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U.S. & Saudi behavior in Yemen is a crime against humanity

To The Daily Sun,

The citizenry of Yemen — a country officially known as the Republic of Yemen, which occupies a geographically minute appendage connected to the southwestern corner of Saudi Arabia — has endured a relentless bout of bombings for nearly 18 sequential months now. Unsurprisingly, when the Yemeni populace endures numerous airstrikes in the nation-state's capital, Sana'a, as well as the mountainous terrain throughout the countryside, we may rest assured, as consumers of Western news outlets, that their terrorized existence will be ignored.

While it stands to reason that the carnage imposed upon those living in Yemen will simply be ignored because of our lack of ethical concern for Middle Eastern "unpeople" (a term co-coined by Professor Edward S. Herman). The willfully maintained blind eyes of our elite print journals as well as goliath cable-network-based news agencies are rooted in an American tradition much more vulgar. That is to say, the national agenda-setting media organizations ensure the omission of Yemeni horror in a manner similar to that of the East Timorese genocide that the U.S. supported, fueled and funded during the 20th Century. The U.S. continues to play and has played the central role of enabler, informant and financier of the Saudi bombing campaign that began a year-and-a-half ago.

Yet the magnitude of dismay brought about by the Saudi-led cascade of repetitious bombings that transpired on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, were so deadly and impactful that the screams of the men, women and children incinerated by modern weapons of war were metaphorically heard around the world.

Consequently, the American press was cornered into a position of forced acknowledgment of the blunder (more honestly, the war crime) by way of offering a semblance of commentary. With sporadic reports embedded within the inner pages of various newspapers, these bombing marked the deadliest day in Yemen's civil war (the war that, as will be mentioned soon, led to the exile of the internationally recognized governing and their flee to Saudi Arabia and therefore the U.S., hence motivating U.S. involvement, since the U.S. longs for the leader it supports to remain in charge regardless of the democratic opinion of the governed Yemeni citizens).

More than 140 men, women and children were killed and greater than 525 were seriously wounded while bombs rained down on a funeral ceremony which had been publicly announced a day prior to mourn the loss of the father of the interior minister of the rebel-led Sana'a government. Of monumental implication and moral indefensibility is the fact that the bombs deployed by Saudi pilots for the purpose of shredding the Yemeni people apart, limb-by-limb, were manufactured in the U.S. and are known as GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bombs, according to the Human Rights Watch report titled "Yemen: Saudi-Led Funeral Attack Apparent War Crime," which the U.S. supplied to Saudi Arabia without pause.

Murad Tawfiq, a rescuer of those injured via the air-deployment of said bombs for the ruin and pillage of Yemen first suggested that the coalition bombing of the funeral epitomized a "Lake of Blood;" a proper characterization that we cannot afford to misplace within the confines of our collective memory as soon as another act of aggression is blessed by the U.S. Specifically, Tawfiq was quoted as stating that "The place has been turned into a lake of blood" in an Associated Press article titled "Saudi-led Coalition Airstrike Hits Yemen Funeral, Killing Over 140 People."

In placing the role of the U.S. into an international context regarding the Saudi-led effort that began in March 2015, Laura Kasinof of Slate correctly asserts, in a piece titled "Yemen Isn't Just a Proxy War Between Saudi Arabia and Iran," the following: "Saudi Arabia's official reason for continuing its assault on its impoverished southern neighbor is to restore the legitimate president of the country, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is also the U.S.'s excuse for supporting the war. Hadi fled the capital, Sanaa, in February 2015 and now stays in Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of backing the Houthis, and the war in Yemen is often cast as a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia."

Yet Kasinof is hesitant to place responsibility on the shoulders of the U.S. for the plethora of war crimes committed in Yemen via Saudi Arabia. Their proxy is fortunately addressed by Shiv Visvanathan in an article for The Hindu, titled, "A tragedy that Implicates us all." In Visvanathan's opinion piece, he writes: "To reduce Yemen to a surrogate war between Iran and the Saudis explains little. There is an ethics here which transcends politics and asks a deeper set of questions."

Writers like Vijay Prashad and those of the International Crisis Group have captured it competently. They are able to pin down the responsibility of the West and the Saudi government for starving a nation to death. Yet what one misses is a voice of conscience that asks a deeper set of questions. Years ago a Bertrand Russell could create, with great courage, a tribunal to try the U.S. for war crimes in Vietnam. A Noam Chomsky would follow suit, but today few have the courage to demand and label the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for a crime against humanity."

As a result, I am employing this letter to "follow suit" and openly "label the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for a crime against humanity."

To learn more about the role of the West in the Yemeni civil war, see Glenn Greenwald's "U.S. and U.K. Continue to Actively Participate in Saudi War Crimes, Targeting of Yemeni Civilians," which was published by The Intercept.

Bryer C. Sousa

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Rod & Gun Club grant will assist seniors with their heating bills

To The Daily Sun,

Belknap-Merrimack County Community Action, Laconia Area Center, would like to thank the officers and members of Laconia Rod and Gun Club for your fund raising efforts and generous donation. This year we were one of many community organizations to receive a donation from Laconia Rod and Gun Club.

In collaboration with Community Action Program, Laconia Rod and Gun Club has established a grant to assist more seniors in Belknap County who are in need of help with the cost of their heating fuel. Their grant will allow the Laconia, Franklin and Meredith CAP Fuel Assistance Programs, to reach more seniors living in Belknap County in a time of need. If you or a senior you know, could use assistance, please have them call Community Action and we would be happy to provide more information.

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to begin the year knowing that kind and caring people are thinking of our senior citizens over the cold winter months. On behalf of all of us at Community Action, we would like to extend our gratitude to the members of Laconia Rod and Gun Club. Thank you for all you do for our community members with your very generous fund-raising efforts.

Lynn Tonkin, Area Center Director

CAP Belknap-Merrimack Counties Inc.

Lakes Region Family Center


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