War is the face of a five-month-old child
They never came back.
It’s been a month since I met that skeletal bundle, begged his family to stay and despite my best hopes, and fastidious checking of our Emergency Room register, they didn’t return.
With no forwarding phone number, I can’t be sure he made it to six months, or to 4kg, or to his burial plot.
For me, this is the face of war. No combat boots, no blast injuries or camouflage gear. The soldiers, the bombs, the traumatic, immediate devastation is so far from the overwhelming truth I’ve found here in Yemen, and last year too, in Iraq.
War doesn’t look like a running soldier, laden with artillery shells. It’s the face of a five-month-old child, emaciated, aged exponentially in a cruel twist of irony as he dies slowly and prematurely from malnutrition.
It’s the withdrawal of humanitarian actors in rural areas as fighting parties threaten advance, then retreat. The agencies telling starving families the gaping hole won’t only be in their stomachs, but in the provision of international aid.
I wanted so dearly for that malnourished baby to return, to provide that chance of life the system was trying to deny him. I wanted hope, for myself and for the future of the Yemeni people.
Maybe I thought I was entitled to it, when in fact it is 28 million Yemenis who are entitled.To basic human rights. To healthcare. To an existence free from conflict.”