THE BLOG

No Mention of Yemen From Those Hoping to Win Your Vote

20/04/2015 16:32 BST | Updated 18/06/2015 10:59 BST

Don't worry. In three weeks it will be all over and we will just have a few more days of the media speculating on the make up of the coalition. You can certainly respond to the knock on your door knowing it won't be a politician.

If that sounds like a long time to suffer that much political bombardment just imagine what it must be like to endure 21 days fearing an actual bombardment from weapons of mass destruction.

That's how long the people of Yemen have lived in fear of their lives and in three weeks have been the subject of 1,200 Saudi airstrikes. It is an assault of extraordinary proportions in response to the Houthi rebels forcing Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi from power back in January.

In fact you might have thought it warranted some kind of response from those hoping to run your country after May 7 although 'damn right' Ed, 'I'll keep a coalition on the centre ground' Nick and 'we're on the right track' Dave have been keeping their campaigns Yemeni free.

In recent times we have had elections dominated by UK foreign policy - The Iraq War - yet somehow not all attacks on countries from near neighbours seem to provoke the same reaction. If In fact if you got your news from the TV you could be forgiven for thinking things it was all relatively quiet in the Middle East at the moment. Can you imagine the coverage we would be getting if Iranian troops were pummeling positions in one of its many neighbours?

Of course this is where it gets very 'political' and our official reaction to any situation overseas is largely determined by who we class as 'friends' and who are our 'enemies'.

In the Middle East it becomes very difficult to to work out what our strategy is although there definitely seems to be some leaning towards the sunnis over the shiites. We essentially support Saudi Arabia (sunni) over Iran (shiites) and the Houthi rebels are shiites and we definitely supported the sunnis in the Iraq/Iran war of the early 80s until we didn't a decade later and eventually toppled Saddam. However we did support Islamic extremists who went on to form Isis in the Syrian and Libyan uprisings to bring down Asad and Gaddafi respectively and also support the Mujahideen (Al Qaeda) in Afghanistan against the Russians.

Confused? Well yes you should be because a lot of our foreign policy becomes hard to fathom when you drill down into it but what is unescapable, and never changes, is that those who have least influence in the decision making suffer the most.

According the UN nearly half of Yemen's population are now food 'insecure' and almost five million people are facing 'emergency' conditions. Best estimates put the civilian death toll at close to 500 but can you just imagine the fear and terror and all those little children flinching as the sound of each and every one of those 1,200 airstrikes takes place. Just imagine going to sleep every night consumed with worry that you might lose a loved one.

And all in the most terrifying and distressing of circumstances.

But these people are forgotten. They don't fit with the 'narrative. They are, as a great journalist once said, 'unpeople'.

Take a bit of time today to think about them. They are just people like your family and friends, just trying to survive in a world that increasingly doesn't make sense to any of us.