Join me and ask the foreign minister to silence the guns.
My name is Amina Atiq. I am a British Yemeni poet and activist. A daughter and granddaughter of Yemen.
The Yemeni community has been a part of British society since the late 1860s. We have contributed to the UK for around 150 years, fighting for Britain in both world wars. My Grandad Ali immigrated to the UK from Yemen. Promising to bring the sunshine back to our post-war streets, he opened his corner sweet shop on Lawrence road in Liverpool and sold broken biscuits for half a penny. My family has worked tirelessly and contributed to the Britain I call home.
There is a war in Yemen. Together, we can stop the massive injustices there.
The UK provides the Saudi-led military coalition with our support, spare parts, maintenance, technical advice and resupply. It is a contradiction that we give aid to help those most in need in Yemen while supplying the arms that are killing them. More than anything, it’s about the violations of rights and laws. Perhaps you know all this.
This war has devastated and shocked
It is a daughter who lost her husband on her wedding day, when an airstrike hit the wedding hall and killed her husband-to-be.
The school bus with children that never made it back home. Their school bags left behind, stained red for the world to see.
A 50- year-old woman fighting for her life as cholera and heart disease ravaged her body but with the right help, saved.
The most vulnerable children and health workers trapped between fighting parties in Yemen.
And there is shrapnel stabbing my 14-year-old cousin in his neck. Like many other children playing, he was caught in the middle of war – some bombs landing without invitation leaving a goodbye note stamped ‘Made in Britain’
Can I ask you to stop this suffering and ask the foreign minister to take leadership and silence the guns?
In every airstrike, in every home demolished, in mourning and grief. There are women standing by waiting to be invited to the table to discuss the peace agreement we were promised. But a promise out of guilt is a promise that we will never see.
Yemen is much more than the picture I have painted. In conflict, there is resilience and hope. Hope that one day they will return to a dignified life without war and trauma.
Yemen will survive and we can be part of saving it – many faces are waiting for us to remember them, as we stand immobilised and scatter our flowers for them and the rest is for history to never forget.
Amina Atiq British Yemeni poet and activist