Posts by: Alex DeWaal

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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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David Cameron has some laudable footnotes to his otherwise problematic prime ministerial tenure in the United Kingdom, among them a commitment to spending 0.7 percent of GDP on international aid and promoting a global agenda of tackling corruption. But if he is planning on a post-prime ministerial legacy in the field of tackling state fragility […]

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I will then raise an alternative and controversial suggestion – that the road to eliminating mass starvation is to prosecute the people who perpetrate it. This has possibilities and perils. Last, I will propose that ending famine demands the kind of broad-based public campaign that has challenged other great common evils of our time.

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