Last Sunday, in the midst of inspiring protests against Trump’s Muslim ban across the US, the angelic face of Nawar al Awlaki emerged on social media.
Her radiant smile contrasted with the stark news that accompanied the picture: the 8 year-old had just been killed by an American commando in Yemen.
The deadly dawn raid was conducted by the US Navy SEAL team, already known to have executed wedding party massacres, beheadings, mutilations, and other atrocities across Afghanistan and Iraq.
The main target was seemingly to seize computer materials, but the operation rapidly turned into a bloodbath.
Local sources reported that 59 people were killed, including women and children.
Nawar’s grandfather, former minister of Agriculture Nasser al Awlaki, described how the young girl was shot in the neck and bled for two hours before passing away.
“They [the SEALs] entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house” he added.
“Why kill children?” the grandfather asked candidly.
In 2011, the US had already killed Abdurahman, al Awlaki’s 16-year grandson, in a drone strike while he ate at a restaurant with his young cousins.
Such acts sanctioned by the US President show that he is all too willing to fulfil his terrifying promise to ” take out [terrorists’] families”, even when the US definition of ‘terrorist’ has been unchallenged, and is broad and far-reaching.
The US wars destroying Yemen
Such incidents are sadly not isolated occurrences in Yemen. In 2009, 41 villagers, 35 of whom were women and children, were killed by US cluster bombs in al Majalah, Southern Yemen. Cluster bombs are banned by 119 countries.
Since 2015, Yemen has descended into a war leaving Yemenis sitting between two fires. On one side, the US/UK-backed airstrikes, which, according to the UN, caused almost two thirds of reported civilian deaths. On the other side, the Iranian-backed Houthis who have also been accused of causing mass civilian casualties.
As a result, 2.4 million Yemenis have fled their homes, many seeking refuge in neighbouring war-torn Somalia. Emergency aid organisations have recently warned that 7 million are on the brick of starvation, forced to eat from rubbish dumps.
Half a million children were in urgent need of treatment for malnutrition.
US citizens must petition their government
Standing in a Syrian cemetery and surrounded by children’s graves, American war-reporter Bilal Abdul Kareem commented on Nawar’s killing, labelling the idea that “so-called Islamic militants” are at war with democracy and freedoms as “total propaganda” and “false”.
“If this (type of warfare that is killing all these children, women and innocent people in the name of fighting terror) is not OK, then you need to petition your government day in and day out, so that there can be a cessation of these type of attacks”, he said addressing his fellow American citizens.
For Glenn Greenwald, “civilian victims in Yemen will be ignored because the U.S. and its allies are responsible”.
The American people have shown their capacity to stand up in front of the president they elected, opposing the “Muslim ban”, supporting refugees from Muslim countries including Yemen. They have organised nation-wide rallies, donated en masse to civil rights organisations and formed circles to protect Muslims praying.
If detaining Yemenis at airports sparks outrage, surely killing their children should too.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)