The Images of “Assem” Speak Louder Than Words

Dr. Wissam Basandouh, President of the March 8th for Yemeni Women, hosted, via Zoom, a virtual screening of Nasreen Al Subeihi Noman’s award winning documentary “Assem” along with the Yemeni Coalition of Independent Women. Dr. Basindowah said that the film “Assem” won many international awards, because it touched on the life of the simple Yemeni citizen and that Assem, the child whose story is central to the film, presented a vivid example of the inhuman pressure that the Houthi militia exerts even against their supporters and even in areas that the war did not reach, but it actually falls under their control.

Basendouh, in her intervention at the symposium organized by the Yemeni Coalition for Independent Women through the Zoom application on the documentary film (Asem) for Jordanian director Nisreen Al-Subaihi, indicated that the film receives the award for the best science and education from Belgium and the International Film Festival, and gets the award for the best short documentary film in the Poland Festival The International Film Festival and the best short documentary film at the European Film Awards and the best documentary cinematography at the European Film Awards and also the best director of short documentary films in Poland .. The International Film Festival and as the best short documentary at the Canadian Film Awards and also was awarded for the best documentary cinematography at the Film Awards Canadian.

During the symposium, the documentary film Assem, which was filmed in Saada Governorate and the village of Aslam in Hajjah Governorate and was 26 minutes long, was screened. The screening was followed by a discussion between Dr. Basendowah and the director.

The film showed the horrific reality of Yemenis living under Houthi control. Starving to death, they believe that their current predicament is due to Saudi airstrikes, although there is no military action where they live. They are forced to eat nearly inedible leaves, and their children are indoctrinated to hate the US, Israel, and the Saudis following the Iranian blueprint for itself and all proxies in the region, including Hamas, Hezbullah, and Iraqi militias.

Film director Nisreen Al-Subaihi Noman said that the movie (Assem), which was filmed in difficult and dangerous conditions starting in the governorate of Saada and that she was shocked by its miserable state and its closed and extremist society and the rejection of anyone who disagreed with them. The entire area felt like a prison whose walls and gates are shrouded in the slogans of the Houthis calling for death.

 In her intervention, Numan added that she faced extremism and a threat, forcing her to leave Saada heading to the village of Aslam in the Hajjah governorate, which is under the control of the Houthis, where she documented with her cameraman a killing famine that used people to eat the leaves of the trees as a result of a systematic and deliberate starvation by the Houthis through the blockade and the blockade.

Noaman noted that this film had a significant positive impact on the perception of many filmmakers, media and writers from many countries, especially those who attended the film’s shows in festivals and shows to show the facts of the Houthi crimes in Yemen hidden from the world. Most festival attendees come from relatively sheltered audiences unaware of the more complex geopolitical realities facing the conflict.

She pointed out that Assem is one of a series of films documenting cases of hidden human crimes against children, women and the elderly committed by the Houthis in Yemen and hiding these abuses through a disinformation campaign in the media.

Noman thanked the international humanitarian relief organizations present in Yemen, despite their suffering from the Houthi obstacles that prevent their performance and activities in the required manner, even if the activities of some of the private organizations suffered from some shortcomings and perhaps some corruption.

The Jordanian director Nisreen Al-Subaihi effectively revealed an aspect of the suffering of the Yemeni people in the areas controlled by the Houthi militia, which is backed by Iran, during its depiction of one of her works on the reality of the situation in the Houthi-controlled areas, during a symposium in Geneva with Arab and foreign presence.

She said: “Al-Houthi committed horrific crimes against the people of the Yemeni people, the Yemenis are going through extremely difficult and dangerous conditions, starting from the Saada governorate, the stronghold of the Houthis. She added that the Hajjah governorate, which is also under the control of the Houthis, was not better than Saada with slogans and the specter of violence and the exclusion of the other. She also documented that the mass starvation was due to a systematic and deliberate deprivation by the Houthis through a blockade, neglect and obstruction of relief aid access to them (if any) to show their suffering and famine as a result of the war, which otherwise did not have any impact or presence in this fertile region, and whose people need only the means of agriculture .They eat what they sow.

And increasingly, she added, she has shown the world the facts of the hidden Houthi crimes from the world.

She stressed that the Houthis deliberately concealed the facts by deception through activists and lobbyists, in line with their approach to exploiting such conditions politically, and blackmailing the world with them.

She indicated that there are efforts by international humanitarian relief organizations that are present in Yemen, despite their suffering from the Houthi obstacles that prevent their performance and activities in the required manner.

She touched on poor education in the Houthi-controlled areas, where she said: “There is a deviation in education, children are taught slogans of death, their ideas are poisoned in mosques, and the idea of ​​death is polished in the eyes of children.”

In addition, she briefly discussed the treatments for various illnesses, including corona, provided by these humanitarian organizations in hospitals.

When she had asked hospital workers why the treatment sent in from the West is not used, their response was that the treatment was an American and Israeli industry, and their terrorist leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi ordered them to do this, as he let them die with these ideas, and there is also a selection of treatment only for those who follow the Houthi and the rest of the people are left to die.

She undercored that she went to document the situation of people in the city of Aslam, because people in it eat tree leaves because of the war, but when she went in on October 14, 2018, she did not observe any hostilities. She was told by the community spokesman that the local problem is not the war but the Houthi militia. Given that the director also did not see any signs of combat, she accordingly trusted this statement, even though some accompanying Houthi supervisors were trying to get people to blame the situation on the war and the Saudi airstrikes, but people were whispering everywhere with my ear that the problem was the Houthis.

Al-Subaihi concluded her speech by saying: “Yemeni children suffer in the two Houthi-controlled areas. These children will be fuel for a terrorist ideological army hostile to the world. Against these countries, Houthi is working to promote hatred and hatred and sow hatred in these children through Houthi centers and schools, and this means that they are a time bomb in the future. ” And she demanded that the international community focus on education in their aid to save children from this Houthi-blown ideology.

A number of intellectual, legal, media, and Arab and foreign activists participated in the symposium.

Many in the audience thanked Nasreen for her emotionally powerful and raw documentation of dehumanitation and humanity being propagated in the territories under HOuthui controlled, which confirmed observatons and analysis of the human rights lawyer and national security analysts present in the audience who have written extensively about Houthis, the region, and connection between Houthis, Iran, and other Iranian proxy groups.

Worth noting is that the abominable and unconscionable situation in Yemen is part and parcel of Iran’s proxy projects all across th region – they treat their own Ahwazi Arab, Kurdish, and other diverse non-Persian populations the same way; Hamas, Hezbullah, IRGC, and Iraqi militias have the same ideology and treat their populations the same way, abusing even their own supporters and spreading hatred and incitement against Saudis, the US, ISrael, and so forth.

Another important observation to make is that in this context, these shocking images bring to mind what no verbal description can adequately convey and should be brought beyond Europe to the US; US CongresS, State Dept, and even regular people across the country should be invited to see what is really going on beyond propaganda from pro-Houthi and Iranian activists and the one sided and shallow coverage in the media. Ms. Al Subeihi was then invited to connect with the American journalists and human rights lawyers present in the room after the event to discuss possible avenues for making this happen.

One important question worth considering for the future framing of the discussion of the film and related issues is whether any European or international institutions have responded to the obvious fact of the so-called Houthi supporters being regular Yemenis who have become victims of deliberate Iranian indoctrination, ignorance, starvation, and isolation, and rather than beign seen as Houthi allies who are confirming pro-Houthi propaganda, they are victims who are being used against their knowledge and will.

Essentially the central point that should be underscored in discussions of Yemen’s future that Houthis hijack the minds of their “supporters” as much as they abuse their bodies. This means that whatever they say about the Arab Coalition is an emotional and taught response, rather than an accurate analysis or testimony of the true course of events. Therefore it is important to note they are like hostages rather than partners to Houthis and should be treated as such victims to be liberated and as potential partners rather than as enemies, or, on the hand, as accurate sources of information about the conflict.