Opinion Society

Please Stop Bombing Doctors Without Borders

Ibrahem Qasim, Wikimedia Commons
Written by Anna Geoffroy

Pictured: a house destroyed in Saudi-led bombing in Yemen in June

Could we please just stop bombing Doctors Without Borders? Yeah, I’m sure most of us would feel better if everyone stopped bombing everybody. We could all sing kumbaya and ISIS could spontaneously combust in literal hellfire for all they’ve done, but in the real world there are multiple wars happening right now and we have to work with what we’ve got. Intelligence isn’t always right, and sometimes mistakes happen and innocent people get hurt along the way.

But for the love of God stop bombing Doctors Without Borders.

Overnight, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition forces bombed a Doctors Without Borders health center in Yemen at least two times. Doctors and critically injured patients were able to evacuate in the lull between strikes, and so far no deaths have been reported, although the official Twitter feed for the organization says it’s still too soon to know for sure. The bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan earlier this month that resulted in 23 deaths. But this was still an attack that shouldn’t have happened.

Doctors Without Borders is one of the only organizations able to operate in war zones with the goal of saving the lives of innocent civilians. In Yemen, where the war on Houthi rebels has been ongoing for seven months, Doctors Without Borders has been providing critically needed emergency medical services to people injured in bombing strikes, as well as support services for people displaced within Yemen due to the conflict. This includes routine medical care like birth and neonatal services and critically needed supplies like water and hygiene kits.

These people are literally saving the lives of newborn babies fleeing armed conflict.

There is always danger inherent in what Doctors Without Borders does. But these risks are partially managed by continuously providing information to armed forces about where their health centers and hospitals are located, so they don’t get bombed. But now twice in one month, armed forces that absolutely had access to that information failed to communicate it to the fighters in the air or intentionally directed bombings of these protected sites.

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It’s against the Geneva Convention to bomb a hospital.

But that aside, the consequences of driving away charitable organizations that exist solely to defend human life in the face of war and disaster are far too great to bear. Doctors Without Borders provides life-saving services to people in desperate need, often times at great personal risk. If the risk becomes too great for the organization to remain in locations where American or Saudi-led forces are operating, it’s impossible to know how many innocent lives would be lost. Those lives would be on our heads.

Doctors Without Borders has not threatened to retreat from either Yemen or Afghanistan after these attacks. While the organization has demanded an investigation into the incident in Afghanistan, volunteers are still tending the wounded, healing the sick, caring for the most vulnerable people in the world. At any time, around 30,000 volunteers are working around the world with Doctors Without Borders, doing the work of any God worth believing in.

Stop bombing them. Seriously.

Source: New York Times


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Anna Geoffroy

I put words and pictures to use. Sometimes, I yell at buildings.

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Please Stop Bombing Doctors Without Borders

by Anna Geoffroy
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