Weekly Vigil for Peace in Yemen, Union Square Park, NYC
Start: October 20, 2018•11:00 AM
Location:Union Square Park•14th St & Union Square W, New York, NY 10011
Host Contact Info: NY Catholic Worker, Kairos Community
Members of the NY Catholic Worker will be out protesting the
ongoing US/Saudi bombing of Yemen in Union Sq. Pk. each Saturday, from
11AM until 12:30 PM. We meet at the top of the steps at the south-end of the
park, near the statue of George Washington on horseback. Please come out
and join us as the humanitarian crisis worsens and voices of hope are
In March of this year, Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing 81 documented cases of unlawful attacks on the part of the US/Saudi/UAE bombing campaign in Yemen. In 24 of these attacks US supplied weapons were used. HRW has warned repeatedly that the duration and persistence of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure would entail that weapon suppliers have knowledge of, and are thus complicit in, war crimes.
On the basis of these and other reports, in June, a bi-partisan group of US Senators, among them Rand Paul (Rep. KY) and Chris Murphy (Dem. Conn.) - put forward a resolution in the Senate to curtail arms shipments to Saudi Arabia. The resolution was very narrowly defeated, 53 to 47, and was thus a sort of victory, suggesting that concern for human rights and the rule of law were not yet dead.
Shortly thereafter we were told that the
Saudi's have agreed to purchase a $750 million, multi-year, training
program to help prevent unlawful attacks - a sardonically cynical
response - followed the bombing of market in Saada, killing 25 civilians
just a few day ago.
Currently, some 17 million - of Yemen's 28 million - people are food insecure. Half a million children below the age of 5 already suffer severe acute malnutrition, which means that, if they survive they are still likely to suffer life long developmental difficulties. Meantime, 7 million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation and more than 3 million are internally displaced. All of this is very much a consequence of the Saudi/US bombing, which for more than 2 years now has targeted civilian infrastructure: Hospitals, schools, factories, markets, funerals, sea ports, electrical power stations and water treatment facilities. More than half of the hospitals in the country on not functioning. Thus, while the armed conflict has directly taken the lives of some 12,000 people, last year alone more than 60.000 children died from a combination of malnutrition and otherwise easily preventable ailments and diseases like respiratory infections, measles, and cholera.
Most recently, malnutrition and compromised immune systems have been joined by their deadly counterpart, plague. There has been a vast rise in cholera infections.
Update October 2018 from Felton Davis:
The weekly vigil for peace in Yemen continues on Saturdays in Union Square , from 11 am to 12:30 pm . I'm sure that by now some new leaflets are necessary, but I'm unable to prepare leaflets any that endorse these resolutions that are supposed to "end US complicity in the war in Yemen ," or to "end US participation." The language of these resolutions -- including the new one, H. Con. Resolution 138 -- specifically allows US participation to continue, as long as it is properly construed as part of the so-called "war on terror," and authorized by the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). Even the most moderate and thoughtful of our legislators are certainly not going to pass a resolution that significantly compromises the $700 billion military budget that provides for unbridled worldwide permanent warfare, and the ongoing struggle for domination of all world resources.
What are these supposedly antiwar resolutions about? In my opinion, they function as "feel good measures," co-opting activists into believing that they are proceeding along some incremental path toward peace. For example, the US will not be allowed to continue this aggression, unless US officials "certify" that appropriate measures are being taken to minimize civilian casualties. (Joint Resolution 55) So Secretary of Defense James Mattis goes to the United Arab Emirates and declares, "Our conduct there is to try and keep the human cost of innocents being killed accidentally to the absolute minimum." (Agence France Presse, September 8, 2018 ) And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo goes to congress and declares, “I certified to Congress yesterday that the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.”
Is that some sort of incremental victory, or just a continuation of wars-based-on-lies, otherwise known as business as usual? It's time to face up to the reality that the "war on terror" in its entirety is based on a lie, and the destruction of Yemen as a country is a gargantuan crime against humanity, beyond all legal technicalities. That means that "feel good" resolutions, all of which contain specific language exempting military intervention, have to be opposed. Otherwise President Trump will just sign a statement expanding the 2001 AUMF, just as President Obama did at the end of his term when he declared that intervention in Somalia was covered by the 2001 AUMF. (Imagine the surprise of the people of Somalia when -- fifteen years after Sept. 11th -- they were suddenly included as among the perpetrators and therefore subject to US action.) Africom has carried out 24 air strikes in Somalia this year, including one on Tuesday that killed nine people. (CBS News, October 2, 2018 )
Every day I get email announcements from well-intentioned individuals and groups urging me to sign here or click there, and support legislation that will "end US participation in the war in Yemen ." I wonder, do people even read the text of these resolutions? The resolutions utterly fail to mention any crimes against humanity or prosecution thereof, war crimes, genocide, violation of the UN Charter, and so on and so on. And they all provide for continuing intervention, as long as it is properly authorized. Where is the supposed accountability in that? How can supporting these resolutions be considered an incremental step toward peace? Please someone advise me on this so we can get some clarity about what the weekly vigil for Yemen is supposed to be. At the very least, if we're going to push for Resolution 138, we'll need some new signs! Here's one (see above)
- Felton Davis, c/o Catholic Worker
Please help us raise a public outcry.
Hope to see you all!