At a time of unparallel flow of imagery and information, how has the conflict in Yemen been depicted, especially in Western media? Between the oversimplification of narratives and the scourge of one-dimensional descriptions, the conflict in Yemen has been reduced to a humanitarian crisis. This continual cycle of misdiagnosis fails to engage with broader issues in the country, which are seldomly described in political terms. On another level, this humanitarian narrative has animated an imagery of victimization where Yemenis are often portrayed as helpless victims confronted by problems to which only the aid organization can respond.
This framing is important because it shapes how people around the globe perceive the conflict in Yemen and understand what is important and why. This is especially critical for policymakers whose decision-making might be influenced by all the humanitarian imagery, films, articles and the ever-expanding medium of panel discussions on Yemen. Some important questions to ask here are: Whose narratives get to be highlighted in the media and how have these narratives been depicted so far? How does this framing shape others’ perception of Yemeni issues, as well as Yemenis’ perception of their own problems? What are the implications of this framing for policymaking on Yemen, specifically on how government policy and possible interventions are being made? Finally, how does this portrayal impact Yemeni lives and their future?