Opinion | In Yemen, Many Die, Including This Girl

Opinion | In Yemen, Many Die, Including This Girl

To the Editor:

Re “U.S. and Britain Seek a Cease-Fire in the Yemen War” (front page, Nov. 1):

I was in Yemen in July with Oxfam and saw the devastation of years of conflict and deprivation with my own eyes, and it pains me to watch the situation only get worse.

In this man-made crisis, a civilian is dying every three hours in the fighting. The limited function of airports and seaports and economic collapse have pushed the prices of basic goods out of reach for most, worsening hunger and inequality.

I saw fully stocked stores and markets while Yemenis struggled to feed their families. Even without an official declaration of famine, we know that millions of Yemenis are on the brink of starvation, that preventable diseases like cholera and diphtheria continue to kill, and that this tragedy is unfolding on our watch.

We welcome calls by the United States for a cease-fire, but strong words are not enough. The United States must end its support for the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen immediately — and use all means to save lives by publicly condemning the continuing attacks on innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure by all parties; ending refueling for the coalition; and canceling any pending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Abby Maxman
The writer is president and chief executive of Oxfam America.

To the Editor:

ReSaudi War Pushes Yemenis to the Brink of Starvation” (front page, Oct. 28) and “Why The Times Decided to Publish Haunting Photos of Yemeni Children” (Inside The Times, Oct. 28):

This week The New York Times stood by its decision to publish the gut-wrenching photographs of emaciated Yemeni children because conventional wisdom maintains that disturbing images such as these hold power to sway public opinion, to move us to action and to influence government decision making.

Without question the photos should have been taken and published. And they must be seen. The role of journalism is indeed “to bear witness, to give voice to those who are otherwise abandoned, victimized and forgotten.” And journalists covering Yemen have done just that.

We expect that the visceral reaction to seeing such human atrocities will shake us from complacency to action. But don’t count on it. Time and again, jarring photographs, such as the drowned Syrian boy washed ashore on the beach, have stirred emotions but failed to motivate meaningful change.

And we have now learned that Amal Hussain, the 7-year-old girl whose haunting image showed us the grim reality of this humanitarian crisis, has died.

Images brought to us by courageous journalists do not, by themselves, change history. The moral imperative is now on us.

Nicole Dahmen
Paul Slovic
Eugene, Ore.
The writers are, respectively, an associate professor of journalism and a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

To the Editor:

The pictures of children close to death in Yemen were haunting and painful. But thank you to the reporter and photographer who wrote the story and took the pictures. Thank you for being a witness to this. Thank you to the editors for the courage to publish.

I plan to print the pictures and hang them on my wall. Not because I enjoy seeing the suffering of others, but to remind me daily of the immense suffering in the world and my duty to help. It is too easy to ignore the pictures and go on with my busy life.

There are ways to help, big and small, far and near. As you did your part, I pray I do mine.

Rajesh Philipos
East Palo Alto, Calif.

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