UNICEF’s Mohammed Al-Asaadi recently published a story whose title, “Yemen's Children Hold onto Dreams amid Violence,” sums up the reality for the nations’ youth.
The story profiles 17-year-old Ahmed who is trying to finish school. Ahmed says, “My friends and I should be studying and playing, without having to worry about politics or conflict.”
Children and young adults don't get to make the decisions for a country, yet they are the ones who have to deal most with the consequences.
In Yemen the protests have already turned deadly. What happens next? An escalation of violence, or peace? Will the peacemakers, like the children we just heard from, step forward?
Back in 1846 for Oregon there were peacemakers like the veteran diplomat Albert Gallatin, who for many years championed an amicable resolution of the crisis. For Gallatin and other peacemakers knew what the costs of violence would mean. The people of Oregon were so thankful war would not visit their land.
The Oregon Spectator of that time read, "War is inimical to the prosperity of our institutions, poisonous to the very life blood of our happy republic. We have never yet come out of a war, however so glorious have been our achievements, however so victorious to us its termination, without having been retarded and thrown back in our progressive march.”
Today, Yemen can ill afford more conflict. When you look at the scope of the problems of hunger, water shortage, and poverty facing them, they cannot afford another setback from violence.
We watch news reports come in almost every hour from Yemen. Some of these show progress in peacefully resolving the standoff between protesters and President Saleh’s supporters. But then will be an episode of deadly violence. Could this disintegrate into a civil war? No one knows where this is going.
One thing we can count on are the voices for peace. We can count on the hopes of the children. They are always with us. Can they prevail today in Yemen?