SF Bay Area

From a Concert in Las Vegas to a Funeral in Yemen, We Must Stop Mass Murder

By Medea Benjamin

While Americans are mourning the mass shooting in Las Vegas that so tragically took the lives of over 50 concert-goers, people in Yemen will be marking the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that took the lives of over 140 people who were not at a concert, but a funeral. The Las Vegas carnage was a crime against humanity carried out by what seems to be a crazed lone wolf. The bombing of the funeral home in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, was a war crime carried out by a close US ally, Saudi Arabia, with the indispensable help of the United States. While we try to steer the domestic conversation to the need for gun control, we should also be seeking to end the massive flow of US weapons to Saudi Arabia that is wreaking such carnage. A new resolution in Congress, HR Resolution 81, would do just that.

The funeral bombing took place in the afternoon of October 8, 2016, when several hundred people had gathered to mourn the passing of Ali al-Rawishan, a public figure and father of the Sanaa-based administration’s interior minister. It was attended by several hundred people, including colleagues, friends, and relatives of the deceased. Funeral ceremonies of public figures in Yemen are customarily well-attended and open to the public.

At about 3:30 p.m., the mourners heard the buzzing of a plane overhead. Suddenly, a massive bomb penetrated the roof of the hall, causing carnage and mayhem. As the rescuers ran in to help, another bomb exploded. Photos and video footage taken after the attack show charred and mutilated bodies strewn inside and outside the hall.

Hundreds of those killed and wounded were civilians, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The munition that killed them was a US-manufactured GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bomb manufactured by Raytheon.

United Nations called the bombing “outrageous” and an apparent war crime. The Obama administration, in power at that time, expressed grave concern and launched a review of its support to the Saudi-led coalition. President Obama declared that U.S. support to the kingdom “is not a blank check.” The Trump administration, however, has tightened the Saudi embrace with both increased weapons sales and logistical support.

On one side of Yemen’s war is an alliance of Houthi rebels and loyalists of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. On the other is Hadi, Yemen’s interim president after Saleh, who is backed by Saudi Arabia, the United States and their allies. In March 2015 Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in an attempt to defeat the Shiite Houthis, who have links to its main regional rival, Iran. Thousands of people, including civilians, have been killed in this war. Millions more are suffering from hunger, illness, displacement and a massive outbreak of cholera.

The US became involved in the conflict by providing the Saudi-led coalition with specific targeting information and refueling planes during bombing raids. The US continues to sell arms to the Saudis, despite growing recognition that the weapons are being used unlawfully.

Now, thanks to Congress, Saudi Arabia may lose some of the support that has been facilitating these war crimes. On September 27th, 2017, the US House of Representatives introduced a Resolution 81 to withdraw US armed forces from Yemen, a move that would end US participation in Saudi Arabia’s coalition of nations waging war against the Yemeni people. It would give the President 30 days to end the U.S. military support of the Saudi-led war, unless and until Congress has enacted either a declaration of war or an authorization of those activities.

This historic resolution uses a provision of the War Powers Act that puts any proposed Congressional resolution for action regarding an unauthorized use of force on a fast track, making it a “priority resolution.” Once the measure is referred to the House or Senate foreign affairs committee, the committee must act within fifteen days, and the resolution must then come to a vote within three days.

Just as we are trying to get Congress to take action to stem the domestic flood of guns that facilitated the murder of concert-goers in Las Vegas, so we must demand that Congress act to stop the US support for mass murder in Yemen.

Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK, is author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection.

cp_banner
CodePink is a women's grassroots-initiated, worldwide organization of women and men working for peace, social justice and a green economy. CodePink SF serves the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


 

Actions
Apr
27
Fri
12:00 PM Divest from Lockheed Martin
Divest from Lockheed Martin
Apr 27 @ 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Divest from Lockheed Martin
Join CodePink  and Pacific Life at it’s weekly Divest from the War Machine Campaign against Lockheed Martin.  Lockheed is the largest weapons manufacturer in the US, responsible for missiles that carry nuclear warheads, and Hellfire[...]
5:30 PM Join PEACE EXPO at Beale AFB Air...
Join PEACE EXPO at Beale AFB Air...
Apr 27 @ 5:30 PM – Apr 28 @ 1:00 PM
Join PEACE EXPO at Beale AFB Air Space Expo
Join PEACE EXPO at Beale AFB Air Space Expo As the expected 5,000 attendees flood into Beale Air Force Base on April 28 to be awed by the super fire power of the U.S. Empire at Beale AFB[...]
May
13
Sun
12:00 PM Walking for peace on Mother’s Day @ Golden Gate Bridge
Walking for peace on Mother’s Day @ Golden Gate Bridge
May 13 @ 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Walking for peace on Mother’s Day @ Golden Gate Bridge
Walking for peace on Mother’s Day on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a CODEPINK tradition. Please join CODEPINK SF and Bay Area for this celebration of our power as women (as mothers and daughters[...]
Gatherings
May
1
Tue
7:00 PM CodePink San Jose Gathering @ Peace & Justice Center
CodePink San Jose Gathering @ Peace & Justice Center
May 1 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
CodePink San Jose Gathering @ Peace & Justice Center
Hi Pinkos, Next planning meeting we continue our work on the Divest from the War Machine campaign. Last meeting we chose the University of San Jose State as our target to divest from the war machine. This meeting[...]
May
5
Sat
3:00 PM CODEPINK GOES TO BARCELONA!
CODEPINK GOES TO BARCELONA!
May 5 @ 3:00 PM – May 12 @ 4:00 PM
CODEPINK GOES TO BARCELONA!
May 5–May 12, 2018 Travel with Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin to Barcelona, Spain to see how activists, social movements and progressive political forces are building one of the world’s most innovative local peace economies. As we explore this magnificent[...]

PinkBridgeDivider

 

WORLD

PinkBridgeDivider

ARTS

  • Book Launch Stirs Controversy. December 13, 2015 editorBook Launch Stirs Controversy. The book launch event for EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION: AMERICAN WRITERS ON PALESTINE at the Center for Fiction on ...
  • The Blanket of Hope January 25, 2015 editorThe Blanket of Hope                                                              The Blanket of Hope This is the Blanket of Hope. Prophecy is woven in its threads. ...

PinkBridgeDivider

GREEN ECONOMY

PinkBridgeDivider

From our National Site

The national CodePink organization organizes for justice for Iraqis and to hold war criminals accountable. CodePink actively opposes the U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes.

Rooted in a network of local organizers, CodePink's tactics include satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And, of course, wearing pink!