Last night I spoke with my eldest son, who lives in a village in the northern part of Yemen. I asked him how he and his family were doing, and he answered, “Fine, everything’s fine.” He then went on to tell me that the Shi’ite guerrillas had blockaded the village, allowing no one to enter or leave, not even for medical care, as well as stopping people from bringing in food, propane, and other supplies. I guess “fine” is relative, right?
This little war has been going on for several years. It has its active times and its more inactive times, but it never dies completely. In theory, they were in a calm stage, and the blockade came as a surprise to them. Apparently trying to make me feel better, he told me that other tribes had implemented a blockade back at the Shi’is. Great, I thought, that certainly opens the door for escalation in the fighting- and the Houthi rebels have no compunction about killing innocent people and children. It was only a few months ago they killed one of my son’s friends and his little four year old boy.
To top this off, the fighting in Sana’a has worsened considerably in the last couple of weeks. According to a Yemeni family who lives there, people are afraid to go out of their houses because the tribe who is behind the uprising against the president has snipers positioned all over the place, and they take out whoever they see- doesn’t matter who you are or where you are going. In Old Sana’a they are reportedly destroying houses, seemingly at random. I hate to think of what the people in the city are going through. How can a group that is supposedly trying to better the Yemenis condition kill them at random and cause them so much pain and trouble? It seems clear that this tribal leader simply wants to have the power, without thought for the people of Yemen themselves.
So it goes on, and on, and on. I pray for the people of Yemen, and I pray especially for my son and his wife and babies in their little northern village. I wish somehow that word of what is really happening would get out, but I know that even if it was reported in the New York Times, nothing would really change. As usual, I have to fall back on patience and prayer, and wait to see what comes of this “Arab spring.”