Aisha al-Juaidi is my imaginary friend who has suffered in life, and whom I want to save physically and spiritually. This young Yemeni girl is the antagonist in my newest suspense novel, The Terrorist’s Redemption. When I picture her face, I see the face of one of my fifth-grade students at the School of Tomorrow in Addis Ababa, a Yemeni girl taken out of class five years ago and disappearing, most likely home to Yemen.
As I read that Yemen has had its first coronavirus case (April 10) my heart goes out to the Yemeni people and send a prayer to the people to this war-torn country. They have suffered so much, used and abused by much of the international community, and ignored by others.
My heart goes out to these people
They have the unfathomable suffering of a civil war. But it’s a war that’s brought in its neighbors, divided in support, killing indiscriminately, often from the air. Other countries , including the United States, support side or the other, and providing deadly weapons. Meanwhile, terrorists from al Qaeda to ISIS are thriving. The people hunker down, starving, ravaged with sickness and poor healthcare, always in fear.
It’s hell on earth
We are all focused on our own challenges with the coronavirus—sheltering-in-place, closed restaurants and gyms, no family gathering or church attendance. Some people are getting sick, and some are dying. All of us have some tingling of fear, even though many of us have “rocks” that help give us joy even in these times: God, Family, Friends.
But Yemen is a nightmare. These are God’s children, too, though they might not have the same concept of God as a Christian (or a Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, for that matter). We are all desperately seeking “god,” to give us peace and meaning, whether it is a creator god of the Aramaic religions, idols of other religions, or secular thinkers seeking security from various things—cars, home, bank account or beer.
So, I send out a prayer for the Yemeni people
May God calm your hearts, feed your children, spare you from sickness, free you from civil strife. And may God use these troubled times not to embitter you, but to bring you closer to the God of love and compassion. The infinite and unchanging being. The “I AM” that does not change. The rock that ensures we not be completely consumed.