On January 29, 2017, 37-year-old Fatim Saleh Mohsen al Ameri lost her life.
US Navy SEALs raided the remote Yemeni village where she lived and shot the mother of seven in the back as she ran for her life. She was carrying her two-year-old child Muhammad in her arms when she fell to the ground.
Fatim’s father, Saleh, found her lying on the ground the next day: “In the early morning, after the operation ended, I went to the scene and saw the volume of destruction. I saw the dead bodies everywhere. While I was searching among the bodies, I found my daughter Fatim lying dead in the street with her child in her arms. She was covered with blood. I did not imagine this could happen – I cannot forget those painful moments.
“I also thought at first that Muhammad, my two-year-old grandson, was also killed – but when we took him from Fatim’s arms, he cried. He was sleeping all the time in his dead mother’s arms.
“The child was slightly injured in the hand by a bullet that hit and left his mother’s body. Such a scene no one could imagine nor comprehend – this level of criminality and killing.“
Fatim was not the only victim: 14 other members of her family died alongside her that day.
The murder of Fatim left seven children motherless – including Muhammad. Fatim’s mother not only lost a daughter but her autumn years too. It became her job to support Fatim’s seven children while dealing with her own trauma and grief.
Fatim and the other women in the village of Ghayil in the Yakla region of Yemen didn’t have an easy life. But the US attack on their village four years ago amplified the injustice they suffer and the struggles they face every day.
Fatim and her family were no threat to the US or its citizens.
But because of bad intelligence and endless wars, they were killed. And their families – often women – were left to pick up the pieces: “There were women who starved and refused eating and went on hunger strike. Some remained for a week without eating, until now, some are still under the blanket from the fear.”
The al Ameri family never received an explanation or an apology from the US for its brutal attack on their small Yemeni village. The community was torn apart and an entire generation of children left traumatised because of the US’s endless War on Terror – and the bad intelligence that has fed it for almost two decades now.
Those who survived those horrible hours of shooting in the early hours of January 29 have been left to pick up the pieces. They are innocent men, women and children who never even thought about the US before that fateful night, much less posed a threat to it.