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The African Famine is back Worse than Ever..Do you Care?

 
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2011 09:32 pm
@hawkeye10,
This is an interesting question which, unfortunately, is diminished by your scolding tone.

If you're scolding only millionaire entertainers who enjoy watching film of them crying while they plead for contributions, I'm with you, but if it’s directed at all the rest of us, I take objection.

While I suppose that there are some people who really don't care if Africans live or die, it's not fair to insinuate that a current lack of the sort of high profile attention paid to prior African famines signifies people, in general, don't care.

I also suppose there are a handful of people who work like dogs every day and live at a subsistence level so they can donate just about all of their personal wealth to folks who are suffering, but I've never met one or even heard of one.

Assuming they do exist, given how many worthy causes there are in the world, I can't imagine how they could give much more than a dollar or two to African famine relief, and that will never make the papers.

Of course this assume that these personifications of charity don't, for some reason, hold the lives of Africans in higher esteem that the lives of those suffering elsewhere in the world, which, if they exist, is what I would expect.

Heck, you may even be one of these noble souls, so perhaps it would be OK to test my hypothesis by asking how much of your personal wealth you have donated to African famine relief?

People decide how much of themselves they are willing to give to others, and as long as they are not demanding that I give more than I choose, I don't judge them on how much they do.

I certainly am not going to judge their choice for charitable contributions. I can understand why someone might be put off by the fact that someone else contributes more to animal relief than human relief, but you know what? If you're one of these folks, mind you own business. Who are you to decide that the empathy some individuals have for suffering animals is shallow and would be better directed towards African famine relief?

It is also perfectly reasonable and in no way speaks ill of someone who questions whether or not throwing money at a problem (in this case, the African famine) does any real good or even makes matters worse.

And **** you if you do! (Oh wait, I apologize, I seem to have been channeling someone).





Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2011 09:50 pm
The world is far more complex than most people would like it to be, and tragedies, large and small, around the globe seldom have simple explanations or respond simply to an influx of money alone.

Personally, as much as I love to watch film of Africa, I never want to go there. It seems like a place that is festering with disease (above all disease) corruption, violence and rotten bad luck. I realize this is an overly generalized reaction, but with so many other places in the world to visit, I think Africa comes last on my list. (No I take that back, Bangladesh is at the very bottom of my list)

It has nothing to do with the African people in general. They are far more attractive and sympathetic then I would ever expect from people living in such a dire place. The landscapes throughout the continent are beautiful as well, and who doesn't want to see lions and elephants roaming free?

There is as much culture and natural beauty in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia, however, and far less chance of my coming home with a parasite eating my heart or swimming in my eyes on its way to my brain.

In any case, we need to ask ourselves why famine is such a recurring tragedy in Africa. Surely it is not solely due to climate, soil conditions and insect populations. I'm afraid the hand of Man plays a far greater role than the hand of Mother Nature.

It's easy to blame it on the effect of European colonization, but European colonization wasn't restricted to Africa and their former colonies don't have the same chronic problems found in Africa.

Before anyone starts to foam at the mouth and type RACIST!!!!!, I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that unlike most of the former European colonies, African is highly populated with people who have black skin.

It's tempting to chalk it all up to cosmic bad luck, and to some extent I think that the randomness of fate played a part, but I tend to think there must be identifiable reasons, and the one that strikes me as having the greatest influence is tribalism.

How is it that in other very large geographical areas of the world where European colonialism or excessive trade influence had reigned for many years unifying opposition leaders like Gandhi arose, but not in Africa.

Like most kids in the 60's, I learned about Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and would have to have lived in a cave not to know about Nelson Mandela of South Africa, but who are the other great leaders in Africa (none of them, of course, being the great leader of Africa)?

This is hardly scholastic evidence, but if you Google Freedom Fighters of Africa, India, China and South America, you might be surprised. There are as many websites listed under Freedom Fighters of Africa that are about African-Americans as there are about native Africans.

I make no pretense of being an expert, or even particularly well informed, about African history and it is possible that Africa had as many Gandhis, Maos, Bolivars et al as any other lands colonized by Europeans, but if so, why doesn't the average educated person know of them?

Here again, I can feel the tension in the hands of A2K members longing to type RACISM, but this just doesn't wash. European Colonialists didn't have less of a regard for native Africans than they did for native Asians or Americans. They were all WOGs and Savages to them.

Once again I feel compelled to point out that I don't have less of a regard for native Africans than for native Asians or Indians either so if you want to make this about racism then **** you (oops sorry, channeling again).

So now let’s return to the original matter.

If I have limited funds to donate (even if I am one of those who donate everything I have) why would I donate to a cause that regularly reappears, and which, it is clear, my donations cannot solve?

Assuming that $1,000 of my charitable contributions will help and save far more people or animals in just about anywhere else in the world than Africa, why does it make sense to donate my $1,000 to African famine relief? Layer on top of this the very valid argument that has been made by others that this relief actually might perpetuate the problem, and it seems a no-brainer.

I could suggest that a lot of the folks in this forum who want us to believe they are unbounded philanthropists are just full of it, but then they could be one of the handful of charitable saints of which I have already written. Besides, that would just be mean. They are entitled to laud their fanciful generosity over the rest of us. It fits their A2K persona and so must be the case.

There is a special place in hell for those who would judge the charity of others while never parting with a dime of their own.

BTW, counting the money you pay in taxes as part of your moral obligation to assist others is bullshit.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 11:32 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
This is an interesting question which, unfortunately, is diminished by your scolding tone.
It was intended to be mocking of all those who are like " OMG, someone is starving, we have to send them food!". That is a great idea if it is a one time emergency effort to buy time to implement a fix to what ever the problem is, it is a waste of time at best and counter productive at worse if the problem is that the starving people refuse to be responsible by either producing more food or producing fewer babies, or both. Pain is a good thing often, it has the ability to teach and it has the ability to correct bad behavior. Insulating people from the pain they have earned is co-dependent behavior, and we should knock it off.

I said this about the Haitians, and I will say this about most Africans...call me when you are ready to work on your problems, till then I am too busy to care about the troubles you have gotten yourself into. I will save my charity and pity for people who deserve it. I am thinking that the lack of interest in the current wave of famine in Africa means that more people agree with me than did so in the past. Not only is the media hyperventilating gone, but even the UN is having enormous problems getting states to fork over money for emergency feeding programs, and then getting it to where it is needed.

Quote:
East Africa is reeling under the effects of a devastating famine, which could lead to the immediate deaths of 800,000 children from starvation due to a confluence of destructive forces. Overall, 11 million people in the region are threatened by what experts agree is the world’s worst food crisis in 50 years. In a triangular area called the Horn of Africa, crops and animals are dying due to a persistent drought that has strangled the ability of its nation’s farmers to produce food. Compounding the pain is an ongoing war in southern Somalia, whose militant factions are blocking aid groups seeking to transport food to the suffering.
The countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Eritea are among the most profoundly ravaged in what some aid workers are now calling the “Triangle of Death.” These workers have witnessed hundreds of thousands crawl into camps, many to eat their first nutritious meals in months. The facilities are dirty, over-crowded, and lacking in the infrastructure needed to sustain masses of refugees. Yet, these meccas of hope are famine victims’ only oasis. The Week describes their circumstances:
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people have turned refugee camps into teeming cities without medical aid, sanitation, or water — and these refugees are the ones lucky enough to have survived the arduous trek to a camp. The largest of these, the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, has a population approaching 400,000. “It’s almost as if they have been abandoned by humanity,” says Azad Essa, as quoted by NPR.
America has promised “an additional $28 million” on top of “$431 million in food and non-food emergency aid already pledged,” The Week continues. This complements the $230 million promised by the European Union. But while the U.N. is actively working to funnel support to the starving, until warfare in the region abates, delivering enough aid might prove impossible.
Despite this barrier, efforts to collect funds are springing up across the globe. Elizabeth Flock of The Washington Post informs us that you can help “by texting ‘FOOD’ to UNICEF (864233) to donate $10.” This will feed a child for ten days.
Her illuminating post outlines more background for what some have called a predictable, man-made disaster, and offers more ways to help East Africans now.
Writer Maryan Qasim adds on this crisis — that could have been averted:
What is needed right now is for the international community to act immediately to save the millions who are starving. Food, water, medicine and shelter are all urgently needed. Aid needs to be delivered strategically to minimise the distance people are travelling in search of food and water. It is also vital that the UN and international NGOs work closely with the Somali diaspora NGOs, the locals and the transitional government, as it’s Somalis who know the people, the culture, the country and the region.
I hope world leaders are listening and finally take swift action.

http://atlantapost.com/2011/07/28/famine-in-horn-of-africa-worlds-worst-food-crisis-in-50-years/
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 12:08 pm
@hawkeye10,
Also instructive is that one woman claiming that she was raped in Libya, with no proof that I am aware of to include no corroboration, has gotten more play on CNN than has this wave of the African famine where 800,000 are in danger of death in short order....... This is where we are in the West in 2011.


Arn't we just the best that humanity has ever produced! *sarcasm*

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/07/29/us.libya.al.obeidy.relocates/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

BTW- her rape story earned her entry into the US on a perm basis, where even a high official such as Hillary stepped in to personally help her get what she wanted. But if you are a starving woman in Somalia even getting a few bowls of rice from America is probably too much to hope for. Starvation does not quite rank up there with an undocumented story of rape, once the media takes your story at least.
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 12:39 pm
@fresco,
The politics of scarcity are predicated on an obscenely large human population. Africa (and for that matter the world) cannot be helped by sharing resources with the have-nots.

Africa (and for that matter the world) can be helped only if there a huge reduction in the population.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 04:53 pm
@hawkeye10,
I agree, in general, with what you are saying, but not that the current low level of charitable response for the African famine is an indication that the gerneral population does as well.

There's just too much other **** going on.

If there was nothing else taking up the news, a few weepy Hollywood stars took up the cause, and the NY Times Editorial Board got on board...voila! A whole new crop of pop stars would be singing "We are the world," and money would flow --- just not as much as in the past when unemployment was below 5%.

People may have become desensitized to the pictures of African babies with swollen bellies and flies crawling across their eye-balls and an attiude that can be expressed as "What the hell? They're starving again?" may have developed out of sense of frustration, but I don't think very many people have thought about why this is a recurring tragedy.

I remember a comedy bit of the late, great Sam Kinnison that focused on starvation in Ethiopia. I'm poorly paraphrasing but his set up was something like "What a surprise, you live in a desert where there's never rain and crops never grow." The punchline was "******* MOVE!!!!!! GO SOMEWHERE WHERE FOOD GROWS!!!"

Obviously a mass exodus from the places hit by famine is not a real solution, but the joke does speak to how tiring it is to hear of the same tragedy occuring in the same places on a regular basis.

The difficulty with this attitude is that the people starving to death are not the ones who have caused the problem, unless you feel it is reasonabl that they have not risen up in revolution to rid their governments of corrupt strongmen.

Of course, it is less likely they will do so if every time one of these famines strikes, the world comes to the rescue and just enough food gets through to them that the sense of desperation is mitigated.

It truly is tragic.

To expect ignorant people to individually arrive at the solutions to this problem (whether it be alternative farming methods or population control) is simply not realistic.

They are living hand to mouth; day to day. If they can scratch out a subsitence living farming cash crops, and they need the free labor of their own children to assure that happens, that's the path they will follow.

The problem is a lack of honest leadership.

European Colonialists can't be blamed in perpitutiy for the fact that leaders who have actually cared about their people and their nations are rare in Africa. Their successors, as has been suggested, though do bear some share of the responsibility for reflexively responding to their sense of national guilt by throwing money at the problem.

I certainly don't see any hope, anytime soon for the African people.

BDV
 
  3  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 07:06 pm
OMG someone is starving! where can i send loads of money that actually never reaches there?
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 07:13 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I saw that bit from Kinnison...OMG that was good. Kinnison used humor to tell an amazing amount of truth, as did Carlin, as does South Park....it is amazing how much truth telling they get away with in these times where most truth has been shut down by the PC culture.
BDV
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 07:25 pm
@hawkeye10,
define "truth"
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 07:34 pm
@BDV,
BDV wrote:

define "truth"
speaks of reality as I know it to be.
BDV
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 07:37 pm
@hawkeye10,
reality has a habit of being distorted, so one mans truth becomes another mans profit
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 08:06 pm
@BDV,
Is that profound, or just obscure?
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 08:17 pm
@roger,
Great question roger. Very Happy

I was going to pose something similar myself, but I didn't think I needed to add someone else to the list of people on A2K who dislike me. At least not for such a relatively minor sin. You on the other hand can get away with it..thank Goodness.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Jul, 2011 08:18 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Not really. I've got my share of 'fans'.
0 Replies
 
Pamela Rosa
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2011 04:09 am
The Old Proverb: "Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life."

The African Reality: "Give a Sub-Saharan hominid a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and you have him sitting all day long, masturbating, copulating and begging for more fish.

-----

Ethiopia's population
1959 - 21 800(inc. Eritrea)
2011 - 90 873 (Eritrea's - 5 224)

Kenya's population
1962 - 7 290
2011 - 41 000

(in K )
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2011 07:01 am
@BDV,
BDV wrote:

OMG someone is starving! where can i send loads of money that actually never reaches there?

Our money does get as far as the UN, which hires well-fed, well-dressed locals, equips them with iPads, and dispatches them to take pictures of victims:
http://blogs.reuters.com/photo/2011/07/29/me-and-the-man-with-the-ipad/
http://blogs.reuters.com/photo/files/2011/07/RTR2PAQ2600.jpg

If there was any way to have averted the horrific sufferings of that innocent creature until merciful death finally arrived, then the money would have been well spent - but there is none. As things are, our food aid only perpetuates this monstrous tragedy - for African lands, waters, trees, animals, and people.
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2011 11:40 am
Quote:
"Make a list of all the other environmental problems that now afflict us and our poor battered planet - the increase of greenhouse gases and consequential global warming, the acidification of the oceans and the collapse of fish stocks, the loss of rainforest, the spread of deserts, the shortage of arable land, the increase in violent weather, the growth of mega-cities, famine, migration patterns. The list goes on and on. But they all share one underlying cause. Every one of these global problems, social as well as environmental, becomes more difficult - and ultimately impossible - to solve with ever more people."
http://www.overpopulation.org/
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Aug, 2011 09:59 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:
David - the charity I contribute to is not only about delivering food and aid. As you can see it also works to help and educate people to empower themselves. A large part of it is campaigning for change in the corrupt governmental regimes that foster the environment in which these people have to live.
It's not at all only about putting food in their mouths.


And actually, what High Seas wrote convinced me more than ever that it is important to contribute unless we want to watch these people die.
Would you ask these people to wait until all the facilities and disparate problems are solved to eat?
No. I 've never had any contact with them.




aidan wrote:
Should they have to wait for the top soil to be replenished and the deserts reforested?
Do they not deserve to eat because they were born in a country with a corrupt government?
I don't get it.
And as far as having compassion fatigue - yeah - I do - when it comes to Americans.
Oh, I'm sorry that you can't afford the petrol for your 7 passenger SUV and to run your central air conditioning night and day around the clock. Yeah - sorry that you can only afford to eat at McDonald's and have to give up the sit down meal at Appleby's for the time being. Sorry you can't afford the electricity to run your pool filter.
I lived there David - I know what tightening your belt means to a middle class American.
Things r not that bad, Rebecca.





aidan wrote:
And even for the poorest American citizens, it literally never means watching your child die by the side of the road of starvation and you leaving him or her there so you can try to save your other children by getting them to some food and water.
I know - I've spent my whole working life in America working with the poorest Americans.
I have not had much to do with them.







aidan wrote:
Give me a break - it's called TRIAGE. I don't think about people based on their nationality.
I look at who's in the most desperate situation and needs help NOW.
I prefer hedonism over charity, as a general rule; its just my taste.




aidan wrote:
And I'm not going to take my distaste on the tactics of a government of a country out on the children who live there.

Jesus - what if people all over the world equated me as an American with the American government?
There'd be no hope for me.

Yeah - let's just use the governments as an excuse not to care or give.
I don 't need an excuse. I just choose where to deploy my resources.
The operative criteria that I apply
to the deployment of my resources r usually what will result
in making ME the happiest. I 'm a pro-ME kinda guy.





aidan wrote:
No - I don't have compassion fatigue for Africans - not at all.
nor do I





David
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2011 02:38 am
Quote:
ABC claims that it is the only American news network to have a reporter in Mogadishu, Somalia—the epicenter of Africa's deadly and increasingly violent famine.
But that may soon change
.
On Monday, the New York Times ran a heartbreakingly powerful image taken by photographer Tyler Hicks of a starving Somalian child on its cover, above-the-fold. (Hicks, you may recall, was one of the four New York Times staffers captured in Libya earlier this year.)
Until now, the media—the Times included—has been distracted by phone hacking and debt ceiling coverage to focus on the crisis there.
"The famine in Africa has had to compete with the wrangling over the debt ceiling, the mobile phone hacking scandals in Britain, the killings in Norway and, in Africa itself, the birth of a new country, the Republic of South Sudan," Stephanie Strom writes.
"I'm asking myself where is everybody and how loud do I have to yell and from what mountaintop," Caryl Stern, chief executive of the United States Fund for UNICEF, told the paper. "The overwhelming problem is that the American public is not seeing and feeling the urgency of this crisis
With little-to-no media coverage, relief efforts—and fundraising—have stalled. UNICEF, Stern said, has raised just $5.1 million of its $300 million goal.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/cutline/abc-claims-only-american-reporter-covering-famine-violence-180423280.html

We will see.....right now I am going with the thesis that we dont give a ****, been there done that and Africa never gets better, now we have our own problems to worry about.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2011 03:30 am
@hawkeye10,
Those in need a fix of starving African children can go here

http://www.slate.com/slideshow/arts/the-human-face-of-famine#slide_2
 

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