Fine words, nice suits, and public displays of high society manners have no meaning in the life of Ahmed Moqbeel.
He knows not a soul in Canadian government as he sits in a marketplace in northwest Yemen, a thin sheet separating his 45-year-old body from the dirt street.
You can see him with his handful of worn and broken shoes pictured in Oxfam’s “Daily life, a struggle for survival in Yemen.”
On a good day he makes two dollars through his cobbler trade.
Where does this man find the fortitude to keep going?
It is the love of his children and his wife that gives him the strength to get up every morning?
Does belief in Allah and solidarity with his neighbours in the village help to sustain him? Only Ahmed knows.
A UN report in April 2019 estimated that by last December, the five-year war between Saudi Arabia and the poorest country in the Middle East, would have claimed the lives of 233,000 Yemeni.
This Easter week our Canadian government approved continuing export of billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
Our leaders issued a modern version of “We are innocent of the blood of these people.”
Canadian people are “the crowd” to whom our leaders offered Barabbas or Jesus.
We can still make the right choice.
If it is important to us that Canada cease exporting weapons and embrace a culture of peace then we can pressure our MPs to do so.
The first step is to learn from peace groups, veterans, and from civilians who endured destruction of their homeland.
The global organization, World Beyond War, is a gateway to such information and action.
The current pandemic has shown that manufacturers can switch to producing goods that are life saving.
Weapons plants can be converted to make life affirming goods as the Lucas Plan demonstrated in Britain.
The choice is ours.
Ahmed’s family wants us to make the right choice.
Dr. Brendan Martin, Langley
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