Are we all insane? What has our society come to?
Theme Song for 21st Century Famines: "We Own the World, We Ignore the Children"
by Zeynep Toufe
“The situation in Zimbabwe hit you guys hard, I suppose” said my neighbor to the young woman who had just sauntered out of the customs area at the airport. She was from Malawi, he was trying to make small talk about the famine ravaging her country. She was resignedly nodding till he mentioned Zimbabwe.
With a puzzled look, she squinted in his direction: “What?”
As usual, we hear a lot about the side issue and almost nothing about the fundamental questions: hence the puzzling remark.
She probably didn’t know that a good chunk of the media coverage in the United States regarding the famine that threatens six Southern African states and 12 million people concentrated on the fact that Zimbabwe’s government is trying to oust couple thousand white farmers from the most of the productive lands, most of which they control as a legacy of the white supremacist colonial rule. The truth is that this is but a side issue; the evictions haven’t helped the harvest; however, the hard reality is that rainfalls are down 75 percent in Zimbabwe. And Zimbabwe is but one country threatened by the famine.
While it is true that this famine, as with most famines, is the result of a combination of bad weather and bad policies, the real tragic story is that both the bad policy and the bad weather were severely exacerbated by the rich world.
That would be us.
It often seems that God perennially deals a bad hand to Africa. Remember Ethiopia in the eighties? The massive famine that came at the end of an almost ten year drought, the images of starving, wide-eyed, swollen-bellied children with the accompanying tune of “We are the World, We Are the Children”?
The song should be remade: “We Own the World, We Ignore the Children.”
It’s turning out that the Africa’s ‘bad luck’ is us.