Yemen for a Loaf of Bread Without a Word
By Costas Vergos
Yemen, a country poor and impoverished due to an 8-year civil war, lies far away. But not so far away for our army and arms (bought of course to prevent other threats) as not to be there. Our military presence there, since Oct. 2021, is not the result of a contractual or inter-alliance obligation or UN decision, or any constitutionally legitimate domestic process.
In the poorest country of the world, Yemen, a country of 30 million inhabitants, with two-thirds starving, hundreds of people were trampled, some days ago, during the distribution of humanitarian aid. 85 dead and hundreds injured, for a loaf of bread.
Since 2014, when the civil war started, this is the country that today presents the greatest humanitarian disaster, according to the UN. 400,000 dead by fire and famine and disease (and re-emergence of cholera) caused by the Saudi blockade of ports controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthis.
According to a UN report, "there are no clear hands in this war." The report refers to war crimes committed by all sides. This war, a war by proxy, counts many countries involved. Greece is one of those involved, by sending a Patriot artillery and 150 men to the area. Greece is fighting on behalf of Saudi Arabia and its allies, that is to say, once again in favor of an alliance of the "good" - as suggested by NATO. Always willing, on the right side of history. On the side of Saudi Arabia, which does not in the least respect the UN human rights charter (Amnesty International 2022). It has not in the least satisfied recently the pleas of the West for an increase in oil production to deal with the current scarcity. A country that invites the evil Russia to OPEC-Plus. What an international game, my God! (The ‘Guernica 37’ group, in London, is taking legal action to The Hague Criminal Court on behalf of the victims of the 22,766 Saudi and allied raids, 1/3 against civilians.)
If one looks for this issue in the pre-election priorities of our parties, that is, the issue of the Greek campaign on the border of Yemen (charging the Greek taxpayers as to the weapons, and Aramco as to the costs of luxurious accommodation there) one will find it in the last place. Or, rather, he won't find it there either. Mithridatism. And yet, it should be in the first place and on a daily basis – apologetically by the government, critically by the opposition sympathizers.
"My country is too small to commit great indignities" a Greek politician of the early 20th century once said. So, let our country not to be the great soldier Alexander and let us limit ourselves to peaceful diplomacy, wherever it can be practiced.
Let us leave the rhetoric of enlisting with the forces of good in the various wars around the world, with the blood of hundreds of thousands of young people flowing for the futility of an "empty shirt", a Euripidean nebula, a Helen who was not even in Troy, when thousands young men were killed for her sake. A shirt supposedly filled with Western values, filled with cynical calculation.
PS.1: From Euripides' 'Helen', the most revealing version of the myth: HELEN: I did not go to Troy, only an idol of mine was there. (l. 582). MESSENGER: So we suffered so much for a cloud? (l. 706).
PS.2: Tomorrow we will ally with Taiwan in China and with France in the Sahel and Polynesia and of course with America wherever it wishes. Always for our own good, always on the right side of history.
PS.3: The recent China-mediated rapprochement of (Sunni) Saudi Arabia and (Shia) Iran, eternal enemies and competitors (in the global flows of illegal money and illegal activities) is not understandable in our country. As a game-changer, it really took by surprise all the strategic staffs of the deciding West. (We don't belong to it, no matter how much we pretend to be in the club.)
PS.4: We, at American "request", caught as international pirates "the boat from Persia" (as the Greek song goes), "Pegas/ Lana", in spring 2022, off Karystos. Iran in its turn reacted as a pirate, in its own waters, against two of "our" tankers. Finally, we returned the seized cargo and they released "us"!!