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Norway and the war in Yemen

Without people in Norway aware of this, Norwegian politicians approve the sale of weapons and ammunition to oppressive dictatorships that systematically kill civilians in Yemen. 



When I came to Norway, I immediately saw how good and wonderful Norwegian society is. Although Norway is a small country, it has found a way to position itself globally. Norwegian education, health, agriculture, nature and environmental policy have made it easier for people to live and thrive here. Norway is not a perfect country, but has a lot of good for it that many other countries can learn from. I have always wanted to promote the Norwegian example in the Arab world, and not least in the last republic in the Gulf of Persia, where I was born and raised: Yemen. When people ask me why I live in Norway, I answer simply and simply: love, and that I got married to a Norwegian man. When the war in Yemen started in March 2015, my life was turned upside down. I lived in peaceful Norway, while my father, mother and the rest of the family lived under the bomb. Every time I called and the phones worked, I heard the sound of knocking and glass breaking in our house. Social media, once used to convey the spirit of the Arab Spring and our aspirations as a youth, became a nightmare to be on. Every time I go to Facebook or Twitter, news of the war and how the humanitarian and political situation has worsened for the people of Yemen.

The peace nation of Norway sells military equipment to Saudi Arabia that kills civilians in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia is also elected leader of the UN Human Rights Council until 2019.

Weapons Sales. What was once my school and the place where I develop as a human being is bombed by the Saudis. The hospital where I was born is bombed, even the streets where I skirted when I was supposed to take the patch are unrecognizable. They are completely broken. Sanaa, my city which has been for thousands of years, is under bomb attack by Saudi Arabia and their coalition with nine other Arab countries. Social media also informs me who has lost their lives. I've lost friends and colleagues, so many that it all feels unreal. Although I am not physically present myself, I experience the war psychologically and emotionally. I feel the war close to me every time I hear family members' voices over the phone when they say they are doing well, but I realize on the tone that they are holding things back so I don't have to worry.

As the war breaks out, I have been thinking a lot about what war is and how these gulf nations get weapons that enable them to go to war. Yemen is the only country in the region that experienced the Arab Spring, and is also the country at the top of the list of land the Gulf dictatorships will go loose. I was shocked when I discovered that peaceful Norway is involved in selling ammunition, military equipment and weapons parts to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, such as daily bombs and wars in Yemen. These are the weapons my family hears and feels the drones off. Norwegian companies make explosives and parts for the Hellfire missile, which is used on Apache helicopters used by both Saudi Arabia and the Emirates in Yemen. Through the arms sale, Norway and other Western countries have made it possible for the rich Gulf states to attack the poorest Arab country, a country that is still a republic and which has rejected the Saudi political system and way of life. To me it is unbelievable: the peace nation of Norway sells military equipment to Saudi Arabia that kills civilians in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia is at the same time elected leader of the UN Human Rights Council until 2019.

I'm tired of hearing politically twisted concepts and explanations of why this is okay.

A proposal. Weapon sales are something that goes on without many people knowing about it. It's also probably against what most people want. In addition, after all solar labels, Norway's own rules and decisions in the Storting are opposed. I'm tired of hearing politically twisted concepts and explanations of why this is okay. The unmistakable facts are that Norway sells weapons to oppressive dictatorship states that kill their own and other people's peoples and who systematically bomb hospitals, kindergartens, agricultural areas and civilian housing estates. I have a better idea. Instead of selling weapons to parties that kill civilians, Norway can provide relief and peace mediation in Yemen. The people of Yemen suffer from malnutrition and hunger. Children are not given food because of the Saudi Arabian blockade that prevents food supplies and medicines from entering. Women and children are the ones who pay the most for the war and struggle to survive. If we give them hope and help them through difficult days, we will contribute to a better world where our children can be proud of us and our efforts in solidarity work. Norway can help build democracy, education and health services. Norway can help build up primary structures for agriculture, enabling people to establish their own independent agriculture and become self-sufficient, thus fighting hunger and malnutrition. Norway can contribute with mediation and a peace process that can lead to democratic elections.

Contribute to reconstruction. So what can political Norway do? Norway has contributed to several important peace processes with great success. This is the successful peace process in Colombia, a new and good example. Now, Norway can also contribute in Yemen and prove itself as a humanitarian superpower, and not a country that is secretly enriching itself to armed parties that commit abuse. Norway has great expertise in peace work, democracy building and reconstruction. With this, I challenge the Storting and the government to contribute to peace, reconstruction and work for democracy in Yemen, and put an end to Norway arming those responsible for war and destruction. What can Norwegian citizens do? We can support the organizations that help civilians in Yemen with food, medicine and roof over their heads – organizations such as MSF and the Refugee Aid, which daily save lives. Or Changemaker, which is actively working towards Norway sending weapons to the dictatorships of war in Yemen. Norwegian citizens can also contact their representatives at the Storting, challenge them and ask questions at the Norwegian arms sale. After all, there is quite a lot of Norwegian politicians and citizens can do exactly. Norwegian society has contributed actively to great progress in several places in the world. There is also very much Norway can contribute to Yemen: Peace, reconstruction and democracy.

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