Monday, December 17, 2012

Remembering al-Majala

On December 17, 2009 a US Tomahawk missile hit the town of Majala in Abyan governorate in South Yemen, killing 40 civilians including 14 women and 21 children.  The Yemeni government was aware of this, and then President Saleh even covered up the story by saying: "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours".

Some of the civilian casualties, photos courtesy of the People's Movement for Protecting Liberties and Human Rights

These innocent civilians were victims of the secret war.  There are several legal, moral, and philosophical questions that arise from this war, and even questions about security interests.  Attacks like this fuel resentment and increase recruitment of militants.

Abdulilah Haidar Shaye a Yemeni journalist uncovered the al-Majala attack, and frequently wrote about the War on Terror.  Then in August 2010 he was arrested and has been in jail since. The Yemen Times reported that: "then President, Ali Abdullah Saleh was prepared to release Shaye in February 2011, but a personal call from U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly influenced Saleh, and Shaye remains in prison today, serving a five year sentence."

The Yemeni government must remember that the revolution broke down the barriers of fear, and that people will no longer be silenced and will no longer be afraid to say, Enough is Enough. 

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