The blockade and Saudi-led bombings of Yemen is, according to the UN, the largest humanitarian crisis on Earth. It has killed tens of thousands so far and caused endless destruction. Over half of the population are in famine, facing the world’s severest cholera outbreak in modern history.
UNICEF has found that 80% of Yemen’s people are in need of urgent help, including around 12 million children. In addition to one of the most serious COVID mortality rates, where 1 in 4 Yemenis who test positive die, more and more are falling into a non-stop cycle of suffering and death. Yet, Yemen is the world’s most ignored and forgotten crisis. International awareness and involvement is vital to the survival of its people.
On Monday (January 25th), social media platforms filled with tweets and posts desperate for something more to be done – because it is simply not enough. Many celebrities have previously donated to and tweeted about Yemen including actors Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Ben Stiller, Singer Halsey and Model Gigi Hadid amongst many others, using their platforms to tell and urge people to do something about Yemen.
The hashtags ‘YemenCantWait’ and ‘DayofAction4Yemen’ trended throughout Monday, joining people together from across oceans. According to RiteTag, a statistical database by RiteKit for social media, #yemen alone racked up 2867 tweets per hour, 7.4 million exposure per hour and 708 tweets per hour in the last 24hours, worldwide.
A ‘World says no to war on Yemen: Global Online Rally’ took place in the UK organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. A lot of other online rallies in various countries, including America and France, have also been organised. Indicating, voices are being heard and are getting louder. Even COVID cannot stop rallies from taking place – Yemen is in dire need of action, social media showed us that people are standing together and chanting as one.
Yemen now needs for this awareness and unity to channel through action. Voices needed to transfigure into pressure; tweets into aid and posts into peace. Nonetheless, social media platforms have once again shown us how they create ripple effects reaching the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands causing them to speak up. Power is only as strong as we let them be, we must continue crying out for Yemen and its children until they can sleep on their pillows with a full belly*
* Ragheb Malli is a social media activist and writer with BA in political science.