Saudi Arabia’s historic win against Argentina sent shockwaves across the globe as football fans from all over the world were stunned at the 2-1 score against Lionel Messi’s Argentinian football team during the World Cup held in Qatar.
The Kingdom was so elated with joy that they reportedly announced a public holiday of three days following the unexpected win. The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is said to also be gifting each member of the Saudi football team an RM6 million Rolls Royce Phantom according to multiple reports by Malay Mail and Harion Metro.
In a press conference Friday, however, player Saleh Al-Shehri denied this saying that “this is incorrect and unfortunate. We are here to serve our country and do our best. This is our greatest achievement, and this is the reward for us.”
لاعب #المنتخب_السعودي صالح الشهري يلجم صحفي انجليزي حاول الايحاء ان لاعبي السعودية يلعبون من اجل المال بعد نفيه اشاعة مكافأة الروز رايس لكل لاعب.
الصحفي: انه امر مؤسف اليس كذلك؟
— خلف الدوسري (@kalafaldossry) November 26, 2022
The arguably extravagant gifts promised over the victory of just one match comes in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s neighboring country Yemen falling towards the brink of starvation and poverty for the eighth year in a row. Ravaged by a war orchestrated by Saudi Arabia itself, a staggering three hundred thousand plus number of civilians, including women and children have lost their lives.
The Kingdom has also been condemned by the United Nations for carrying out crimes against humanity, and yet, the situation in Yemen is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
According to a recent report by Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health, 80 newborns die everyday in Yemen. The excessive use of weapons, the lack of incubators and medical services in general, and the growing hunger are all contributing factors.
Saudi Arabia has also imposed an embargo over Yemen which accelerated the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians. The after-effects of the war are evident as infrastructures are severely damaged. Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue and malaria have been on the rise since the beginning of the war killing over 200,000 people as the blockade has reportedly led to a delay in the arrival of medical aid.
According to Al Mayadeen, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) said recently that “the naval blockade imposed on Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition has significantly contributed to the starvation of Yemeni civilians and can be considered torture.”
The organization further stressed that the UN recorded 131,000 deaths due to a lack of food, health services, and clean water in December 2020. In July this year, an estimated one Yemeni out of every three – 19 million people – were food insecure, with 3.5 million acutely malnourished.
The war on Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of the poverty-stricken country is currently the main factor behind the hunger crisis.
As the focus centralizes on Saudi’s victory against Argentina and the lavish manner in which the gifts are being given out, questions arise as to whether the Kingdom has failed in tending to the basic needs of their neighboring country, Yemen, let alone perpetrate the war for eight years.
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