Human Lives Human Rights: As the world watches the devastation unfold in Ukraine, nearly 4,000 miles away, another crisis is deepening that world doesn’t hear much about, and that is the war in Yemen.
In March of 2015, a Saudi-led coalition backed by the United States intervened militarily in Yemen in a bid to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels. It has triggered one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, due to widespread hunger, disease and attacks on civilians. Four million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes.
Now, what we`re seeing in Ukraine is absolutely the worst humanitarian crisis that Europe has seen in decades, but we haven`t witnessed the same type of solidarity for the Yemenis as we do for the Ukrainians. We don`t see historic sanctions or global campaigns, corporations like Airbnb and Netflix taking a stand.
Now, this is not to say that we shouldn`t care this much for Ukraine. Far from it. The point is, we should also care this much for refugees and those facing occupation and war in the Middle East and Asia and Africa too.
The coverage of Ukraine has revealed a pretty radical disparity in how human Ukrainians look and feel to Western media, compared to their browner and blacker counterparts, with some reporters using very telling comparisons in their analyses of the war.
The world is paying attention because this is happening in Europe. If this was happening anywhere else, would we see the same outpouring of support and compassion? We don’t need to ask ourselves if the international response will be the same if Russia unleashed their horror on a country that was not white and largely Christian because Russia has already done it in Syria.
This is a teachable moment for all, especially for media. There is a lot of soul-searching that is needed to be done in western media about why some wars and the lives seem to matter more than others and why some refugees get a welcome mat while others get the wall.