Yemen and You.
Bonjour et bienvenue à Union College! Pardon my French, but I just came back from Adventist Colleges Abroad in Collonges-sous-Salève! I hope everyone had a great summer as well and is ready to get back into the daily grind of school.
My name is Wesley Rodriguez-Diep and I’m a sophomore. My hobbies include hanging out with friends, gymnastics, ukulele, reading, and watching all kinds of TV shows and movies.
Along with writing for The Clocktower, I am the Resident Assistant for 3rd floor Prescott as well as the ASB International Liaison! I have a busy year ahead but I’m looking forward to getting to know the incoming students as well as reconnecting with returning ones!
My focus for The Clocktower this year is world events and global perspectives. My goal is to educate people about issues in the world around us while giving my perspective on those issues. It’s easy to get caught up in our personal lives and ignore broader events that don’t directly affect us.
Because we live in the United States, we also tend to get caught up in news that is unique to our country, such as our messy politics, and forget what’s going on in the rest of the world.
But there’s so much going on outside our borders, and even if it doesn’t directly impact us, it’s still important to be educated about what’s going on so we can form our own educated and rational opinions. I want to provide a small window through which readers can peer into the wider world around us.
The Civil War in Yemen has been going on for two and a half years, starting on March 19, 2015.1 That may seem short compared to other wars throughout history, but the conflict between the Saudi-led military coalition and Iranian Houthi fighters has had a disastrous effect on innocent Yemenis.
Currently, there is a cholera outbreak that has affected an estimated 500,000 people and caused nearly 2,000 deaths since its outbreak in April.2
Cholera is a waterborne disease and is relatively easy to treat under normal conditions. But, in war-torn Yemen, there are 15 million people who are unable to receive the treatment they need to survive. Health professionals aren’t being paid and many facilities have shut down due to destruction or lack of funds.
I get very upset when I hear stories like this because it means innocent people are suffering. Years of poverty and poor governance only make these violent times much harder to bear. These people deserve so much better than becoming collateral damage in a fight in which most have no stake.
The Yemeni people can only dream of the things we take for granted on a daily basis. We are blessed to be in a safe country where pursuing your hopes and dreams isn’t merely fantasy.
This reality seems foreign to us because of the opportunity that we have to live in America. We have vaccinations, modern medical science, and good facilities that provide us with whatever we need. Never in my life have I been worried about a disease such as cholera. It seems unbelievable that a disaster of this scale still exists in 2017.
Events like this make one wonder how far we’ve truly come as a society. Why does it take a disaster such as this to make us feel empathetic towards our fellow human beings? Social media allows us to put on the appearance that we care with “Prayers for [insert country here].” But it’s times like these that we need to look within ourselves and examine our motives. It's times like these that require us to call upon our better nature and keep others in our thoughts.
Wesley Rodriguez-Diep is a sophomore studying international relations.