’Why I’m aboard the Rescue Ship to Yemen’
In the Persian Gulf
Caleb Maupin about to board ship with humanitarian aid bound for Yemen.
May 12 - I am a radical journalist and political analyst as well as an anti-war activist working with the International Action Center, Fight Imperialism, Stand Together [FIST] and the United National Antiwar Coalition.
I am 27 and grew up in Ohio. I currently live in Brooklyn, N.Y., with my loving spouse Meches. However, as you read this message, I am thousands of miles away from home on a ship in the Persian Gulf.
Why am I at sea on the other side of the world? I am part of a humanitarian mission carried out by the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are attempting to bring medical supplies, flour and water to the people of Yemen.
A criminal U.S.-Saudi war of aggression
In response to a massive uprising demanding democracy and self-determination in Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has unleashed an intensive bombing campaign. Over 1,000 innocent civilians are already dead. Schools, hospitals, power plants and mosques are being targeted.
As someone from the United States, nothing disturbs me more than the fact that the cruise missiles and other weapons used to terrorize and kill innocent Yemenis are provided by my own government. Our government constantly utilizes propaganda about "human rights" when attempting to isolate and demonize certain countries, but for more than half a century it has been coddling the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most blatant human rights’ violators on the planet.
The Saudi regime not only beheads, tortures and exploits people within its own borders, but it represses people throughout the region.
The people of Yemen have long been held down by a corrupt, undemocratic regime backed and supported by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The recently deposed President Mansour Hadi ran unopposed in the 2012 election as the official Saudi-backed and -selected candidate. The U.S./Saudi regime in Yemen has facilitated a horrific campaign of drone strikes by the U.S. military since 2002 that has left countless innocent civilians dead.
In response to years of impoverishment, repression and humiliation, the people of Yemen have risen up in revolution. The Ansarullah organization, commonly called the "Houthis" in U.S. media, is at the center of a broad coalition of forces that are writing a new constitution. Popular committees have sprung up all across the country.
Violence against a massive democratic upsurge
Despite what you have heard on CNN, this is not an ethnic or religious war. This is not a "proxy war" with Iran. This is a popular, anti-imperialist struggle for democracy and independence led by the Yemeni people themselves. The Ansarullah organization is aligned with Sunnis, secularists and various forces from across Yemeni society who want to free their country from foreign hands.
In response to this massive upsurge of people’s power, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with (so-called "Daesh" ["ISIL"]) and al-Quaida in Yemen, is waging a campaign of violent terrorism. They hope to drown this popular revolution in blood, beat down the Yemeni people and force them back under Saudi dominion. The U.S. government is supporting the Saudi regime and its allies in their criminal attack, and this is abhorrent and immoral.
A few passing words of criticism and condemnation from U.S. officials do not change the reality of the ugly U.S. alliance with the Saudi regime. The U.S. officials who arm and coddle the Saudi regime, as well as the U.S. and British oil corporations who make billions of dollars from this twisted relationship, are complicit in the crimes against humanity currently taking place in Yemen.
The Yemeni people, despite this horrendous bombing campaign, have not surrendered. The Ansarullah fighters have aligned with the Yemen Army and the tribal forces in a united front. Saudi Arabia’s attempt to form a "Free Army" of Yemen mercenaries has completely flopped. It is now reported that more than 642,000 Yemenis of various religious backgrounds have joined together to form people’s militias to beat back the Saudi assault.
A humanitarian mission
On board the Rescue Ship with me are other peace activists from the U.S., Germany and France, as well as many doctors and a few journalists from Iran. We intend to deliver our cargo of over 2,500 tons of food and medical supplies to the port of Hodeidah on the Red Sea.
Everything on the ship has been carefully checked to make sure nothing that could be considered a weapon is on board. This is a mission of peace, carried out by the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a nongovernmental organization recognized by the United Nations.
Iranian jets attempted to deliver medical aid on April 28. They were cleared for landing by Yemeni airports, but before they could touch down, they were repelled by Saudi fighter jets.
Blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid is an extreme violation of international law. As our craft propels through the... [Arabian] Gulf, we are loudly urging that no one interfere with this peaceful humanitarian mission.
Let the hungry children of Yemen live! This illegal, immoral blockade must end! Don’t block the Rescue Ship!