Currently viewing the tag: "famine"

The xenophobia of some of Britain’s Leave campaigners breeds precisely the kind of callousness that in the past has allowed governments to justify policies that allow starvation.

That hasn’t happened yet, but it looms. Britain has a deplorable record of tolerating famines or even creating them: Ireland in the 1840s, Germany in 1918-19, Bengal in the 1940s, Biafra in the 1960s. The British Foreign Secretary may have a good memory for Rudyard Kipling’s colonial poetry, he probably doesn’t recall his predecessor at the time of Biafra dismissing humanitarian concern with the observation that starving your enemy was standard practice in warfare.

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Politics of Starvation

On January 30, 2018 By

Humanitarians struggle to claim successes that are rightfully theirs. Two recent books help us to understand why the tremendous achievement of reducing the number and lethality of famines over the past half-century is not well understood, and hasn’t been sustained. Up to the 1960s, the world suffered a persistent drumbeat of out-breaks of mass starvation that left an average of 10 million dead every decade. By the 1990s that number had dropped to about 500,000. Then, about a decade ago, the advance halted and began, slowly but appreciably, to reverse. We are not back to the horror years of the mid-twentieth century, but there’s reason for concern.

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It was only a matter of time before the Saudi ruling family earned the honor of the WPF “employee[s] of the month.” The Saudis regularly inspire us in our work: their support of Wahhabism worldwide, premier role as recipients of bribes in the global arms trade, and their general conduct of the war in […]

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We are very pleased to announce that Alex de Waal’s article “The end of famine? Prospects for the elimination of mass starvation by political action” published in the journal Political Geography has been selected from thousands of recently published articles to be awarded the Elsevier Atlas. Each month a single Atlas article is selected from […]

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The “humanitarian imperative” has to be above all else, “including above restrictions imposed on humanitarian action by the war on terror by this country [UK] and by the United States. “If we go down the path of a deal-making, transactional politics where every international engagement is run on the basis of ‘what’s in it for us’, then I’m afraid we’re going to have another era of famines in the world.”

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Alex de Waal wrote the Introduction to Africa Muckraking, the first collection of investigative and campaigning journalism written by Africans and about Africa. The editors delved into the history of modern Africa to find the most important and compelling pieces of journalism on the stories that matter. This collection of 40 pieces of African journalism includes passionate and committed writing on labor abuses, police brutality, women’s rights, the struggle for democracy and independence on the continent and other subjects. Each piece of writing is introduced by a noted scholar or journalist who explains the context and why the journalism mattered. Some of the highlights include: Feminist writing from Tunisia into the 1930s, hair raising exposes of the secret tactics planned by the South African government during apartheid, Richard Mgamba’s searing description of the albino brothers in Tanzania who fear for their lives, the piece by Liberian journalist Mae Azongo’s on genital cutting which forced her into hiding. This edited collection includes the legends of African journalism and seminal pieces of writing: stories on corruption and brutality by Mozambique journalist Carlos Cardoso and Angolan writer Rafael Marques, a loving profile of the legendary cameraman Mo Amin and his writing on the Ethiopian famine, Drum’s investigative reporter Henry Nxumalo who went undercover in South Africa to write about labor conditions on the notorious potato farms of Bethal. Nigerian novelist Okey Ndibe describes Chinua Achebe’s passionate writing on the war with Biafra and Kenyan novelist Peter Kimani describes the Hola Massacre while Ken Saro- Wiwa warned of the coming war in the Niger Delta. Like their counterparts all over the world, African Muckrakers have been imprisoned and even killed for their work. Africa Muckraking is a must-read for anyone who cares about journalism and Africa. Edited by Anya Schiffrin with George Lugalambi.

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