I am onboard the “Iran Shahed”, the rescue ship sent by the Red
Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are hoping to
bring aid to the people of Yemen who are enduring a horrendous attack
from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Just yesterday, we heard reports
that the Saudi regime is using “White Phosphorous” in civilian areas
in Yemen. “White Phosphorous” is a chemical weapon in the form of a
white powder that burns human flesh on contact.
The rate of civilian deaths in Yemen is particularly high. The Saudi
bombs have killed very few combatants. The overwhelming majority of
those who have been killed, over three thousand so far, have been
Meanwhile, the United States is not just backing and arming Saudi
Arabia, but it has actively been refueling the Saudi bombers. The US
military is filling up the fuel tanks of the airplanes which are
conducting the bombing raids, targeting schools, hospitals and
If international law were fairly enforced, leaders of not just Saudi
Arabia but also the United States would face charges of war crimes for
these extremely immoral actions. So much blood is on their hands.
Yemen, a country that has not attack anyone, is having the most
expensive tools of destruction unleashed on it. Yemen is the poorest
country in the middle east, and it is being attacked by the US-backed
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the autocratic country with the fourth
largest military budget in the entire world.
Entering The Gulf of Aden
Our journey is progressing and our vessel has passed through the
Persian Gulf, and now entered the both famous and infamous Gulf of
The Gulf of Aden is a small strip of ocean between the Arabian
Peninsula and the African continent. This small but vital area has
been mentioned in world news quite a few times in the past years,
mainly for two very common occurrences, piracy and migration.
Some of the impoverished African people have become pirates. As a
result of economic desperation, they have loaded onto small boats with
guns, and seized various cargo ships passing through this vital area.
They hold the boats for ransom, and usually, within a matter of hours
they receive a cash payout they can bring back to their starving
families in Africa.
Many more impoverished people from the African continent are not
becoming pirates, but simply fleeing the horrific economic conditions
they face in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and elsewhere. They are
packing themselves on to ships, and attempting to cross the Gulf of
Aden so they can reach the Middle East and become guest workers. Many
of these boats are so overpacked with desperate hungry people that
they have sunk. Below the small strip of ocean that the 50 of us are
currently floating across aboard the Iran Shahed, are the corpses of
thousands and thousands of Africans.
This reality is particularly enraging when you realize that Africa is
a very wealthy continent. Africa has huge reserves of oil, natural
gas, and mineral resources. Africa was the home of vibrant
civilizations while European peoples were still living in caves.
Africa is rich, but the people of Africa are poor. Somalia has been
called the poorest country on earth. The Somali workers who answer our
telephone calls work in the lowest paying call centers on the planet.
Ethiopia once had a revolution and began to move toward taking control
of its economy and resources. But this revolution was smashed by the
efforts of western bankers and the CIA.
Sudan has been ripped apart, with South Sudan functioning almost as a
colony of the Israeli government.
Libya, which once had the highest life expectancy on the African
continent, has been destroyed with NATO bombs.
Oil workers in Nigeria labor long hours under horrific conditions to
extract their natural resources, so the owners of Shell Oil can make
profits from them.
The impoverishment of African people did not arise naturally. It is
the result of centuries of plunder by wealthy foreign corporations,
enforced with bombs, drones, cruise missiles, and every other inhuman
weapon you can imagine.
Africans do not enjoy the benefits of the vast resources of oil,
natural gas, minerals, and human labor that exist on their continent.
Africa remains poor so big bankers on Wall Street and London can be
A Global Migrant Crisis
When I think of the thousands and thousands of Somalis, Eritreans,
Ethiopians, and other Africans who have perished in the small strip of
ocean we are now propelling ourselves through, I am forced to think of
the US-Mexico border.
I had the opportunity to interview Gloria Rubac, an immigrant
solidarity activist from Texas, and she described a similar situation
there. She told of how almost every day a few corpses turn up. These
are people from Latin America, who have desperately attempted to get
to the United States, only to die of starvation, dehydration, heat, or
other horrors along the way. Hundreds are found dead each month.
When I flew to Iran, I transferred in Abu Dhabi, part of the United
Arab Emirates. As I researched about the United Arab Emirates, I read
that this Middle Eastern country has a population of 9.8 million
people, but less than 2 million are actually citizens.
The overwhelming majority of the population of UAE are guest workers,
most from Nepal and The Philippines. The conditions of the guest
workers in the UAE have been compared to “modern day slavery.” These
guest workers are not free to leave the country, form unions, or even
utter the slightest protest against their low pay or conditions.
As I read this information about Abu Dhabi during my five hour
layover, I noticed that the people sweeping the floors and collecting
the garbage in the airport did not look Middle Eastern. These were
people from Southeast Asia, who kept their heads low, not making eye
contact with anyone, keeping the airport clean for the crowd of
western tourists and wealthy Arabian aristocracy who were waiting for
The people sweeping the floors in the airport were the very people I
was reading about on wikipedia. These were people from impoverished
countries who have fled to Abu Dhabi out of economic desperation, only
to find themselves trapped in a horrific situation that they cannot
Recently, western media was forced to report on the fact that
Ethiopian guest workers were rising up in Israel. The mostly Ethiopian
guest workers were inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” protests in
the United States, and heroically revolted against the vicious Israeli
European cities are also filled with peoples from Africa, Asia, and
the Middle East. There has been a rise of right-wing anti-immigrant
bigotry in Europe, with fascist and Anti-Islamic groups conducting
“Mosque invasions” and other provocations.
The global crisis of capitalism has caused a crisis of home
foreclosures, a low wage economy, and a rising police state in the US.
Around the world, in many of the countries that are already colonized
and oppressed, this crisis has created conditions of straight up
starvation and malnutrition. Capitalism has caused conditions in much
of the world to become so horrific, that people simply cannot continue
living there. They either must flee for their lives, or perish.
The working peoples of Honduras, Guatemala, Somalia, Ethiopia, The
Philippines and Bangladesh, among others, are all facing essentially
genocidal conditions. All across the world, millions of people are
dying as a result of a “man-made famine” created by capitalism on a
The big corporations have advanced technology to astounding levels,
making production easier and cheaper than ever. The result has not
been a better life for the majority of the human race, but instead,
the current situation of mass death and impoverishment for so many. In
a system in which production is planned by private owners, efficiency
does not lead to prosperity.
Millions have been forced to become migrants and millions have died in
the process, because global capitalism controls most of the planet.
Big bankers run the world economy, and they have organized it, not to
provide a decent life for the people, but to make profits for
Wall Street Fears “Another Iran”
So, what does this have to do with Yemen? US media commentators are
openly declaring what they are very afraid of in Yemen. They openly
try to justify the continuing Saudi atrocities, saying “Yemen could
become another Iran.”
The Iranian revolution of 1979 resulted in the western bankers being
driven out of the country. The Iranian government is not a puppet of
the western capitalists, but an independent one, devoted to developing
the Iranian economy and staying true to religious principles.
The Iranian government is opposed to the system of western neo-liberal
capitalism, and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution openly
declares this. Unlike many of its neighbors, Iran is highly developed.
In the conversations I continue to have on this ship with Iranian Red
Crescent volunteers, they are shocked to learn that university
education in the United States is not free, and that people spend
decades in debt to pay for it. They are equally shocked to discover
that people in the US lose their homes or cars to pay medical bills.
Healthcare in the Islamic Republic of Iran is guaranteed to all
citizens by the Ministry of Health, as is university education for all
who are admitted.
Iran is a fortress of resistance to imperialism and Zionism. The
strength behind the Iranian government is a highly politicized group
of men called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, who are
accountable only to the Supreme Leader. The Iranian government, which
was forged in one of the most popular revolutions in history, has
control over the country’s vast oil resources, and uses them for the
benefit of the population.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has made great sacrifices to strengthen
the Palestinian people and their resistance to Israel. Iran gave
critical support to the Provisional Irish Republican Army during the
1980s. In the capital of Tehran, there is even a street named in honor
of Irish revolutionary martyr Bobby Sands. The Black liberation
fighter Malcolm X is also held in high esteem by the Iranian people.
The Supreme Leader of Iran recently described the murder of Eric
Garner and Freddie Gray to a gathering of Iranian police, and told
them “Iran must not follow this example.”
It should be obvious why Wall Street would not want “another Iran” in
the Middle East.
Yemen is now in the process of doing what not just Iran, but Syria,
Cuba, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Venezuela, China, and so many other countries
have already done. Yemen is desperately trying to break the chains of
foreign domination, and seize control of its destiny as a nation.
From “National Dialogue” to Revolution
The Ansarullah organization (also called the “Houthis”), the tribal
forces, and the Yemeni Army have formed a united front to beat back
the Saudi attack. Over 342,000 people have joined the popular
During my traveling, I have had the opportunity to speak with Tighe
Barry, who was in Yemen during the years when this revolution was in
its earliest stages. Tighe is a pacifist, and he does not share my
enthusiasm about the Yemeni uprising, however when asked about what he
observed there in the aftermath of the initial 2011 events, he said
“It reminded me of Occupy Wall Street.”
After the “Arab Spring” or “Islamic Awakening”, there were massive
gatherings to conduct dialogue among the people of Yemen about how to
move forward. With strict democratic procedures, different religious
and tribal groups began to debate and discuss how the country could
move forward. Almost everyone involved wanted an end to the domination
of foreign powers. They wanted Yemen to begin moving toward
independence and self-reliance.
The inspiring “national dialogue” that began in the aftermath of the
2011 uprising was ended. Certain forces, especially those representing
religious minorities, were once again locked out of the national
conversation. A sham election was staged, and Mansour Hadi, a puppet
of the Saudis was the only candidate allowed to participate.
With peaceful and democratic options eliminated, the Ansarullah
organization and the other forces who had participated in this broad,
massive upsurge chose to “pick up the gun.” The coalition the
Ansarullah organization formed during the 2011 “Arab Spring” waged an
armed struggle for freedom.
The military strategy the Ansarullah forces used was very similar to
those developed by Mao Zedong during the Chinese revolution. They
carved out liberated territories and base areas in the northern region
of the country. Gradually they built up their strength, recruiting and
training people in the countryside, before victoriously marching into
the capitol and seizing the government buildings in the early months
In response to the Ansarullah organization and its allies waging a
successful, “People’s War” style revolution, and putting the popular
committees in control of the government buildings, the Saudi regime
has unleashed their horrendous campaign of terror.
The Saudi attack has completely shifted the political situation in
Yemeni society. Forces who were hostile to Ansarullah and their
coalition before, have now joined with them in the face of the brutal
Saudi attack. The Popular Committees started by the Ansarullah
organization and their allies are now the primary political force of
power in the country, with almost everyone coming to their side.
The deposed President Mansour Hadi attempted to form his own “Free
Yemeni Army” but it completely flopped. He fled to Saudi Arabia for
protection, because the people of Yemen are now completely against
Wall Street Keeping Yemen Impoverished
What has made Saudi Arabia and its Wall Street masters so desperate to
retake control of Yemen?
Yemen has vast, untapped oil resources. Wall Street and the Saudis
have up until now kept Yemen’s oil in the ground, not wanting to put
it up on the market, and make the price of their own oil decrease.
But an independent Yemen would not have to obey their orders. Yemen,
under the control of a popular coalition of anti-imperialists, could
become a huge oil exporting country. Yemen’s vast oil resources could
be used to build the country up into an independent economic power.
This popular revolution could transform Yemen into a country like
Venezuela or Iran, independently developing as a center of economic
and political resistance to western neo-liberal capitalism and
The Saudi bombs are falling in the hopes of preventing this from
occurring. The Wall Street bankers and imperialists want Yemen to
remain as it is, one of the most impoverished countries in the region.
They want Yemen’s oil to stay in the ground, and Yemen’s people to
remain starving and homeless.
Imperialism does NOT bring development. This is the greatest myth of
global economics, and it is widely believed, even by some leftists.
Imperialism does not develop the world, and build it up. Imperialism
beats down civilizations and economies, forcing people to be
impoverished so that Wall Street and London can stay on top.
Bangladesh was once called the “Golden Bengal” because its silk was so
prized by people all over the world. Today, Bangladeshis are burned
alive in factories, working for pennies an hour to make clothes for
Wal-Mart and the GAP.
Mexico was once the center of the Aztecs, who built huge pyramids and
made huge advancements in the field of mathematics and astronomy.
Today, Mexico is a mess of poverty and chaos, as drug cartels
exterminate people and so many live in extreme poverty.
The global capitalist economy of the 21st century is dependent upon
destruction. It can allow no competitors to emerge. It needs chaos,
instability, and poverty.
Yemen is in the process of breaking free from that system, and setting
out on a course of independence. The United States, Israel, Saudi
Arabia, ISIS, and Al-Queda are all united in trying to stop this
process, and keep Yemen as an impoverished colony of the big bankers.
This is what the fight in Yemen is really about.
My hope is that my new friends in the Red Crescent Society will be
able to deliver much needed medical supplies to the innocent victims
of this horrific war. We are all risking our lives on this ship, but
millions of people, not just in Iran and Yemen, but all over the
world, are praying for us.
Let The Hungry Children of Yemen Live!
This Illegal, Immoral Blockade Must End!
Don’t Block The Rescue Boat!
(I ask my friends in the United States and elsewhere to please forward
and post this message as widely as possible. Send it to the press, put
it on social media, repost it anywhere you want. My internet access
onboard is very limited, so PLEASE help spread the word about our
URGENT! Call the White House!
The US and Saudi Arabia Must Not Attack a Civilian Relief Vessel! Let the Aid Ship Pass!
The US and Saudi Arabia are threatening to attack a humanitarian aid ship on the high seas! International observers, including US citizens, are aboard. This would be piracy and an act of war! Call the White House now at 202-456-1414 and 202-456-1111 and say: Let the aid ship pass!
The ship Rescue, chartered by the Red Crescent Society of Iran, is now approaching the coast of Yemen. It carries 2,500 tons of medicine and humanitarian aid for the thousands of Yemeni children, women and men wounded and hundreds of thousands displaced by Saudi bombing. It has international observers aboard. including IAC activist Caleb Maupin.
The Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen is Washington’s war, The brutal, corrupt, oil-rich Saudi monarchy does nothing without a green light from the White House and the Pentagon!
US-made planes flown by US-trained pilots are raining US-made bombs and missiles on the impoverished land of Yemen. The Saudi military is violating the ceasefire signed on May 12. It is using white phosphorous bombs on civilians. It had blockaded the poorest country in the Middle East and is blocking food from reaching hungry children.
We remember that in 1988 the US missile cruiser Vicennes shot down Iran Air 655 over the Arabian Gulf, killing 290 civilians. We know that the Obama administration has been silent when Israeli naval commandos murdered and kidnapped unarmed people, including US citizens, on the high seas.
We must not let this happen again! Call the White House and demand that the president let the aid ship Rescue pass!