‘If we don’t show photos of killed Yemeni civilians how will people ever know?’
Thousands have turned out in Yemen's capital, Sana’a in anger at a supposed Saudi-led air strike on a funeral gathering on Saturday. Over 140 people were killed and hundreds more were injured, according to the UN.
RT: Saudi Arabia has not confirmed it was behind the air strike saying their personnel have clear instructions to avoid civilian targets. There have been similar incidents before - so who else might be to blame?
Marwa Osman: It’s not a UFO, definitely. It’s either the Saudis or the US. By the way, the number of martyrs, the number of wounded, which were sourced to the UN are far from reality. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Health and Population inside of Yemen, Mr. Abdulsalam al-Madani, told reporters yesterday (…) the number of martyrs are 458 dead people by the Saudi-led coalition’s missiles on the Grand Hall in Southern Sana’a. Out of these 458, there are 213 charred bodies; there are 67 torn bodies and 187 bodies with shrapnel. That is without counting the 356 serious injuries – that is a total of 700 killed and injured in one strike, which were actually three airstrikes – each airstrike with at least 3 missiles – we have it on footage – we have it on video image as well.
I give my condolences to the Yemeni population, especially to the civilians inside of Sana’a who have lived through this. It is obviously the Saudi-led coalition. It could be Saudi Arabia or the US – it doesn’t matter who was actually bombing the people of Yemen – everybody is in on it. Half of the Arab world is in on it; the UK is in on it for selling arms to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the US for selling more than $20 billion worth of arms in 2015 alone. Now the US is claiming that they are not an open blank check for the Saudis to use in the war against Yemen. Really? Should we believe that?
To go back to the actual atrocity that happened yesterday in Sana’a. I believe that if an investigation is to be opened – and it is going to be managed, done or coordinated by the coalition – it is pure hypocrisy. The people who should do this investigation are supposed to be a part of the UN. Remember that international body that is supposed to protect civilians, secure them and give them peace. That is not the role of UN anymore.
RT: Do you expect this to be investigated as a war crime?
MO: It should be investigated as a war crime. And not only the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should be held responsible for this. The US Obama administration should be held responsible, and also the MPs who are now torn apart and divided whether they should stop giving the arms or selling the arms to Al Saud or not. They are still divided because of alleged war crimes. What more do you need of charred bodies lying there stuck to the ground. You need more evidence than that?
Some people would claim that we’re not being professional journalists for showing these pictures, or for sharing these pictures on social media. If we don’t do that, how are you supposed to know what is going on in Yemen? The mainstream or even the alternative media is not putting Yemen in the spotlight. Last week and [yesterday] we heard condemnation coming from the UN, coming from France, coming from every other European and western country for Aleppo, for Eastern Aleppo, but none of them spoke about Yemen. And when the representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was asked about this, he said: “I have no idea if that happened or not.”
What do you expect from such people, especially from a body like the UN, if Ban Ki-moon himself, the former UN Secretary General was pressurized to remove the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the list of countries that have targeted children.
RT: Saudi Arabia says it would rather avoid getting involved in Yemen's war, but cannot stand aside from the overthrow of a legitimate government. How does that contrast with its stance on Syria, where it's calling for exactly that?
MO: The President of Syria was elected by the people of Syria, by the civilians there. They went to election and they elected their own president, their own government. What happened in Yemen was: a President who actually resigned twice – let us not go back what was going on in Yemen – talk about what was going on the past couple of months with the dialogue that was fell apart because of Saudi Arabia, because of the conditions that are not applicable on the ground since Ansar Allah, or as the main stream media would like to call them, Houthis –since [they] were gaining grounds within the territory of Saudi Arabia, as we just saw today, when they targeted a military base and killed 25 Saudi soldiers – supposedly Saudis – we don’t know what kind of mercenaries they are. But again, because of the high level of conditions the talks fell.
Saudi Arabia wanted as sharp as possible for the Houthis to lay down their arms while Saudi Arabia was bombing Yemen, and they want them to get out of Sana’a. This is ridiculous – you’re asking the people who have lived there as long as the Saudi monarchs have been around. That is their country – want them to get out of the country. Where would you like them to go? Explain to me! You go in with airplanes; you bomb civilians; you blockade civilians; you don’t allow food and aid supplies to reach them; you stop their banking system inside of Sana’a. You block everything from them, food and water, and you bomb them. What do you expect from such people except for revenge?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.