When death is what WILL happen

Veröffentlicht: Juli 12, 2011 in Idle speech
Schlagwörter:, ,

Okay, this has nothing to do with school. I know, this is meant to be a school-related blog, but I think the impending death of many thousands of men, women and children is worth making an exception.

Today I would like to write about the drought and food crisis in Somalia and other East African countries. The German press has started reporting on this in force over the last few days, but as so often when issues outside Europe and America are concerned, they have been quite slow on the uptake – the British media have been on the case for a while. So for everybody who is not quite sure what I am on about, here’s what:

The last few rainy periods in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenia have failed and this has resulted in a failure of the last few harvests and depletion of grazing grounds.  As a consequence, many of the nomad families have lost their livestock (cattle, goats, etc.) and hundreds of thousand of families are going hungry. (Information about this can be found here in English and here in German.)
Because Somalia is classified as a failed state, with no functioning government, no security and no infrastructure of any kind, many people have had to flee their country and now live in refugee camps in neighbouring Kenya. The largest camp, which was designed for 90.000 people, now houses 400.000 refugees and not surprisingly the conditions there are terrible. Not just overcroweded-terrible, but people-are-actually-dying-from-starvation-and disease-terrible.
The crisis is regarded as the biggest famine for decades – and the reason I am writing all this is because I would like to ask you to do your bit to help the starving people there. You can donate money here.

Now, many people will already have cared enough to donate, but many will not. Most of those do have reasons not to donate.

  • They may say that it makes no sense giving money to regimes run by warlords who squander any funds on more weapons to terrorize their people. They even say that more catastrophies are caused by those warlords rather than actual food shortages.
    Of course, there is a lot of truth in that, but not this time! This famine is due to bad weather,  a lack of rain. Whether this has anything to do with climate change is not something I could decide, but if it has, it could well be argued, that we, the West, are partly to blame for the famine. After all, it was us who caused all the carbon emissions to create our lifestyle of abundancy – and countries such as the East African ones are now paying a very high price for our life of luxury.
    Moreover, most of the emergency help that you will donate for will go to the refugee camps in Kenia – you will not be funding more Somali pirates!
  • Many people say that life is hard in our country for many people too, and we should care for our own before we try to change the world.
    Great point – but I have a feeling that many people are not falling over themselves to improve the conditions here in Germany either, so that argument does not hold a lot of water.  And although I don’t want to belittle any of the problems in our country, people in the refugee camps will be dead without help, parents will be mourning their dead children while being too weak to even comfort their remaining ones in their dying hours. Children will roam the streets as orphans and soon die themselves, through starvation, disease or violence – the horror has such biblical proportions!
  • A lot of people have no money to spare and so no money to donate.
    If you have no money, then you have no money and no more needs to be said about it. But what if a smoker did without one pack of cigarettes? What if a drinker did without two beers? What if you did not have two coffees, a few ice creams, one cocktail etc?
    If everybody who can afford cigarettes, drink, coffee, ice cream, cocktails etc. saved only 5 Euros and 10 people got together to donate 50 Euros together (don’t go and donate only 5 Euros individually as I believe the handling costs of the transaction are too high to make the donation significant), then you could really make a difference.

So please, do try and help where you can!

Thank you!

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