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The Yemen Crisis. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired April 9, 2015 - 11:00:00   ET



[11:00:09] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The bombs are still falling, the guest toll is still rising, but away from the conflict, though, in Yemen the talk

is centered on diplomatic concensus.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: The only way forward is to get back to the political transition that was established by the Gulf

Coopeartion Council and the national dialogue that brought all of the Yemenis together.

ANDERSON: Despite the calls for dialogue, U.S. and Saudi Arabia's regional allies continue to suppor the military campaign against Houthi rebels. And

it seems only Houthi ceasefire can stop this crisis spiraling and with it the consequences for the Middle East and the world.


ANDERSON: Well, I'm Becky Anderson and this is Connect the World live from the Saudi capital Riyadh for you. We've been live from this city for the

past four days. And in our final broadcast of the week we want to reaffirm why what's going on in Yemen matches to Saudi Arabia and this region at

large. We've got the story covered from several angles for you tonight.

Nic Robertson is live in Jizan (ph) on the Saudi border with Yemen. And Nima Elbagir joins us from across the Gulf of Aden in Djibouti, which has

been central to rescue and relief efforts as you will be well aware.

Well, as Saudi strikes continue and Houthi rebels overrun towns and cities in the west and south of Yemen, the humanitarian impact is of growing

concren. The UN and others estimate at least 100,000 people have been displaced and many are trying to escape the country altogether, including

some crossing the narrow channel between here and the Horn of Africa.

Well, Nima Elbagir has more on that side of the story this evening.

Nima, let's start with you.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, well we're hearing the warnings of massive civilian displacement and the potential for a

humanitarian catastrophe. Some of those Yemenis are so desperate to escape the escalating insecurity in their country that they're coming here in tiny

fishing vessels. They're risking that dangerous Red Sea crossing through one of the businest waterways in the world. Take a look at this, Becky.


ELBAGIR: For increasingly desperate Yemenis, Djibouti is becoming a safe haven, but first they have to cross this to get there. It's the Bab-el-

Mandeb Strait. It's one of the busiest waterways in the world. And they're making this journey across it in fishing vessels, often, we're

told, three or four families jammed in at the same time.

This is where many end up, Obock in the north of Djibouti, a quiet little fishing port.

In an orphanage under contruction, we find Hamid Hamoud (ph) and his wife Amna (ph) setting their daily government ration into the family

(inaudible). They're one of 50 families who lease into this building site whiel the official refugee camp is being built.

Amina says when her family is sitting eating together like this, she can almost forget what happened the night the aerial bombardment began.

AMINA ALI QASSIM, YEMENI REFUGEE (through translator): We ran. As soon as we left the house a missile fell right by it and the second fell on it. It

burned it. It burned everything we loved. The missiles rained down all night and this one was crying. I covered her ears, but she still cried.

I worried maybe something would go wrong in her from the fear. At first light we grabbed what we had and left.

ELBAGIR: Her son Majid described the family's long journey in a rickety fishing boat as a window.

MAJID HAMOUDA, YEMENI REFUGEE: 25 of us were in a fishing boat. We left at 7:00 a.m. We didn't arrive until 2:00 p.m.

ELBAGIR: On the sea as the boat rocked? Adn you had small children with you?

HAMOUD: We had this one here and that other one. And the other family had seven children and the women were violently ill. It was a catastrophe.

ELBAGIR: But not everyone in the family made the journey. Amina daughters and their families are still in Yemen, cut off from all communication.

Talking about it, Amina became too overcome to go on.

As the conflict across the water escalates, more and more Yemenis are expected to make this desperate crossing, hoping like Amina and her family

that it won't be too long before they can turn around and go home.

[11:05:04] QASSIM: May god please have mercy on Yemen.


[11:05:12] ELBAGIR: Djibouti itself is a tiny Horn of Africa country, Becky. It's got a population of less than a million. The worry is whether

Djibouti can handle the influx that's expected.

ANDERSON: Nima, what are the prospects for Amina and her family now?

ELBAGIR: Well, wait and see. They have so little. Many Yemenis have been told that what little money they were able to stash on their person and

bring across that is absolutely worthless here. There is no way to convert that. They are living off Djiboutian government handouts and whenwe met

them, that's actually only a transitional point. Very soon when the other start arriving, they're going to moved into these hot UNHCR tents on the

outskirts of town and we were up there only yesterday, it is blisteringly hot, the thought of those children being out there in the midday sun.

But for them it is still better than what they fled back home in Yemen, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir reporting for you. Thank you, Nima.

The desperation of Yemenis and foreign nationals, then, in the country is already patently clear. But the United Nations is warning the situation

could deteriorate further.

The organization's expert on Human Rights says the world needs to prepare for massive displacement and huamitarian crisis as Yemen further descends

into chaos and civilians flee the fighting. That's a quote.

Well, as of Wednesday the UN estimated 540 people have been killed in the two-week old conflict, more than 300 of them are civilians and more than 70

are children. I think we've got to assume those numbers are very, very low. Although, already we know the death toll has risen today.

I'm joined from Geneva by Johannes van der Klaauw, the organization's Yemen humanitarian coordinator.

And Yemen turning, or close to turning, catastrophic is how one of your colleagues described it. Do you share that view?

JOHANNES VAN DER KLAAUW, UN YEMAN HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR: I'm afraid I do. The situation in Yemen is seriously deteriorating by the day.

We should not forget that Yemen was already presenting a serious Humanitarian crisis of a protracted nature over the last three years with

very threadbare services, presenting a picture of endemic poverty underdevelopment, lack of rule of law, lack of governance, serious

violations of women's and child rights. And this new conflict is only aggravating the situation.

The humanitarian situation is deteriorating by the day. As you mentioned, people are fleeing still very much within the country, becoming displaced

in the thousands. But we also seen a Yemeni and also the many refugees Yemeni was hosting, poor as it is, fleeing towards Djibouti, Somali


The humanitarian...

ANDERSON: Right, so what do the civilians need most, sir? And who or what is preventing the delivery of the basic essentials -- sorry, I think we've

got quite bad communications. Let me ask you, what do people need most at this point? And what's preventing them from getting it?

KLAAUW: People need, first of all, food. They need access to clean water. They need access to health. They need protection of their lives and their

rights. They need shelter. So in some key areas they need support.

The humanitarian community in Yemen tries to do its best to scale up its response effort. It's not enough what we have in terms of stocks in the

country. It's not enough what we have in terms of aid workers. We have to fly in medical supplies, food, by boats also.

We are still coordinating with the powers to that airplanes can land, so that boat vessels can dock. We have to discuss with the powers on the

ground that there is safe passage of transports. So it's a very complex situation.

We also call on all the parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians and the safety of aid workers.

ANDERSON: Are the warring parties breaking international law when it comes to civilians caught up in this?

[11:10:04] KLAAUW: They should respect the principles of international humanitarian law. They should abide by commitments to protect the lives

and the rights of civilians, to protect civilian infrastructure.

We have made these calls on all the parties through the conflict. We also ask the international community to impress on the parties to avoid further

casualties, further injuries, to avoid striking at hospitals, but also to avoid using schools and hospitals for military purposes.

ANDERSON: Well, those calls are being made, one hopes they're being heeded, but at present it seems that the situation on the ground verging on

catastrphic as your organization describing. Sir, thank you.

We're going to have a lot more on Yemen over the next hour or so, including analysis of the regional war of words between Iran and Saudi. Senior

international correspondent Nic Robertson is live for you in a cople of minutes.

We're also going to hear from an American citizen stranded in Yemen, one of at least hundreds in the same situation. Hear her story in about 10


And we'll look at how ordinary Yemenis are coping with the war and some are fighting back on social media. That is in a half an hour.

Live from Riyadh, wrapping up a week of broadcasting from the Saudi capital this Thursday.

Also ahead, women have a very little role in public life, but could that be changing here? We talk to one of the first women appointed to the

country's Ashura Council (ph), that is about 20 minutes from now. Do stay with us.


ANDERSON: We've been here in Riyadh all week as the Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen has intensified, the humanitarian crisis is

deepened. And in the last couple of days the political rhetoric has shifted in the same week that the U.S. pledged to increase military

assistance to Saudi and its allies, all sides paying lipservice, at least, to the idea of talks and a political solution, including the exiled

government of Yemen.


REYAD YASSIN ABDULLA, YEMENI FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We believe in the importance of political dialogue. Apparently, this is a

necessary foundation. It is certain that this war will end. We hope all sensible Yemenis can participate in dialogues for the future of Yemen.


ANDERSON: Well, while hundreds of Yemenis have been killed in the conflict, Saudi Arabia reported its first fatalities last week. Three

border guards were killed in fire fights with militants. The first one died on Thursday. His family was publicly comforted by the kingdom, a sign

of just how seriously Saudi Arabia takes the prospect of losing public support for this war.

CNN's Nic Robertson has more.


[11:15:11] NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These kisses for condolence for the father of the first Saudi serviceman to be killed

since airstrikes in Yemen began in late March.

ALI AL-MALIKI, FATHER (through translator): My wife and I and all our family accept this and our proud, proud he's a martyr. He died serving his


ROBERTSON: His son, corporal Suleiman al-Maliki, an 11 year veteran in the Saudi border guards. He had been ordered into battle from a desk job,

reinforcements rushed to bolster defenses.

MALIKI (through translator): He was proud to be in the battle and among the first. That was his wish to go there. And he was proud of that.

ROBERTSON: His family say this picture was taken the day he died in what officials say was a Houthi attack from across the border.

And this, the day he left for the front. His 7-year-old son Wael (ph) at his side the same day starting school.

Since his father's death, government officials and border commanders lavishing affectino on the young boy.

MALIKI (through translator): We thank the royal family for their attention, the governor, too. They have helped alleviate our pain.

ROBERTSON: And that's not the only support the family are getting. Border guard officials tell us that corporate al Maliki's family will continue to

receive his salary for as long as they need. And there will be a significant death benefit payment.

His family tells us that he's been raised in rank so that salary is going to be even higher.

And the Emirati Air Force even named a bombing raid over Yemen after Maliki.

All this seems lost on his son, who joins us and sits silently at his grandfather's side. Nothing, though, denting the older Maliki's


MALIKI (through translator): I want our troops to go into Yemen. With god's permission, they will cross the border and may they be victorious

whether by land, sea, or air.

ROBERTSON: Generations here, each coping with grief in their own way.


ANDERSON: And as Saudi Arabia tries to focus on the very real fight it is waging, a regional war of words has also broken out today with some harsh

words coming from Iran.

Nic Robertson joining me now from Jizan (ph), which is not far from the Saudi border with Yemen.

and Nic, on Wednesday Iran announced it was sending a naval flotilla to the Gulf of Aden and denied that a previous deployment has been ejected from

those waters by Egyptian forces, but just if we take a look at this map, I want to get a sense of just how strategic these seas are, especially in the

context of Yemen. Consider that any vessel traveling between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean has to travel this way to get through the Suez

Canal. And you'll understand why surrounding countries get territorial about them.

Well, Nic, the day after U.S. Secretary of State said he was aware of Iran's influence in Yemen and vowed to protect his Sunni allies against

Iranian threats, the supreme leader in Tehran weighing in on the issue. The aggression by Saudi Arabia against Yemen and its innocent people was a

mistake, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei said in a televised speech. This is a crime and genocide that can be prosecuted in international courts.

And he followed that up with a pretty telling tweet, "despite disputes #Saudis used to display composure with us, but now inexpeienced youngsters

have come to power and replaced composure with barbarism."

Nic, as the war continues unabated on the ground, how significant is this racheting up of rhetoric do you think?

ROBERTSON: You know, when you get forces on such a hair trigger, and certainly they are built up in this region at the moment particularly

around Yemen, there's always the risk of misinterpreting what the other side is saying or doing.

You know, one of the words that Ayatollah used today to describe the situation, you know, of the Saudis bombing inside Yemen was to actually

warn Saudi Arabia to stop this. That is strong language.

And when he accuses that this is all happening because of a young an inexperienced Saudi leadership, that is about as challenging as the

rhetoric can get without saying my boats are going to go right up to the coast there, which the Saudis authorities have said Iranian boats,

international waters OK, get them in the territorial waters of Yemen that we, the coalition control, and there will potentially be a problem.

The risk of misinterpreting each other and how far they're willing to go, it's a danger. It's a tinderbox at the moment.

[11:20:07] ANDERSON: Nic, if you're watching what is going on and experiencing it and caught up in it in Yemen, to even a casual oberver it

would seem that the sort of Saudi-led coalition seemed determined to achieve their goals without much regard for the cost and consequences.

What is the endgame? And perhaps equally, if not more important, what's the exit strategy here?

ROBERTSON: Well, the end game is a united, unified Yemen that has a governmentthat reflects all of the people's desires and at the moment would

be headed by the current president, President Hadi, whether it would at the end of a military and political campaign to affect that change in the

country, we don't know.

An exit strategy is going to be predicated on successfully putting that government in place and then successfully leaving it with the wherewithal

to continue to run a country.

The country has been run down. It's been in a state of semi-chaos descending there for a number of years now. The past few weeks have only

added to the scale and scope of destruction. Major buildings have been destroyed. Major highways that are significant for people to get around

the country have been destroyed.

You know, if you're inside Yemen, what you see very much depends where you are and what you want as an outcome very much depends on who you support,

who your tribe is and where you see your b est chance of a quiet future. Right now, it appears to some degree that the Houthis are trying to get

towards some of the oil fields.

Of course that's going to be heavily contested, because the tribes there also get revenue from those oil fields. But the central government needs

the revenue. It becomes very, very complicated, Becky.

But for the man on the ground, it's going to all about can I feed my family? Can I make them say you know rather than who is going to do what

is just, you know, can my family be safe, as it always is in war, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson reporting from just close to the border there with Yemen.

Live from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Coming up, saying enough to war: bloggers taking to social media calling for peace and an end to the violence in Yemen. That is in tonight's

parting shots coming up towards the back end of this show.

First up, though, stranded in the country as airstrikes continue and street fighting rages in parts of Yemen, the U.S. has yet to send a flight to

evacuate its citizens there. We talk to one New Yorker trapped near Aden up next.


ANDERSON: Well, these scene of anxious evacuations from Yemen continues. Hundreds of foreigners have left the Gulf state as we've been reporring as

rebels advance and Saudi-led airstrikes continue to devastate parts of the country. India, China and Russia have all sent planes and ships to remove

their citizens. The United States, however, has not.

Now within the hour, three activist groups plan to announce a lawsuit demanding that the U.S. government evacuate Americans out of Yemen. Those

groups have also created a website It asks for the names and addresses of Americans currently trapped in the wartorn country so that

they can attempt to get some help.

Well, we spoke to 20-year-old an American woman who has been in Yemen since February when she arrived to visit her family. Her name is Summer Nassar

and she's been stranded there very since. This is what she had to say about he rsituation.


[11:25:34] SUMMER NASSAR, AMERICAN TRAPPED IN YEMEN: I actually sent out an email to the managing director of the State Department (inaudible) about

the situation and sees there's any type of help or even potential help for the thousands that are strended here that are American citizens.

Unfortunately, I got a direct answer saying that there will be no evacuation and that there will not be any immediate help or immediate

rescue for American citizens throught other channels.

That wa quite disappointing, actually just shameful at this point, because you have a good -- maybe I would say about over 5,000 Yemeni-Americans

here, most are actually born in the U.S. And, you know, families are -- the states itself find it shameful, becuase you know they are really hard

working people. You know, they go by the laws and it's (inaudible) but, you know, they're getting traeted like second class citizens.

It's good that there will be pressure. And we hope that they can directly evacuate U.S. citizens, take us seroiusly. Take us seriously. And to a

level where maybe we can even get emergency evacuations directly to the U.S. instead of sending us to an African nation, for example.

We're actually on the verge unknown. We don't know -- we don't know what to expect. And even really under these airstrikes it causes a really

strong sense of nervousness and it reaches to a level where people are scared to even leave their homes, because they don't know -- you know,

because of the streets. Like they don't know if they're going to end up leaving their home and not come back alive. And unfortunately it causes

like an emotionally damaging, or psychologically damaging fate that people in Aden, especially with the street war and -- airstrikes are one thing,

but street war is another.


ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. State Department is giving American citizens in Yemen details about evacuation flights organized by countries and

organizations, but the government says it has no plans to evacuate U.S. citizens in a coordinated fashion right now.

The State Department says, and I quote, "the level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain severe. We encourage all U.S. citizens to

shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely.

U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available.

In a moment, we're going to speak to some Indian nationals who did manage to get out of Yemen safely. That story and the latest world news headlines

are next on Connect the World.

Don't go away, we're taking a very short break.


[11:31:03] ANDERSON: This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. You're watching CNN. We're in Riyadh for you this evening. The top

stories this hour.

Iran's supreme leader says there's no guarantee of a framework nuclear accord reached last week in Switzerland will lead to a final deal. In a

speech on Thursday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he is waiting to see the details before making a decision. He also called Saudi-led airstrikes

against Houthi rebels in Yemen a, quote, crime and genocide.

Well, an activist groups says the Syrian government has dropped 11 more barrel bombs on the Yarmouk refugee camp. Barrel bombs are metal

containers filled with explosives. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 36 of the crude devices have been dropped on the camp since Saturday.

The Syrian government hasn't responded to the accusation yet.

Well, a gunman who stormed into a courthouse in Milan in Italy has killed three people, including a bankruptcy judge. A fourth person who died may

have suffered a heart attack during the shooting. Italy's interior minister says the suspect was arrested after trying to escape on a

motorbike. He was a defendant in the bankruptcy case.

Well, as we've been seeing, many people are right now struggling to get out of Yemen any way they can. And other nations are scrambling to evacuate

their citizens from the country that is unraveling as we speak.

India untaking one of its largest rescue missions ever.

My colleague Mallika Kapur spoke to some of those about their experience and what they had to leave behind.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Early morning, a new day dawns for evacees pouring into Mumbai Airport, tired but relieved. They've

left war-torn Yemen behind.

Over here they've been given food, financial assistance and train or plane tickets to continue their journey.

Clutching their tickets, passengers leave the airport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel really good. I feel safe.

KAPUR: They had lived in Sanaa for six years. Rahul (ph), a student, his mother a nurse, until the recent escalation in violence made life


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are no patrols, no water is there, no food, maybe some rice, and water is not available.

KAPUR: Indians form one of the largest expatriot communities in Yemen. Almost all have come back safely by air, by land, by sea, as the Indian

government pulls off one of its largest rescue missions abroad.

We ride on the bus taking evacuees from the airport to the train station in Mumbai. Some are happy, others pensive.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: I have left everything almost: my books, my clothes, my TV, everything.

KAPUR: An emotional time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very emotional time right now, very emotional time.

KAPUR: Those who must wait for their train rest in a station guest room. They chat, sleep, sip tea, and tell me about their experience.

The shock, the fright, it's all still raw.

(inaudible) shows us a video taken by his friend in Sanaa, who himself worked as a barber.

"There is no law and order," he says. "The bombings would start any time at night. I was so scared."

These men have a similar story to tell.

"When we saw the sun rise each morning, we would be grateful we'd survived."

He says the situation was getting worse each day, then he chokes up.

Now, the long journey home is almost over. The train pulls out of Mumbai station. The evacuees say the future may be uncertain, but it doesn't

matter. They are home, they are safe.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


[11:35:15] ANDERSON: Well, all this week we've been bringing you Connect the World live from the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. We've been covering

the conflict in neighboring Yemen. And Mallika Kapur's report alluding to that, of course.

And we've been talking about the leading the role the kingdom is taking there.

Now for many analysts, that's the clearest sign yet of a change perhaps more assertive Saudi defense policy. Being on the ground gives us and you

a firsthand look at the state of affairs. We can also hear from policymakers, as we have, and to talk to Saudis themselves. The role of

women in the kingdom often makes the headlines, doesn't it, but not always in a positive way. Well could that be changing as well?

Well, my next guest says that change is happening and it's fairly rapid.

Dr. Hoda Abdulrahman al Helaissi is a member of the Shura Council, the country's top consultative body, and joins me now.

You say the tide is turning in women's favor, explain how.

HODA ABDULRAHMAN AL-HELAISSI, MEMBER OF THE SHURA COUNCIL, SAUDI ARABIA: Basically I think it started with the Kind Abdullah decisions (inaudible)

of having 30 women at the Shura Council.

Women have until recently been very effective in the roles that they have taken in society, but perhaps in a very quiet way not so much in the

limelight. And we've seen them in all kinds of different positions.

Right now with the visibility of women more and more apparent, especially with regards to the Shura Council, it's something that we cannot hide,

(inaudilbe) society is not...


ANDERSON: You can't hide as we're always there.

You didn't drive here tonight. And perhaps that is one of the most visible signs of a lack of equality between...

HELAISSI: The eternal question of driving.

ANDERSON: Put it to bed for me.

HELAISSI: I don't think I will be able to, because I think the stereotypes on Saudi Arabia and women driving will always exist. It is something that

is going to change mainly for economic reasons. The time is perhaps not right. The change has to come from within the society and not from any

kind of pressure from abroad.

I'm not saying that it is not frustrating. I think that we have all lived that, but I'm just saying that it is something that has to take its time

for the society to be quite ready to do.

ANDERSON: I've heard people talk about women driving here as sort of provocative gesture. Would you see it as that? I mean and that from men,

and not those that I've necessarily spoken to.

HELAISSI: In the sense that they actually go out and drive?

ANDERSON: Well, the idea that allwoing women to drive would be a provocative gesture. Would you see it as that?

HELAISSI: I don't see it as that. I believe it's part of the evolution in any kind of society and it'll eventually happen. It's just waiting for the

right time for it to take place.

ANDERSON: Human Rights Watch has often criticized the kingdom over women's rights. Last -- in 2013 actually talked about having seen some modest

reforms. But it has said in the past Saudi Arabia's male guardianship of women and policies of sex segregation stop women from enjoying their basic


I'm going to get you to respond to this.

"Saudi women," they say, "often must obtain permission from a guardian -- a father, a husband, or even a son -- to work, travel, study, marry, or even

have access to health care."

We're talking about the guardianship rules. You are in a position to get things changed here. Is it about time that that was changed?

HELAISSI: First of all, this is the second eternal question that are always asked. Segregation is not discrimination. And discrimination always

implies lack of rights.

I know that to the outside world it does seem that we do lack our rights, but as you can see we move around. We go about our work, our every day

lives like any other person. There are abuses to the guardianship law. I'm not saying that I particularly agree, but that's a personal idea -- a

personal opinion -- what I'm saying is that it is not necessarily a discriminatory issue as long as there are ways to go about our every day

business, we have our rights.

ANDERSON: I've met some of the brightest, most intelligence women anywhere I've traveled in the world since I've been here this week. It's been

fantastic. It's been a pleasure to be in Riyadh.

HELAISSI: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: In Saudi Arabia. And we thank you very much indeed for putting to bed, or putting me right on a couple of questions, which I know you've

been asked before. But they need to be asked. I think you understand that.

HELAISSI: I understand that.

ANDERSON: Some Yemenis are taking to social media calling for an end to the violence using #cafirewar (ph), meaning enough in Arabic. We're

talking what is going on down in Yemen. I want to bring you that story as tonight's parting shots through the eyes of campaigner Sarah Ahmed (ph).


[11:40:11] SARAH JAMAL AHMED, PEACE ADVOCATE: Bombing has never been the solution. Why do we think it's going to work in Yemen?

This is a humanitarian issue, not a political one. Killing the innocents is never the solution.

It's not about politics, it's about human life.

The Kefaya war (ph) campagin came up as a small -- tiny idea that was inspired by the resilience of the Yemeni people. The average Yemeni is

trying really hard to live a normal life despite everything that is happening.

It's not true that all Yemenis have joined this war, the majority of the population is just trying to avoid all of this violence. And if not stop

it, but at least survive it.

We're looking at the rules of expectations from Yemenis that are just getting lower and lower and lower everyday. In 2011, people were dreaming

of a civil state. They were dreaming of equality. They were dreaming of social justice. And now the maximum of their dream is to survive a street

war or a raid at night.

This war has polarized the political scene in Yemen to dramatic (inaudible). This war has given people only two options, either to support

a civil war led by a militia, or support a coalition of 10 countries bombing Yemen, 10 countries that only see in Yemen a backyard to the Gulf


This campagin is giving people a third option.

All those message showering us with all of the suppport from all around the world makes us feel that we're not alone, that there are still people

around the world who do not support destruction, who do not see that violence is the answer, and who believe that people can actually solve

these problems with social justice.


UNIDNETIFIED MALE: I care about Yemen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I care because it's degrading to turn the killing of innocent people into a political controversy.


AHMED: Messages all the way from Uruguay, from the U.S., from Africa, from China, from India, from Malaysia, I mean it's a long list, the messages

from simply human beings who can relate to the struggle against violence, against this destruction regardless of where it comes from.


ANDERSON: Well, I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World live from Riyadh. Thank you for joining me this evening and throughout the week at a

time, a pivotal time for this nation and its neighbors.