Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

The episode in which was banned across Saudi Arabia last year, makes rounds on social media for its relevancy on Yemen.

Hasan Minhaj Breaks Down The Yemen Crisis On ‘Patriot Act’

The episode in which was banned across Saudi Arabia last year, makes rounds on social media for its relevancy on Yemen.

By

Nawal Qadir
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

The crisis in Yemen, while only recently trending, has been ongoing for years now, and comedian Hasan Minhaj has not shied away from it. As he does with most issues, Minhaj vocalized his concerns for the country on his show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, as a sub point during his episode covering Saudi Arabia, as the episode’s named. 

Minhaj gave a comprehensive run-down on the situation in Yemen, highlighting how the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, escalated the tensions in the country to its current boiling point. 

READ MORE: Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

 

 

Now, the entire episode can be found on Netflix (in volume 2 of the show), but let’s talk about why it’s so important. Minhaj’s look into Saudi Arabia, and the atrocities it so commonly commits, is an incredibly lacking take in Western media, when considering the fact that it’s coming from a Muslim man. It’s accepted in the West, and America especially, that Saudi Arabia isn’t a friendly state to human rights, but what is most often overlooked is how destructive Saudi is to its own community. 

As Minhaj points out in the episode, the relationship that most Muslims across the world have with Saudi is a confusing one. We accept it as the hub of our religion, yet most of us are vocal of our opposition towards the country. Minhaj detailing the latter fact is incredibly important on a platform like Netflix, whose main audience is Western countries, given that much of the Western world’s perception of Islam and it’s followers is borne out of Saudi’s actions. 

By creating a space where Muslims can openly converse about their feelings towards a country that’s meant to serve as the center for their religion, Minhaj offers a chance to flip an outdated and largely untrue script. The one that says that most Muslims stand with Saudi Arabia in its oppression. 

In truth, most Muslims claim to Saudi extends as far as it being the country that houses Mecca, and we tend to be as outraged at Saudi’s actions as the rest of the world. 

What’s more, Minhaj’s show offers a reliable source to center the conversation about Yemen around. He truthfully depicts the major roles of, not just Saudi Arabia, but Iran and America in the crisis. 

The attention that’s been surrounding Yemen on social media lately, while important, is largely incomplete. Yemen isn’t just starving, it’s being starved. The conditions are born out of three major conflicts, propagated by three major countries who are all comfortable destroying Yemen as long as it continues to promise benefit for them. Minhaj’s show addresses these faults head on, laying the groundwork for genuine advocacy for Yemen to take place. If you haven’t already seen it, take a look because, believe me, it’s worth your time. 

 

UN Removes Saudi Arabia From ‘Blacklist Of Warring Parties’ For War Crimes In Yemen

This controversial decision comes after a Houthi rebel airstrike killed 13 civilians on Monday, which included four children.

The UN’s decision to remove Saudi Arabia “from a blacklist of warring parties” responsible for the countless deaths of Yemini children has been met with severe backlash according to reports by The New Arab

This controversial decision comes after a Houthi rebel airstrike killed 13 civilians on Monday, which included four children.

“Saudi Arabia was responsible for the deaths and injuries of 222 children in Yemen in 2019, the rebel Houthi movement for 313, and forces allied to the UN-recognised Yemen government responsible for 96 casualties,” according to Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition, which also has ties to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would, “be delisted for the violation of killing and maiming, following a sustained significant decrease in killing and maiming due to air strikes,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. 

Saudi’s constant delisting efforts exerted “unexceptable” pressure on the UN, with Riyadh even threatening to cut their funding. However, if the number of child casualties in Yemen continues to rise, Saudi and the UAE would be at risk of re-listing. 

 

 

Although many are aware of the Yemen crisis, some may be unaware of the extent of the situation. Here is a breakdown of what’s going on:

War and Intervention

The Northern Yemen-based group Ansar Allah, better known as Houthi rebel fighters, came in and took full control of the capital, Sanaa, in early 2015. Their control advanced southward from the capital down to the city of Aden. In March of 2015, Yemeni president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia, and urged for an intervention. Saudi formed its coalition and launched a proxy war against the rebels, which has been going on for about five years, while the Yemeni president remains in Riyadh. 

Comedian and political commentator Hasan Minhaj explained the conflict, where he broke down the entire situation in less than a minute on his show Patriot Act.

“So take three wars, shove them into the Arab world’s poorest country, and that’s the conflict in Yemen.”

The United States has been supplying the Saudi government with weapons since the Obama administration, with the U.K. leading as the second largest arms exporter. 

Devastations

The ongoing war in Yemen has caused major devastations, some of which include:

Increased famine, with a Yemini child dying approximately every 10 minutes. 

A Cholera epidemic.

Worsening the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Multiple Instagram posts have been made in an effort to educate social media users of these extremities:

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by New Progressive Democrat (@newprogressivedemocrat) on

 

What Can You Do to Help?

Educate and inform others by sharing this article and other Instagram posts raising awareness about the Yemen crisis. 

Write to your MP to end the sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Donate and sign petitions at: https://yemencrisis.carrd

 

READ MORE: Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now

24 million in need of help. Millions displaced. 4 pandemics. Lack of food and medicine.

Yemen is the biggest humanitarian crisis our world currently faces, and its people are on the verge of extinction, with a staggering 24 million in need of urgent assistance

Over the past few days, the world has taken to social media to declare their outrage on the lack of coverage of Yemen’s state. 

What exactly is happening in Yemen?

Dire starvation, malnutrition, famine and constant fighting are just a few of the many predicaments the people of Yemen are facing. With their main ports being blocked off by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition a few years ago, the main source of food and medicine has been terminated. This has resulted in mass loss of lives due to severe starvation. 

Even before the war, 90% of the country’s food was imported. In Yemen, a child dies every ten minutes. To add to that, UNICEF estimates two million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition as of March 2020. The pictures you may have seen online of young children with merely skin and bones is a small representation of how quickly the situation has escalated. 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Muslim (@muslim) on

Disease in Yemen

Aside from the world’s most recent coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, Yemen has also been enduring a number of other diseases including malaria, dengue and one of the worst cholera epidemics. These have all been present in the country for the past half decade, and have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Due to the country’s more or less “nonexistent” healthcare system (as described by the UN) curing civilians is an anomaly. A population of nearly 30 million surviving on only 200 ventilators can give you a pretty good idea of how grim the situation has become. With many doctors and nurses having fled the country after not being paid for over two years, it’s no wonder that ICUs and hospitals are overflowing with crowds with not much help to be given. 

The poor living conditions of most Yemenis means huge families are squashed into small camps and sharing of water and bathroom facilities makes social distancing and precaution impossible. They can’t afford to wear protective masks and use sanitation against COVID-19. This has done nothing but increase the number of COVID-19 cases, which is only increasing. However, with coverage of the virus banned, it’s clear that the number of cases is much higher. 

How did the war start?

None of this is new. For the past five years since 2015 when war broke out, Yemen has become a bloody battlefield. To put it briefly, after uprisings from the public shortly after the Arab spring revolutions which swept the entire Middle East, the country turned into a war zone. After this their former president fled to Saudi Arabia, as chaos was unfolding, with the Houthi rebels seizing control of the capital. The Houthi rebels are a Shia group who oppose the Yemeni government, supposedly backed by Iran. The Saudi Arabian government subsequently saw this group as a threat to the country’s stability and thus formed a coalition backed by the Yemeni government. The coalition includes a number of Gulf States like Kuwait and the UAE. Also a big contributor to the coalition is the US, who have donated billions of dollars, and continue to do so. Other Western countries including the UK, France and Spain have contributed to the buying of weapons, which are used to kill innocents.

Ever since 2015, the coalition has been heavily bombing and sending airstrikes, in an attempt to destroy the Houthi rebels. Its estimated that hundreds of thousands of innocent Yemenis have died as a result of the ongoing fighting between the two groups

The ramifications of this political dispute have crippled the nation’s people, economy and healthcare system. Saudi Arabia is responsible for a number of unforgivable war crimes, and yet are still not held responsible. 

The UN recently took the coalition of their “UN rights blacklist” which essentially takes all blame off the coalition for their involvement with Yemen.

What can we do?

While the world has been embarrassingly slow to save the people of Yemen, the UN are working towards a peaceful solution, and have also issued a desperate plea for financial aid. But what can we do as individuals to help out our brothers and sisters?

There are a number of petitions you can sign which can help the people of Yemen practically, by potentially ending political disputes

Raise awareness: always stay informed about the situation and make sure to keep up to date with what is going on. Sharing videos and useful information on social media and with family will allow more people to find out about this hidden catastrophe, as mainstream media refuses to give it the attention it deserves

Donate money: if you need to give in charity, it’s now. A number of trusted charities are able to reach out and deliver humanitarian aid, which will no doubt help the people. Even if you’re just donating one dollar, or saving just one life, the people of Yemen need you now more than ever.

Click here for more resources on how to help Yemen.