The operation was a success but the patient died..

This old saying might have been invented to describe the US / Saudi coalition’s operation in Yemen. Initiated with the aim of restraining Houthi rebels from restoring an anti- western ex-president to power, and of course, to “bring peace” to the country, it has destroyed what was left of civilian society in Yemen; roads, schools, hospitals, food distribution, water installations have all been targeted and destroyed. Both sides have been complicit in this destruction, but the coalition, supported by the UK which has sold huge supplies of armements to the Saudis, has been much the more successful in reducing a very poor nation to rubble. The words the Roman historian Tacitus put in the mouth of a Scottish chieftain denouncing Roman imperialism, are just as apt in this instance, “They make a desert and they call it peace.”

The ruined hospital after the attack

Two days ago Saudi planes bombed a hospital supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders, killing 11 patients and at least one member of staff while wrecking the facility. This is the fourth MSF hospital to be targeted by the coalition in the last twelve months. MSF employs doctors, nurses and ancillary staff from all round the world, and tries to employ as many as possible from the countries in which it works. It provides medical services in conflict zones to all who need them regardless  of political or military allegiance. It is a monument to human rationality, compassion and courage.

It is increasingly obvious that the coalition is engaged in terrorism, that is,  it is attempting to achieve its political aims by the use of indiscriminate violence designed to cause fear and despair. The roots of this terrorism lie in the inbred autocratic brutality of the House of Saud on the one hand, and the imperial mentality of the U.K. and USA on the other, which consider extreme violence at a distance from their own populations to be a legitimate way of keeping lesser breeds in order, while denouncing it as Satanic if it is done to them. It’s time to face facts:


It is particularly important for the Christian churches to name and denounce this terrorism, as it is easily identified by extreme Muslims as being Christian violence, in spite of the more than negligible contribution made by the Saudis who themselves support an extreme form of Islam. Christian believers are being persecuted in many Islamic nations and their safety is no way increased by the Terrorism of so-called Christian nations. There are many motives for Muslim persecution of Christians in, for example, Pakistan, some of which have nothing to do with international politics, but Christian protests to the Pakistani government are easily dismissed unless the same Churches are actively denouncing the use of terrorism by the coalition in Yemen.

I have written before that we need “boots on the ground for peace” in countries where civil society has almost completely been destroyed. MSF staff consistently put their boots where others fear to tread. If there is an organisation which equally represents human reason, the radical compassion of Jesus, and the bold justice of  Mohammed, it is MSF. I urge all my fellow believers to raise this latest UK supported outrage against them with their MP’s; and to donate what they can to MSF.who have been the victims of a successful operation in which more than one patient died.






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