Described by the UN as the “world’s worst” humanitarian crisis, the on-going conflict in Yemen has left an estimated 80 per cent of the country’s men, women and children in desperate need of assistance. These are shocking statistics.
Yemen has been troubled by civil war for decades, but the current conflict began in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. Following the forced removal of the country’s president of 33 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh, a period of political transition failed to address many of the country’s core problems and, as the political process faltered under the country’s new president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, there were clashes in Yemen’s most northerly governorate, Saada – home of the predominantly Zaydi Shia Houthi movement.
When fighting between the Hadi government and the Houthis broke out in 2014, Yemen was already on the brink of collapse. Its political and economic situation made it one of the poorest and most fragile states in the world, but it was the introduction of conflict into a perfect storm of conditions that pushed Yemen over the edge. Having been notably absent from British media for most of the war’s duration, the conflict and crisis in Yemen is now prevalent.
Taking this moment as its starting point, Yemen: Inside a Crisis explores how fighting has tipped the fragile nation into an economic tailspin. The exhibition at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North) also examines Britain’s complex relationship with Yemen from its control of the city of Aden in the 19th and 20th centuries to the paradoxical role it currently holds.
At the forefront of a major season of programming at IWM North, Yemen: Inside a Crisis is the UK’s first exhibition to address Yemen’s on-going conflict and humanitarian crisis. Showcasing around 50 objects and photographs, many of which have been exclusively sourced from Yemen for this show, IWM North explores the causes of conflict and asks the question, “What is the real ‘price’ of war?” Not merely on a simple economic level, but in every sense of the word.
Oh, and one other thing. The exhibition is completely free to all.
Yemen: Inside a Crisis is at IWM North until January 26, 2020. For more information, click here.