Letter to editor: ‘Stop gun powder trumping milk powder’ in Yemen

For well-known historical reasons, Irish farmers have never been found wanting when any deserving charitable cause comes along.

Our dairy farmers in particular have always been extremely generous in these regards. Now they are being asked to donate the equivalent of one day’s milk to famine-aid in Yemen.

This proposal can only be described as well-meaning, but misguided. Therefore, any dairy farmer thinking of donating, perhaps should think again.

I have lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and I know what goes on there. It’s neither fun nor innocent, and it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted or the over-generous!

Realities in Yemen

The reality is that there is no famine in Yemen. But there’s worse – it’s a permanent civil war that is going on in that unfortunate country!

Indeed were it not for that civil war, Yemen could be awash with all kinds of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fish and meats, etc.

But day in, day out, Yemeni dairy farms and large, off-shore fish farms, are being bombed to smithereens by their next-door neighbours and fellow muslims.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the actors, but not the culprits, in this civil war. This has gone on relentlessly, daily now for the last 10 years. 

Of course none of this could happen if Saudi Arabia and Iran were not armed to the teeth by Britain, America, France, China, and Russia.

It is now possible to buy even military ordnance like tanks and AK47 kalashnikovs etc., on Facebook and Instagram in Yemen today!

Proposals that dairy farmers donate the equivalent of one day’s milk to famine-aid in Yemen will never stop this. At best, this is only a gesture. At worst, it is feeding the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons.

Irish dairy farmer donations

Dairy farmers will be disappointed with how their donations will be wasted and abused in Yemen.

Specifically, it’s very doubtful if even one spoonful of the milk they donate will ever pass the lips of a Yemeni child!

On the contrary, all food-aid consignments are seized daily at the ports and sold into Yemeni black markets. The proceeds of these sales are then secretly squirrelled away.

In order to help Yemeni children most effectively, here’s what we must do: Firstly, use our seat on the Security Council of the United Nations to stop international arms dealers dealing death, famine and destruction to the poor people of Yemen.

Secondly, the monies donated by Irish dairy farmers to Yemen should be used to drill deep wells there and to install solar-powered water pumps on top of them.

These are the two best ways to stop gun powder from trumping milk powder anywhere, every time!

From Brendan Dunleavy, Killeshandra, Co. Cavan