People run following an explosion at the airport in Aden, Yemen, shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed Cabinet landed on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. No one on board the government plane was hurt but initial reports said several people at the airport were killed. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
For over five years, Yemenis have endured a civil war which has already killed nearly a quarter-million people. Roughly half of those who perished died from war-induced malnutrition, disease and lack of basic services.
Intervening on one side, a Saudi-led and U.S.-supported coalition has used overwhelming military force — including laser-guided bombs and other high-tech weapons supported by our tax dollars — to systematically devastate huge areas of Yemen that their rivals control.
The U.S. has supplied combat ships that are vital to the naval and air blockade presently denying millions of people in Yemen essential food and medicine (90% of Yemen’s food supply is imported).
The U.S. has also directly carried out bombing raids against those it labels “terrorists.” Recently, Congress failed to stop the Trump administration from selling F-35s like those the Air Force wants to station at Truax to the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries bombing Yemen.
As was predicted, famine is now widespread. Two-thirds of Yemenis are hungry and many tens of thousands, especially children, are truly bloated-belly-and-stick-limbs starving. Moderate to severe malnutrition afflicts a quarter of the population, including more than 2 million children.
And now COVID-19 has joined cholera and diphtheria in exponentially compounding their misery.
The United States is contributing to the violent attacks on Yemen, while cutting back its humanitarian relief efforts.
Bruegel the Elder’s “Massacre of the Innocents”
In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder created The Massacre of the Innocents, a provocative masterpiece of religious art. The painting reworks a biblical narrative about King Herod’s order to slaughter all newborn boys in Bethlehem for fear that a messiah had been born there. Bruegel’s painting situates the atrocity in a contemporary setting, a sixteenth-century Flemish village under attack by heavily armed soldiers.
Yemeni children are not “starving children.” They are children being starved by warring parties whose blockades and bomb attacks have decimated the country.
Depicting multiple episodes of gruesome brutality, Bruegel conveys the terror and grief inflicted on trapped villagers who cannot protect their children. Uncomfortable with the images of child slaughter, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, after acquiring the painting, ordered another reworking. The slaughtered babies were painted over with images such as bundles of food or small animals, making the scene appear to be one of plunder rather than massacre.
Were Bruegel’s anti-war theme updated to convey images of child slaughter today, a remote Yemeni village could be the focus. Soldiers performing the slaughter wouldn’t arrive on horseback. Today, they often are Saudi pilots trained to fly U.S.-made warplanes over civilian locales and then launch laser-guided missiles (sold by Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin), to disembowel, decapitate, maim, or kill anyone in the path of the blast and exploding shards.
As 2020 comes to a close, we are writing to ask for your end-of-year contribution to two great efforts: one for Rafah and the other right here in Dane County.
The economic situation in the Gaza Strip was already terrible due to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Lockdowns, curfews and other measures taken to combat COVID-19, while initially slowing the spread of the virus, ultimately worsened the situation. COVID-19 is rapidly spreading and more than 70% of the population is now reported below the poverty line.
MRSCP is therefore partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide some of the poorest families in Rafah with fresh, nutritious food parcels. Each family will receive a food parcel with essentials like rice, beans, and lentils as well as fresh local produce and poultry. We are excited about this project because an estimated 20 small farmers and cooperative members will also benefit from providing the produce and locally-made packaged goods such as jam and maftool.
$40 provides one family with a 2-3 week supply of this food. Priority will be given to poor families that have disabled individuals or those with chronic diseases, and to female-headed households. More information on this project including a video and a description of the food parcel contents and selection criteria can be found at our website.
Donate directly online:
MRSCP supports the Black Lives Matter movement, both because of its inherent demand for justice and also because of the similarities between how the U.S. treats its citizens of color and how Israel treats Palestinians whether they are citizens of Israel, residents of Gaza and the West Bank, or refugees in the Palestinian diaspora.
We see shocking and undemocratic parallels of civilian populations being coerced and controlled by a system in which by intention or default they have little or no representation or power.
This parallel is particularly stark when it comes to the issue of policing, mass incarceration and population control.
So we want to pass on to you this set of resources for understanding the call for radical reforms of the justice and policing system in this country,
In particular, we hope you will check out this slideshow of infographics on visualizing racial disparities in this system.
Over 50 progressive organizations endorse Rep. Joaquin Castro for Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC). At the end of November, Democratic House members will vote on who takes leadership of this important committee. HFAC makes decisions on arms control and disarmament issues, international funding and aid, deployment and use of armed forces, drug policy, international sanctions, and global health issues, such as COVID.
Rep. Castro represents the kind of leadership we need to build a foreign policy that reflects the growing progressive calls for diplomacy, support of human rights, and justice. We welcome Rep. Castro’s commitment to ensuring that Palestinian voices are heard in the Committee and his recent statements pushing for accountability on Israel for violations of international law.
— Adalah Justice Project
Oscar Rennebohm Park, Madison
6 pm Vegan Food by JustVeggies
7 pm Community Education
8 pm Vigil
Vigil for all Black Lives lost to white supremacy and police brutality, and to support recent victims of racist violence in our community. Meet neighbors and learn multiple ways to support Black people in our community.
We are still in a pandemic, so this will be a socially distancing gathering. Make your own best choice about risk. Please wear a face covering. Bring a candle (in glass won’t blow out). Extra masks and candles will be provided.
Speakers include State Senate Candidate Nada Elmikashfi, pastor Jeffrey Jackson, and others!
A virtual summit on building a united racial justice movement from the U.S. to Palestine
Eyewitness Palestine (formerly Interfaith Peace-Builders)
JOIN US July 18 for a day of:
Powerful Analysis, to better understand the current places in our society where connections across movements can be made and where we should be acting in the US, now.
An exploration of justice-based frameworks so that we can make connections based not just on similarities but understanding critical differences and working at the systematic roots of change.
Connections with movement leaders to learn about actions you can take now to support justice movements from the US to Palestine, with an emphasis on how to show up NOW in the US.
Leave with a toolkit of actions you can take immediately to work towards Collective Liberation – freedom for all!
Saturday, June 27
Local Letter Campaign to End Violence Against Black People
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
Damita Brown, Restorative Justice Director for the Dane County Time Bank’s Restorative Justice Program, will lead this action opportunity via Zoom.
NOTE: The sponsors are looking for people or groups to host similar sessions. You can get a Co-conspirator Toolkit that shows you step by step how to host your own letter writing party for friends, neighbors, colleagues, family, co-workers and others. For more information, write to Damita Brown: damita at danecountytimebank.org
Sunday, June 28
Counter CUFI with FOSNA
6 PM CDT
Christian Israeli lobbies like Christians United For Israel (CUFI) leverage their political power to ensure the US gives moral and political cover to Israeli colonization, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.
This Sunday, June 28th, Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) is launching a nationwide effort to counter this deadly lobby and challenge its undue influence on American politics. Join us for a powerful day of action as we raise our voices in opposition to CUFI’s annual summit!
Sunday, June 28
Livestream: Singing Out for Refugees with Peter Mulvey
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT
Peter Mulvey returns to the Threshold stage, this time virtually, to share his music, his insights, and his generosity with Open Doors for Refugees, an all volunteer not-for-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees coming to the greater Madison area.
Poor People’s Campaign
Sat: 9 am and 5 pm Central
Sun: 5 pm Central
The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will be the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders, and people of conscience … The increasing urgency of a broad movement led by the poor and most impacted is more apparent every day. Now is the time to organize towards collective action to enact a moral agenda for the nation. As our ranks grow in the coming months due to COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of poverty, building a platform for the plight, fight, and insight of the poor is even more urgent.
We are marshalling our collective voices to demonstrate the power of our communities. We demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism by implementing our Moral Agenda.