When we think of basic human necessities, food, water, and shelter are usually the first things that come to mind.
In an increasingly globalized and tech-oriented world, the internet is one resource that has almost become essential to life today. The internet helps us conduct our work and education, with the scope of online activities shifting as a result of the pandemic. It connects us with family and friends living abroad. And importantly, it allows us to obtain live news coverage from various media outlets — sources that allow us to become aware of human rights violations happening in distant regions around the world.
If you have been following social media hashtags on #yemen, you may have seen that Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, went through a four-day blackout this past week after a series of massive air raids that knocked out telecommunications infrastructure.
In these four days, Yemen experienced the deadliest surge of attacks since the war began in 2014.
The blackout has highlighted the importance of the internet, and how being cut off from connection, and from the world at large, is not only a matter of inconvenience, but also potentially a matter of life and death.
Many people took to social media over the past week to get #yemen trending and to shed light on the recent atrocities. These included a massacre in a football stadium during a live game, attacks on a hospital, homes, a school, a prison, and airports. At least 300 people were reported to have been killed in only 24 hours, making January a record-breaking month for civilian casualties. The internet outage resulted in Yemenis being unable to access money transfers from family and friends outside of the country. As a result, those who were already in desperate need received even less assistance. The airstrikes have made it extremely difficult to access and provide aid to many regions of the country, and with a sharp rise in internally displaced people and fewer funds available, this means that more and more Yemenis will experience extreme hunger, famine, and disease.
We are a generation that remains connected at every moment. Our ability to connect with others is literally within the grasp of our hands. The internet is our door to awareness of what is happening around the world. With this information at our fingertips, we have a social responsibility – at the very least, to be informed of humanitarian crises like these. Read about the many injustices and human rights violations being perpetrated against our fellow brothers and sisters. Share and discuss this information with others. Use your platforms and your resources to make tangible differences in the lives of others.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada is working to support those in need in Yemen. You can help make a difference with The Zahra(s) Trust Canada. View our campaigns here, share content from our blogs, and donate to our various causes around the world today.