On Wednesday morning - at around 1am - I got the news that Save the Children had just released a brief report suggesting a horrific finding: that a million children in Yemen are at the threshold of cholera, which is a death sentence for them. I made some calls right then, waking some friends up who work diligently in the world of relief. The UN had suggested that two million children are in the zone of cholera that is growing in Yemen. This is an unmitigated war-made disaster.
The UN and the humanitarian agencies are simply not getting the kind of monetary support needed to stem the enormity of the atrocity. There is just a great lack of resources. But this is not a problem of resources alone. It is also a problem of this futile and bloody war - there is no possibility of a Saudi victory, yet the petro-monarchy is unrelenting in this war crime of immense proportions. The West is utterly complicit, since it continues to encourage Saudi Arabia with arms and with its paranoid political assessment about Iran.
My column this week at Alternet returns to the war-made tragedy of Yemen. You can read it here. I am immensely grateful to my friends in Yemen and to my contacts in the humanitarian agencies, many of whom took a phone call in the middle of the night!
I love giving speeches to kids when parents aren't around. They'll believe anything! They're even more gullible than my regular supporters! pic.twitter.com/kA0iZAsNJw? Donald J. Trump (@RealDonaldTrFan) July 27, 2017
One of the outstanding issues that produced the Saudi war on Yemen is the question of Iran. There is every indication from the US White House that Iran remains in its gunsights. As I write in this fortnight's Frontline, it is more than likely that Trump will not certify the nuclear deal with Iran this October and might indeed move to some kind of military action against the country.
There is no incentive for Saudi Arabia to stop its Yemen war and none indeed to conduct a grand bargain with Iran as long as this regime change threat against Iran by the United States remains alive. My column, which tracks this dangerous situation, is here. The last line of my column is this: 'If West Asia is in chaos now, there is no adequate word to describe its fate if that full-scale war [of the US against Iran] actually begins'.
News now from LeftWord Books, where we are hard at work producing a raft of titles for this year.
First, a blog post I wrote on a book that is very special to me - the memoir by Cecilia Bobrovskaya, a committed Bolshevik, about her experiences as a rank-and-file party worker in building the Russian Revolution. Bobrovskaya's book (published in 1934) had a great impact on me when I was a youngster; I hope very much it will inspire people now to see how human history - in its zigs and zags - is made by the sacrifice and courage of the millions of people like Cecilia Bobrovskaya. My blog post is here. There are instructions in the post to our website at leftword.com, where you can get this beautiful edition of the book (available worldwide).
Second, a blog post on one of the most beautiful books that LeftWord has produced - Rehearsing Freedom: The Story of a Theatre in Palestine. This book, edited by Johanna Wallin, is designed by the brilliant Sherna Dastur and produced by my comrade at LeftWord Sudhanva Deshpande. The book - lavishly illustrated with photographs and other images - is a testament to a cultural institution in Palestine that places the imagination and the creativity of thought into the struggle to end the occupation. The blog post is here. There are some images of the book. Please have a look. Please let others know about it.
Meanwhile, in Kolkata today, tea garden workers from the north of West Bengal descend on the city to protest for higher wages, for land, for food, for dignity. Their struggle is a testimony to what is possible, what is imperative.