The atrocities in Yemen don’t make poignant headlines in Western mainstream media as often as stories about chemical weapons in Syria or ‘Russian meddling,’ as the conflict usually gets sidelined in the press, but there are notable exceptions. ‘The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s War’ was the title of a grim report published by the NYT on Friday.
An image of a starved child named Amal Hussain was chosen by the journalists to illustrate the horrible death toll and suffering inflicted on the small Arab nation of Yemen by the armed intervention of its Saudi neighbor.
The Khashoggi killing has cast light on Saudi tactics in Yemen, where an economic war has pushed millions to the brink of starvation.
Readers quickly began sharing the story on Facebook. They were surprised to learn that the company had been removing their posts for supposedly violating the social network’s ‘sexual material’ guidelines.
As the backlash soared, Facebook announced that it would cease to delete posts featuring the photo, and promised to restore the ones it had already removed. The IT giant explained that its rules prohibit the display of nude images of children, but admitted that the picture from the NYT story is “an important image of global significance.”
The NYT stated in response that they will continue to publish unsettling images while reporting on the war in Yemen. “They are brutal. But they are also brutally honest. They reveal the horror that is Yemen today,” its journalists wrote.
Saudi Arabia has led a military intervention in Yemen since 2015. The kingdom got involved in the conflict on behalf of the local government struggling with the armed Houthi rebels. The ensuing air raids, combined with heavy fighting on the ground, left more than 6,600 civilians dead and many more injured and displaced. The harsh Saudi-imposed blockade has led to cholera outbreaks and widespread famine.