The Nazis Used It, We Use It: The Return Of Famine As A Weapon Of War

Flickr/Surian Soosay. The Pakistan Floods / Wet Famine

By Alex de Waal for Transcend Media Service – 15 Jun 2017 – In its primary use, the verb ‘to starve’ is transitive: it’s something people do to one another, like torture or murder. Mass starvation as a consequence of the weather has very nearly disappeared: today’s famines are all caused by political decisions, yet journalists still use the phrase ‘man-made famine’ as if such events were unusual. Over the last half-century, famines have become rarer and less lethal. Last year I came close to thinking that they might have come to an end. But this year, it’s possible that four or five famines will occur simultaneously. ‘We stand at a critical point in history,’ the head of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the former Tory MP Stephen O’Brien, told the Security Council in March, in one of his last statements before stepping down: ‘Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.’ It’s a ‘critical’ point, I’d argue, not because it is the worst crisis in our lifetime, but because a long decline – lasting seven decades – in mass death from starvation has come to an end; in fact it has been reversed.

Three Major Famines On Earth. Where Are They?

punghi / Shutterstock

By Jack Healey for Huffington Post – To be an American in the world today is to be a citizen of a country rapidly losing its place as a global leader in foreign aid, foreign assistance and even what we once might have considered the moral high ground. There are crises, it seems, in every corner of the globe, including refugee camps in the center of Paris and immigrant detention centers on our own borders. Our leaders are telling us these crises are impossible to solve diplomatically, complex in nature and beyond the scope of what we can or should handle. And yet on April 6, Representative Barbara Lee along with ten other representatives, sent a letter to the Committee on Appropriations with a simple request—money for famine relief. Money for food, for people who had none. Specifically, a billion dollars. The countries they were hoping to assist were places that are geopolitically complex—namely, Yemen, along with South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Famine in these places has its roots in everything from colonialism to climate change to U.S. foreign policy in the region. Specifically in Yemen, the U.S. has supported Saudi Arabia in its brutal campaign to stop ISIS as well as the Houthis, a Shi’ite minority fighting the Saudi-backed Sunni government.

Climate Change As Genocide; Inaction Equals Annihilation

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By Michael Klare for Tom Dispatch. Not since World War II have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than at this very moment. On March 10th, Stephen O’Brien, under secretary-general of the United Nations for humanitarian affairs, informed the Security Council that 20 million people in three African countries — Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan — as well as in Yemen were likely to die if not provided with emergency food and medical aid. “We are at a critical point in history,” he declared. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the U.N.” Without coordinated international action, he added, “people will simply starve to death [or] suffer and die from disease.”

Reality And The US-Made Famine In Yemen

Pakistan UN Drones

By Kathy Kelly for Antiwar – This week at the Voices for Creative Nonviolence office in Chicago, my colleague Sabia Rigby prepared a presentation for a local high school. She’ll team up with a young friend of ours, himself a refugee from Iraq, to talk about refugee crises driven by war. Sabia recently returned from Kabul where she helped document the young Afghan Peace Volunteers’ efforts to help bring warmth, food and education to internally displaced families living in makeshift camps, having fled the Afghan War when it raged near their former homes. Last year Sabia had been visiting with refugees in “the Calais Jungle,” who were fleeing the Middle East and several African countries for Britain.

Impact Of US-Saudi War On Yemen: 7 Million Close To Famine

A malnourished baby receives treatment at al-Sabaeen hospital in Sana’a. A total of 6.8 million people are in a state of emergency in Yemen, where a food crisis is causing widespread malnutrition. Photograph: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

By Les Roopanarine, Patrick Wintour, Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Ahmad Algohbary in Ibb for The Guardian – Governments warned they face enduring shame should famine take hold in Yemen, where two-thirds of the population face severe food shortages, nation is near ‘point of no return’ Aid agencies have warned that Yemen is “at the point of no return” after new figures released by the UN indicated 17 million people are facing severe food insecurity and will fall prey to famine without urgent humanitarian assistance. A total of 6.8 million people are deemed to be in a state of emergency – one step from famine on the five-point integrated food security phase classification (IPC), the standard international measure – with a further 10.2 million in crisis.

Christmas In July And The Collapse Of America's Great African Experiment

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On return from his recent reporting trip to Africa, Nick Turse told me the following tale, which catches something of the nature of our battered world. At a hotel bar in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, he attended an informal briefing with a representative of a major nongovernmental organization (NGO). At one point, the briefer commented that just one more crisis might sink the whole aid operation. He thought she was referring to South Sudan, whose bottomless set of problems include unending civil war, no good prospects for peace, impending famine, poor governance, and a lack of the sort of infrastructure that could make a dent in such a famine. Nick responded accordingly, only to be corrected. She didn’t just mean South Sudan, she said, but the entire global NGO system. Given the chaos of the present moment across the Greater Middle East and elsewhere, global aid operations were, she insisted, on the brink. They were all, she told him, just one catastrophe away from the entire system collapsing. I have to admit that as I watch the civilian carnage in Gaza; catastrophically devolving Iraq; the nightmare of Syria; the chaotic situation in Libya where, thanks to militia fighting, the capital’s international airport is now in ruins; the grim events surrounding Ukraine, which seem to be leading to an eerie, almost inconceivable revival of the Cold War ethos; not to speak of the situation in Afghanistan, where bad only becomes worse in the midst of an election from hell and the revival of the Taliban, I have a similar eerie feeling: just one more thing might tip this planet into… well, what?