid to the people of Yemen who are enduring a horrendous attack from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Just yesterday, we heard reports that the Saudi regime is using “White Phosphorous” in civilian areas in Yemen. “White Phosphorous” is a chemical weapon in the form of a white powder that burns human flesh on contact.
The rate of civilian deaths in Yemen is particularly high. The Saudi bombs have killed very few combatants. The overwhelming majority of those who have been killed, over three thousand so far, have been civilians.
Meanwhile, the United States is not just backing and arming Saudi Arabia, but it has actively been refueling the Saudi bombers. The US military is filling up the fuel tanks of the airplanes which are conducting the bombing raids, targeting schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure.
If international law were fairly enforced, leaders of not just Saudi Arabia but also the United States would face charges of war crimes for these extremely immoral actions. So much blood is on their hands.
Yemen, a country that has not attack anyone, is having the most expensive tools of destruction unleashed on it. Yemen is the poorest country in the middle east, and it is being attacked by the US-backed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the autocratic country with the fourth largest military budget in the entire world.
Entering The Gulf of Aden
Our journey is progressing and our vessel has passed through the Persian Gulf, and now entered the both famous and infamous Gulf of Aden.
The Gulf of Aden is a small strip of ocean between the Arabian Peninsula and the African continent. This small but vital area has been mentioned in world news quite a few times in the past years, mainly for two very common occurrences, piracy and migration.
Some of the impoverished African people have become pirates. As a result of economic desperation, they have loaded onto small boats with guns, and seized various cargo ships passing through this vital area. They hold the boats for ransom, and usually, within a matter of hours they receive a cash payout they can bring back to their starving families in Africa.
Many more impoverished people from the African continent are not becoming pirates, but simply fleeing the horrific economic conditions they face in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and elsewhere. They are packing themselves on to ships, and attempting to cross the Gulf of Aden so they can reach the Middle East and become guest workers. Many of these boats are so overpacked with desperate hungry people that they have sunk. Below the small strip of ocean that the 50 of us are currently floating across aboard the Iran Shahed, are the corpses of thousands and thousands of Africans.
This reality is particularly enraging when you realize that Africa is a very wealthy continent. Africa has huge reserves of oil, natural gas, and mineral resources. Africa was the home of vibrant civilizations while European peoples were still living in caves.
Africa is rich, but the people of Africa are poor. Somalia has been called the poorest country on earth. The Somali workers who answer our telephone calls work in the lowest paying call centers on the planet.
Ethiopia once had a revolution and began to move toward taking control of its economy and resources. But this revolution was smashed by the efforts of western bankers and the CIA.
Sudan has been ripped apart, with South Sudan functioning almost as a colony of the Israeli government.
Libya, which once had the highest life expectancy on the African continent, has been destroyed with NATO bombs.
Oil workers in Nigeria labor long hours under horrific conditions to extract their natural resources, so the owners of Shell Oil can make profits from them.
The impoverishment of African people did not arise naturally. It is the result of centuries of plunder by wealthy foreign corporations, enforced with bombs, drones, cruise missiles, and every other inhuman weapon you can imagine.
Africans do not enjoy the benefits of the vast resources of oil, natural gas, minerals, and human labor that exist on their continent. Africa remains poor so big bankers on Wall Street and London can be rich.
A Global Migrant Crisis
When I think of the thousands and thousands of Somalis, Eritreans, Ethiopians, and other Africans who have perished in the small strip of ocean we are now propelling ourselves through, I am forced to think of the US-Mexico border.
I had the opportunity to interview Gloria Rubac, an immigrant solidarity activist from Texas, and she described a similar situation there. She told of how almost every day a few corpses turn up. These are people from Latin America, who have desperately attempted to get to the United States, only to die of starvation, dehydration, heat, or other horrors along the way. Hundreds are found dead each month.
When I flew to Iran, I transferred in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates. As I researched about the United Arab Emirates, I read that this Middle Eastern country has a population of 9.8 million people, but less than 2 million are actually citizens.
The overwhelming majority of the population of UAE are guest workers, most from Nepal and The Philippines. The conditions of the guest workers in the UAE have been compared to “modern day slavery.” These guest workers are not free to leave the country, form unions, or even utter the slightest protest against their low pay or conditions.
As I read this information about Abu Dhabi during my five hour layover, I noticed that the people sweeping the floors and collecting the garbage in the airport did not look Middle Eastern. These were people from Southeast Asia, who kept their heads low, not making eye contact with anyone, keeping the airport clean for the crowd of western tourists and wealthy Arabian aristocracy who were waiting for their flights.
The people sweeping the floors in the airport were the very people I was reading about on wikipedia. These were people from impoverished countries who have fled to Abu Dhabi out of economic desperation, only to find themselves trapped in a horrific situation that they cannot escape.
Recently, western media was forced to report on the fact that Ethiopian guest workers were rising up in Israel. The mostly Ethiopian guest workers were inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” protests in the United States, and heroically revolted against the vicious Israeli cops.
European cities are also filled with peoples from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. There has been a rise of right-wing anti-immigrant bigotry in Europe, with fascist and Anti-Islamic groups conducting “Mosque invasions” and other provocations.
The global crisis of capitalism has caused a crisis of home foreclosures, a low wage economy, and a rising police state in the US. Around the world, in many of the countries that are already colonized and oppressed, this crisis has created conditions of straight up starvation and malnutrition. Capitalism has caused conditions in much of the world to become so horrific, that people simply cannot continue living there. They either must flee for their lives, or perish.
The working peoples of Honduras, Guatemala, Somalia, Ethiopia, The Philippines and Bangladesh, among others, are all facing essentially genocidal conditions. All across the world, millions of people are dying as a result of a “man-made famine” created by capitalism on a global scale.
The big corporations have advanced technology to astounding levels, making production easier and cheaper than ever. The result has not been a better life for the majority of the human race, but instead, the current situation of mass death and impoverishment for so many. In a system in which production is planned by private owners, efficiency does not lead to prosperity.
Millions have been forced to become migrants and millions have died in the process, because global capitalism controls most of the planet. Big bankers run the world economy, and they have organized it, not to provide a decent life for the people, but to make profits for themselves.
Wall Street Fears “Another Iran”
So, what does this have to do with Yemen? US media commentators are openly declaring what they are very afraid of in Yemen. They openly try to justify the continuing Saudi atrocities, saying “Yemen could become another Iran.”
The Iranian revolution of 1979 resulted in the western bankers being driven out of the country. The Iranian government is not a puppet of the western capitalists, but an independent one, devoted to developing the Iranian economy and staying true to religious principles.
The Iranian government is opposed to the system of western neo-liberal capitalism, and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution openly declares this. Unlike many of its neighbors, Iran is highly developed.
In the conversations I continue to have on this ship with Iranian Red Crescent volunteers, they are shocked to learn that university education in the United States is not free, and that people spend decades in debt to pay for it. They are equally shocked to discover that people in the US lose their homes or cars to pay medical bills. Healthcare in the Islamic Republic of Iran is guaranteed to all citizens by the Ministry of Health, as is university education for all who are admitted.
Iran is a fortress of resistance to imperialism and Zionism. The strength behind the Iranian government is a highly politicized group of men called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, who are accountable only to the Supreme Leader. The Iranian government, which was forged in one of the most popular revolutions in history, has control over the country’s vast oil resources, and uses them for the benefit of the population.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has made great sacrifices to strengthen the Palestinian people and their resistance to Israel. Iran gave critical support to the Provisional Irish Republican Army during the 1980s. In the capital of Tehran, there is even a street named in honor of Irish revolutionary martyr Bobby Sands. The Black liberation fighter Malcolm X is also held in high esteem by the Iranian people.
The Supreme Leader of Iran recently described the murder of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray to a gathering of Iranian police, and told them “Iran must not follow this example.”
It should be obvious why Wall Street would not want “another Iran” in the Middle East.
Yemen is now in the process of doing what not just Iran, but Syria, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Venezuela, China, and so many other countries have already done. Yemen is desperately trying to break the chains of foreign domination, and seize control of its destiny as a nation.
From “National Dialogue” to Revolution
The Ansarullah organization (also called the “Houthis”), the tribal forces, and the Yemeni Army have formed a united front to beat back the Saudi attack. Over 342,000 people have joined the popular militias.
During my traveling, I have had the opportunity to speak with Tighe Barry, who was in Yemen during the years when this revolution was in its earliest stages. Tighe is a pacifist, and he does not share my enthusiasm about the Yemeni uprising, however when asked about what he observed there in the aftermath of the initial 2011 events, he said “It reminded me of Occupy Wall Street.”
After the “Arab Spring” or “Islamic Awakening”, there were massive gatherings to conduct dialogue among the people of Yemen about how to move forward. With strict democratic procedures, different religious and tribal groups began to debate and discuss how the country could move forward. Almost everyone involved wanted an end to the domination of foreign powers. They wanted Yemen to begin moving toward independence and self-reliance.
The inspiring “national dialogue” that began in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising was ended. Certain forces, especially those representing religious minorities, were once again locked out of the national conversation. A sham election was staged, and Mansour Hadi, a puppet of the Saudis was the only candidate allowed to participate.
With peaceful and democratic options eliminated, the Ansarullah organization and the other forces who had participated in this broad, massive upsurge chose to “pick up the gun.” The coalition the Ansarullah organization formed during the 2011 “Arab Spring” waged an armed struggle for freedom.
The military strategy the Ansarullah forces used was very similar to those developed by Mao Zedong during the Chinese revolution. They carved out liberated territories and base areas in the northern region of the country. Gradually they built up their strength, recruiting and training people in the countryside, before victoriously marching into the capitol and seizing the government buildings in the early months of 2015.
In response to the Ansarullah organization and its allies waging a successful, “People’s War” style revolution, and putting the popular committees in control of the government buildings, the Saudi regime has unleashed their horrendous campaign of terror.
The Saudi attack has completely shifted the political situation in Yemeni society. Forces who were hostile to Ansarullah and their coalition before, have now joined with them in the face of the brutal Saudi attack. The Popular Committees started by the Ansarullah organization and their allies are now the primary political force of power in the country, with almost everyone coming to their side.
The deposed President Mansour Hadi attempted to form his own “Free Yemeni Army” but it completely flopped. He fled to Saudi Arabia for protection, because the people of Yemen are now completely against him.
Wall Street Keeping Yemen Impoverished
What has made Saudi Arabia and its Wall Street masters so desperate to retake control of Yemen?
Yemen has vast, untapped oil resources. Wall Street and the Saudis have up until now kept Yemen’s oil in the ground, not wanting to put it up on the market, and make the price of their own oil decrease.
But an independent Yemen would not have to obey their orders. Yemen, under the control of a popular coalition of anti-imperialists, could become a huge oil exporting country. Yemen’s vast oil resources could be used to build the country up into an independent economic power.
This popular revolution could transform Yemen into a country like Venezuela or Iran, independently developing as a center of economic and political resistance to western neo-liberal capitalism and imperialism.
The Saudi bombs are falling in the hopes of preventing this from occurring. The Wall Street bankers and imperialists want Yemen to remain as it is, one of the most impoverished countries in the region. They want Yemen’s oil to stay in the ground, and Yemen’s people to remain starving and homeless.
Imperialism does NOT bring development. This is the greatest myth of global economics, and it is widely believed, even by some leftists. Imperialism does not develop the world, and build it up. Imperialism beats down civilizations and economies, forcing people to be impoverished so that Wall Street and London can stay on top.
Bangladesh was once called the “Golden Bengal” because its silk was so prized by people all over the world. Today, Bangladeshis are burned alive in factories, working for pennies an hour to make clothes for Wal-Mart and the GAP.
Mexico was once the center of the Aztecs, who built huge pyramids and made huge advancements in the field of mathematics and astronomy. Today, Mexico is a mess of poverty and chaos, as drug cartels exterminate people and so many live in extreme poverty.
The global capitalist economy of the 21st century is dependent upon destruction. It can allow no competitors to emerge. It needs chaos, instability, and poverty.
Yemen is in the process of breaking free from that system, and setting out on a course of independence. The United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, ISIS, and Al-Queda are all united in trying to stop this process, and keep Yemen as an impoverished colony of the big bankers.
This is what the fight in Yemen is really about.
My hope is that my new friends in the Red Crescent Society will be able to deliver much needed medical supplies to the innocent victims of this horrific war. We are all risking our lives on this ship, but millions of people, not just in Iran and Yemen, but all over the world, are praying for us.
Let The Hungry Children of Yemen Live!
This Illegal, Immoral Blockade Must End!
Don’t Block The Rescue Boat!
(I ask my friends in the United States and elsewhere to please forward and post this message as widely as possible. Send it to the press, put it on social media, repost it anywhere you want. My internet access onboard is very limited, so PLEASE help spread the word about our humanitarian mission.)