Paris Mural Highlights France’s Role in Ongoing Crisis in Yemen
A three-meter-high mural, titled Dance of the Dead, has been erected in Paris, France, in protest against French arms sales to the Saudi-UAE led coalition in Yemen.
The mural, painted by Yemeni, Murad Subay, depicts three bodies draped against a blood-red background and “is inspired by real stories of people who died in the war.” Subay, who fled to France 18 months ago and is part of the Artist Protection Fund (APF), which provides relief and safe havens to artists at risk, added that “I am trying to convey how war has affected the people”
France, the world's third-biggest arms exporter, saw a 50% increase in weapons exports to Saudi Arabia in 2018 to around 1 billion Euros, despite the government calling for an end to the “dirty war” in Yemen. Tony Fortin, at the Paris-based Observatory for Armament, has stated that “with such transfers revealing a geopolitical alliance with these regimes and total violation of international commitments, one can only expect worsening conflicts in Yemen or the Horn of Africa, where the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are beginning to redeploy in partnership with France,.”
The French government maintains that its arms sales are governed by strict procedures in line with international treaties, insisting that they “don't sell weapons like they're baguettes.” However, a classified note revealed by French media in April 2019, has contradicted the state byline. The 15-page note by France's DRM military intelligence agency showed that French arms sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are being used in the conflict and that swathes of Yemen’s civilian population live within their range.
The United Nations describes the conflict as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 3.3 million people still displaced and 24.1 million — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.