As terrible as any armed conflict is, there are additional hidden costs to the societies involved that are often overlooked. As someone who grew up in a war-zone, I have observed and experienced the effects of constant aggression as warring sides fight for supremacy. There is the public face of war; the bombs and bullets; the fist fights and riots; the many political utterances that emanate from those Establishment figures who care little about the people. Then there is the psychological trauma.
Being under threat of death, real or perceived, plays havoc with the mind. When such circumstances occur, adults suffer emotional and mental health problems that often remain hidden from even their closest friends. However, whenever children grow up in an environment of war, their very psyches are shaped so that they can have a very distinctive and disassociated view of life. This mindset can be seen from region to region, nation to nation around the world. Such young people will often develop a fatalistic approach to existence that is not always healthy. They will also have either a crippling fear of violence and confrontation akin to PTSD, or they will become detached from violence to perhaps embrace it. Neither is a desirable way to live.
Today, in Yemen, as in Palestine and Syria, there are multitudes of children who know nothing only war. Their nerves are being shattered or strengthened to the point where they may become basket cases or hardened individuals. In the Irish Occupied Six Counties, many of those who suffered from the effects of 30 years of conflict emerged in the same way. They are not necessarily a lost generation, but they are a damaged one. The children of Yemen are being placed in the same strenuous predicament as you read this.
The governments of the West ultimately bear responsibility for the conflict in Yemen. They supply the main protagonists of Saudi Arabia and the UAE with their weaponry. If the West told them to stop, they would. But certain corporate interests are making too much money for this to happen. What price can be put on the life of a Yemeni child? How valuable is the future of the young from that beleaguered nation? Corporations, by their actions, say there is no value in the life and future of any child outside of their immoral coterie. It’s left to the people to change that.
The following video gives us a brief look at how a generation of Yemeni children are being deprived of opportunity, peace, safety and, all-too-often, their lives.