The idea that people should not be given platforms to spread their views is one that has dominated the annals of media discourse these last few years. Some argue that each voice should be heard, while others say that “no-platforming” is the only acceptable solution to so-called hate speech. The argument seems evenly split down political lines, yet in a move sure to surprise many of its readers, the left-leaning Washington Post has decided to extend the speech arena to groups that advocate for genocide.
A recent opinion piece was published in WaPo titled, “Houthi leader: We want peace for Yemen, but Saudi airstrikes must stop.” Written by one Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, who is the head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. He accuses the U.S. of general warmongering:
“The United States wants to be viewed as an honest mediator — but it is in fact participating and sometimes leading the aggression on Yemen.”
But is The Washington Post really blind as to who they helped elevate in the argument over the horrendous situation playing out in Yemen, or do they just choose to ignore the sickness because it is in some small way anti-Trump?
Should you be wondering what specifically makes Mohammed Ali al-Houthi a bad person, read on.
Ali is a prominent leader in the Houthi group who were offered a place in Yemen’s “unity government” if they agreed to stop trying to claim territory. This appeared to be too big an ask. The Houthi have been involved in countless armed conflicts and have displaced many who do not share their brand of faith. After unseating the president of Yemen, they now control the major cities, including the capital, Sanna.
The Baha’i are a small religious minority in Yemen who believe that all religions are, or should be, considered one. In recent months they have faced massive persecution including violent rhetoric, arrests, alleged torture, and even now there are women and children under arrest facing the death penalty at the hands of a “Houthi court.”
The Middle East Director of Research for Amnesty International, Lynn Maalouf, said:
“Once again, we are seeing trumped up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute Yemeni Baha’is for their faith. And it is particularly abhorrent that some of these men and women could face the death penalty for their conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities.”
And it gets worse.
Other notable figures within the Houthi organization include its primary leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi. Malek uses religious-based rhetoric to incite violence against minority groups; one such speech encouraged a prominent writer and strategist for the Houthi to put out the following message:
“We will butcher every Baha’i.”
Mere words, you might suggest. But the fact is that arrests, torture, and bombings are taking place against this religious minority for “waging a war of doctrine” against the Houthi’s particular brand of Islam.
“We will butcher every Baha’i.”
Abdel-Malek al-Houthi has also been inciting other followers of Islam in Yemen to take arms against the Baha’i, stating in a national radio broadcast that, “those who destroy the faith in people are no less evil and dangerous than those who kill people with their bombs.”
The Iran Connection
Back in 1991, the Iranian government released a paper called “The Baha’i Question,” which looked at how to deal with the Baha’i not only within its own borders but with the larger “threat” around the world.
Despite the almost petulant insistence that these are “local troubles” in Yemen, is it not possible that by providing training and weapons to the Houthi, that Iran may have found the answer to their “question”?
This is apparently footage of Mohammed Ali al-Houthi riding along with what can only be described as heavily armed children:
VIDEO: A video has surfaced showing militia leader Mohammed Ali al-#Houthi taking a joyride with young recruits.
The #WashingtonPost has been criticized for recently running an op-ed piece by al-Houthi on its pages.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) November 16, 2018
As we look to Yemen, the confusion, chaos, powerful players backing different groups, it is tempting to avert one’s eyes. But it is not too late for the world to recognize that yet another genocide is on our doorsteps. When the talk of murder and punishment of a people because of their religion is openly broadcast on national radio, when children are arrested and face execution on charges of espionage, and random mass arrests are made n the dead of night, it does not take a soothsayer to see what is written plain.
Yet nothing will be done. The world will ignore the plight of these people as they face almost certain destruction. Because those who are calling for genocide, the groups that operate through hate and religious bigotry, are normalized and given respectability by a press that will side with anyone and any group as long as it fits their narrative. Perhaps it’s time for The Washington Post to take a hard look in the mirror and decide if their agenda is worth it.