Meditations On Yemen

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readAug 2, 2020


We don’t like to talk about Yemen. We don’t like to think about Yemen.

Yemen is the elephant in the room.

Yemen is the black eye on a child that everyone at church pretends to believe is from falling down the stairs again to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation.

Yemen is the incestuous molestation everyone knows has been happening but they just keep eating their Thanksgiving dinner and making small talk.

The mass atrocity that is happening in Yemen is the worst thing that is happening in our world, and it isn’t even close.

It is worse than anything the mass media ever talk about.

It is worse than Donald Trump’s rude tweets.

It is worse than immigrant kids in cages.

It is worse than racism and police brutality.

It is worse than anything that is being done by governments that Washington doesn’t like.

It is probably worse than even your most paranoid and far-fetched theory about the evil things powerful elites might be doing behind veils of government secrecy.

And they’re doing it right out in the open.

Untold hundreds of thousands already dead since 2015, with millions displaced and suffering due to blockades, disease, and military violence.

All this death and suffering is entirely man-made, and it is entirely the fault of the US-centralized power alliance.

The horrors in Yemen, which are being spearheaded by a Saudi-led coalition, would not be happening without the express approval and support of the US and its tight empire-like network of allies. A consensus in Washington could force a Saudi withdrawal and an end to the war and the blockades immediately.

This isn’t a mass atrocity that requires an intervention. All that’s required is the cessation of intervention, from the US-centralized power alliance.

But it does not cease. And I’ve been tripping harder and harder the last few days on how insane and immoral it is that we’re not talking about that constantly.

It’s hard to get a subject trending when it isn’t happening in New York City and doesn’t directly involve a Clinton or a Kardashian. But there’s really no more urgent injustice in the world right now.

Yemen cries out. We try not to look at it, but it cries out.

Yemen is there when we are silent, no matter how hard we try not to look at it, no matter how much we dissociate and compartmentalize away from it.

Yemen is there in those still moments when we are undistracted.

Yemen is on the backs of our eyelids when we close our eyes.

We’ve all seen the pictures. Those tortured, impossibly thin bodies. I don’t need to show them to you again. You’re seeing them right now in your mind’s eye.

It is weird that we don’t talk about that more, that we don’t think about that more.

The correct response to the US government and its allies when they make accusations against a nation they don’t like is “Yemen”.

The correct response to the mass media when they’re babbling about irrelevant nonsense is “Yemen”.

Year after year this has been going on, and because it’s far away we’ve been able to look elsewhere and not think about the horrors that our governments have been permitting and facilitating. So we’ve done so. We gain nothing from looking. That hell on earth needn’t trouble us if we don’t look.

But we’ve got to. We’ve got to look. We lose more and more of our humanity every day that goes by when we don’t.

Yemen cries out.

Look at it. Look, and don’t turn away.

Force the eyes of the world open.

Force an end to this hell on earth.


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