Chicago — On May 9, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Voices for Creative Nonviolence and World Beyond War activists will engage passersby in a penny poll regarding humanitarian relief for war and famine-stricken Yemen. Using the poll device, people can “spend” symbolic wooden pennies to assist Yemenis in averting famine or direct their “pennies” to continue supporting military contractors that are shipping weapons to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, through two years of airstrikes and blockades, have escalated the conflict in Yemen and exacerbated near famine conditions.
Ravaged by war, blockaded by sea, and regularly targeted with Saudi and U.S. airstrikes, Yemen is now on the brink of total famine.
Yemen is currently being ravaged by a brutal conflict, with injustices and atrocities on all sides. More than 10,000 people have been killed, including 1,564 children, and millions have been displaced from their homes. UNICEF estimates that more than 460,000 children in Yemen face severe malnutrition, while 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women suffer acute malnutrition. The U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition is also enforcing a sea blockade on rebel-held areas. Yemen imports 90% of its food; because of the blockade, food and fuel prices are rising and scarcity is at crisis levels. While Yemeni children are starving, US weapons makers, including General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, are profiting from weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.
At this critical juncture, U.S. people should call on their elected representatives to urge an end to the blockade and airstrikes, a silencing of all guns, and a negotiated settlement to the war in Yemen.
With Congress in recess, this is an ideal time to call elected representatives and urge them to join colleagues in letters to:
- Secretary of State Tillerson asking that the Department of State work urgently with stakeholders to persuade combatants to permit humanitarian groups increased access for delivering much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities
- to Prince Mohammed bin Khalid, Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, urging that the crucial Yemeni port of Hodeida be protected from military assault.