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The Plight of the Marginalized of Yemen: its 'Untouchables' - a Failed Social System

I have long held that war exists only where there has been or continue to be profound social injustices that inhumanely discriminate against a particular class of people hereby subjugating that class and its heirs, to the generational abyss of society's social structure. 

Even though the existence of and the discrimination against the oppressed class might not appear to trigger the mechanisms to war, that injustice and unfairness dwell in the society, are  more than sufficient to cause and to sustain war within that community. Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen are prime examples.

With regards to Yemen, as rightfully and appropriately reported earlier today by the Associated Press(AP) under the headline: The 'untouchables' of Yemen caught in crossfire of war; the centuries-old racist discrimination of the "Marginalized" people - a dark-skinned ethnic group that has been consigned to the bottom of the social ladder, underscores and affirms why war could be waged and sustained in such a society so easily -  the society has been ill for a very long time, thus war becomes easy. 

According to the AP, Yemen's "Marginalized" people, who call themselves the "Muhammasheen", have been shunned by others in their society for centuries, forced to live in shantytowns on the outskirts of cities, often refused schooling and employed in mere menial positions like shoe shiners and street cleaners and many forced to beg in the streets.

While UNICEF places the "Marginalized" population at 10 percent of Yemen's population or 2.6 million, Yemen's government has downplayed the number of shunned people to just 500,000 and activists have said the population is about 3 million.

The "Marginalized", per the AP report, do not belong to a tribe in a country where belonging to one is vital to guaranteeing protection, status and livelihood, thus they are ignored by the government. Constant displacement has intensified for the "Marginalized" since the Yemen war started. They have been denied humanitarian aid including medical stay and treatment. 

Some 9,000 people have died since the start of the Yemen conflict and at least 300 of the "Marginalized" have died - including 68 children and 56 women, according to the group -  the Yemeni Organization Against Discrimination, which leader Yahia Said, admits that the true number of casualties among the "Marginalized", is likely much higher.

Many of the "Marginalized" live in Taiz province in western Yemen and in 2014, before the Yemeni conflict, UNICEF, according to the AP, did a survey of 9,000 "Marginalized" families and found high levels of of poverty and low levels of education - all worse than Yemen's national average. Moreover, UNICEF's survey also found that only half of the children were in school, 80 percent of the adults and nearly 52 percent of 10-14-year-olds were illiterate and more than half the children under 1-year-old had not been immunized. 

The AP report also cited a Soviet Union and Cuba trained political scientist of the "Marginalized" sect who benefited from a rare international education, yet today, that overseas trained "Marginalized" political scientist works as a shoe shiner in the Yemen capital, Sanaa.

War has exacerbated the conditions of the "Marginalized". "The humanitarian situation is miserable," declared Noaman al-Houzifi, head of the National Union of the Marginalized, "for the Marginalized, they have nothing."

And so once again in the annals of war and of shame upon humanity, yet more examples of human discrimination and injustice are found within the theater of a conflict which has allowed for the conduction of violence upon and between men and women.