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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/22/18

No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen

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From Counterpunch


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Hundreds of thousands of people showed up across the United States at more than 600 gatherings three weeks ago. They came out to protest Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy in highly choreographed, Democratic Party-affiliated "Families Belong Together" rallies and marches. Liberal celebrities marched and spoke. Local, state, and federal Democratic Party politicians and office-holders gave passionate speeches denouncing Trump's separation of Central American migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border.

Marchers carried signs expressing their concern for children and families. Here are some of the messages written on the posters displayed at these gatherings:

"We care"

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"I Raise my Voice Not so I can Shout but So that Those Without a Voice Can be Heard"

"Do All Lives Still Matter?"

"What Would Mr. Rogers Say?"

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"Compassion"

(The issue that sparked this remarkable outpouring has already been pushed off the front pages and the cable news headlines by the resurgent RussiaGate story, brought to new intensity by Trump's "spectacular debacle" alongside Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. It is a victim of the all-powerful "now we see you, now we don't" U.S. news cycle -- this even as nearly two-thirds of the migrant children criminally separated have yet to be reunited with their parents and as evidence emerges that the Trump administration intended for the family separations to be permanent.)

"Emaciated Babies": 50,000 Yemeni Children May Have Died in 2017

We have yet to learn of any large and widespread U.S. demonstrations on behalf of the children and families of Yemen, where the U.S. is deeply complicit in the creation of a situation that "looks," in the words of the United Nations' humanitarian chief, "like the Apocalypse." UNICEF reported last year that a child dies from preventable causes on the average of once every 10 minutes in Yemen.

As the Associated Press (AP) reported last May, roughly 3 million Yemeni women and children are "acutely malnourished; another 400,000 children are fighting for their lives." Further:

"Nearly a third of Yemen's population -- 8.4 million of its 29 million people -- rely completely on food aid or else they would starve. That number grew by a quarter over the past year...Aid agencies warn that parts of Yemen could soon start to see widespread death from famine. More and more people are reliant on aid that is already failing to reach people. ...It is unknown how many have died, since authorities are not able to track cases. Save the Children late last year estimated that 50,000 children may have died in 2017 of extreme hunger or disease (emphasis added), given that up to 30 percent of children with untreated cases of severe acute malnutrition die."

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The AP told the heartbreaking story of Umm Mizrah and her children, tragic drops in the bucket of what could become one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes of the last half-century:

"The young mother stepped onto the scale for the doctor. Even with all her black robes on, she weighed only 84 pounds ...The doctor's office is covered with dozens of pictures of emaciated babies who have come through Al-Sadaqa Hospital in Aden ...Mothers like Umm Mizrah...skip meals, sleep to escape the gnawing in their stomachs. They hide bony faces and emaciated bodies in voluminous black abaya robes and veils...The doctor asked the mother to get back on the scale holding her son, Mizrah. At 17 months, he was 5.8 kilograms (12.8 pounds) -- around half the normal weight for his age. He showed all the signs of 'severe acute malnutrition,' the most dire stage of hunger. His legs and feet were swollen, he wasn't getting enough protein. When the doctor pressed a finger into the skin of his feet, the indentation lingered."

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Paul Street (www.paulstreet.org and paulstreet99@yahoo.com) is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (2004), Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (2007), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (more...)
 
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