Posts by: Alex DeWaal

For the Middle Eastern states, the Horn is a second or even third order priority, well below their concerns with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In fact, their interest in Africa is an offshoot of these higher concerns. They do not treat African states as equals, not least because African leaders tend to ask for money when they visit. The African Union has come to recognise that it needs an external policy for the “shared space” of the Red Sea. But it approaches the Middle East from a position of relative weakness. The most dramatic illustration of such an imbalance was Libya in 2011 when the Arab states and NATO brushed aside an African Union initiative for a negotiated solution to the war.

Continue Reading

The rules for playing football are well-known and fixed: spectators can reasonably expect 90 minutes of fair play. The rules for running international football organizations are secretive and broken, supplanted by deal-making. Under FIFA’s guidance, the World Cup became defined by corruption, authoritarianism and getting away with as much as you can. When the stench of […]

Continue Reading

In today’s New York Times, Alex de Waal argues that, famine “leaves behind a bitter legacy, and a long trail of rancor. If mass starvation takes hold in Yemen, expect an even more deeply divided country. Expect radicalization. Expect an exodus across the Arabian Peninsula and up the Red Sea, toward the […]

Continue Reading

Alex de Waal has a new essay, “Social Nutrition and Prohibiting Famine” in World Nutrition (2018, 9:1). Below is an extract, the full essay is available through World Nutrition.

The world almost conquered famine. By the first decade of this century, we were at the threshold of abolishing this age-old scourge, for good. But in […]

Continue Reading

Is the tide of history turning against the humanitarians? The news is ominous, but today’s five famines and near-famines do not yet rank alongside the horrors of earlier eras. Our progress has stalled. It can yet be resumed, if we care enough to make our political leaders do the right thing. As we commemorate the victims of the great English famine inflicted on the Irish 170 years ago, we should also evoke that memory to cry, “never again”. When the citizens of nations vilify the perpetrators of starvation, and insist that the humanitarian imperative overrides realpolitik and profit, then we can at last effectively prohibit famine.

Continue Reading

British Prime Minister Theresa May is responsible for one of the country’s most morally reprehensible policies of the modern era, and for its execution. This is the inhumane “hostile environment” for suspected illegal immigrants, which has deprived British citizens born abroad of basic human rights. This is the Windrush Scandal.

At a time when we […]

Continue Reading