British actor Dominic West has lent his voice to a provocative new film from Save the Children, highlighting the role of the UK Government in fuelling the devastating war in Yemen by approving arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other states fighting there.
The 60-second film, Made in Britain, is shot in the style of a glamourous high street advertising campaign, set to the rising score of Elgar’s Nimrod.
Smooth, beautifully lit shots of a racing green shape emerge in silhouette from the darkness.
Intricate details of a highly engineered metal shape then gradually come into view as Dominic West begins narrating the first few lines of a commanding, patriotic poem.
Sleek and fast, unstoppable machine.
Symbol of our engineering might.
Understated, painted racing green,
A micron-perfect casing milled in bright metal.
Export of our island kingdom,
Power, wrapped in burnished aluminium.
The final few seconds of the film see the camera pull back fully to reveal a Paveway IV laser guided bomb – a missile that is manufactured in Britain and used in airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen.
Dominic West then slowly delivers the poem’s closing lines:
Made in Britain, Dropped on Children.
The UK has approved £3.8 billion of arms licences to Saudi Arabia, the leader of a multinational coalition in Yemen, since the conflict escalated in March 2015. Exports include Paveway IV missiles and Typhoon fighter jets.
All parties in Yemen have been responsible for grave violations against children, but airstrikes by the Saudi-led Coalition are the leading cause of child deaths and injuries according to the United Nations. More than 4,000 children have been killed or maimed by all sides in the conflict since March 2015.
Dominic West, Save the Children High Profile Supporter, said:
“By lending my voice to the ‘Made in Britain’ film released today, I am standing side by side with Save the Children in calling on the British Government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
“Weapons supplied by British manufacturers have been used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen – and we know the coalition has killed or injured thousands of children and bombed dozens of schools and hospital.”
“For me, as a proud Brit, this is completely unacceptable. We are providing aid to Yemen, but also selling weapons which are being used in a country where children are being bombed and starved.”
“I have seen first-hand the unthinkable pain which conflicts, such as the war in Yemen, can have on families and children.”
“When visiting Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan last year with Save the Children, I met with children who had witnessed years of war and terror back home in Syria, where they had lost loved ones, seen their homes and schools blown up and ultimately had no choice but to flee their own countries.”
“The UK should stand tall in the world and export hope to Yemen’s children, not fear.”
The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition, which runs from September 12-15, is the largest arms fair in the world and is held every two years in London.
Five members of the Saudi-led Coalition – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – are reportedly among foreign military delegations invited to the exhibition by the British government.
A survey by YouGov for Save the Children revealed the majority of the British public (51%) think the UK should suspend the approval of arms sales to countries fighting in Yemen. This includes British allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Just (11%) of Brits said they supported the Government’s current level of support for arms exports.
Half of British adults also said they had been unaware the UK Government was approving the sale of arms which could be used in the conflict in Yemen before taking the survey.
Join Dominic West and support Save the Children in calling on the UK Government to suspend arms sales to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The UK should not be selling weapons to states which are blocking life-saving humanitarian aid and bombing children.
Sign the petition here.