Ethiopia Starving Again!
The Ethiopian government has asked the international community for emergency food aid & though I think should be compassionate & ensure millions don't starve at the same time I'm thinking oh Christ not again. Its about the the 25th anniversary of the BBC reports on the then famine in Ethiopia which stirred Bob Geldof to organize Band Aid & then Live Aid. I'd like think & do think that at that time Geldof was acting in purely altruistic manner.
Though back then Geldof might have been acting in a purely altruistic manner recently Geldof has been accused of tax avoidance whilst at the same time he's bitched about argued that more aid money should be made available from taxation. Yeah now we really know what Bob saying 'give us your fuckin' money' really happens to mean... wealthy rock stars such as himself should have exclusion from the taxes he proposes, it's the poor in the west should be taxed to feed the poor in Africa. On the afternoon of Live Aid back in 1985 many poor people did give when Bob said 'give us your fuckin' money' & even back then as there is today there was a vocal minority who asked how much of the money raised would in fact reach tjose desperately need it. I remember this vocal minority & I remember how many sections of the media portrayed them as either, selfish, nasty or even racist, never mind whether they had a valid point.
What people forget about the situation as was in Ethiopia back in 1984 was that there was a civil war & therefore a great of the aid that might have been given wouldn't of gotten to those who desperately needed it. It amazes me that when there's some civil war going in some piss poor country that there's plenty of money for bullets & guns but none for food.
It might have been a decade ago when last Ethiopia appealed for aid only that as it turns out that the Ethiopian government had been spending billions on fighting a border dispute with a neighbouring country. The International Community agreed to give but then refused aid because it had to come thorough a port in the neighbouring country it was a war with & when the Ethiopian government did that my response was beggars can't be choosers & if don't want the help on offer then my response is fuck you.
Maybe there's something to be said that if you give a hand out to anybody then anybody will be back for more, but if you a hand up then you'd be thanked for aiding somebody for being able to be more self reliant etc. It should be said that many in Africa aren't looking for hand outs & do want to get ahead & they would if not for EU tariffs. If weren't for European Union trade tariffs against goods from Africa you see far more African goods on your supermarket shelf priced at competitive prices, but due to the protectionist policies of the EU towards African trade many in Africa are hampered from getting ahead.
I'd never discourage anybody from giving to the likes of Oxfam because the likes of Oxfam do great work & you can pretty sure that the majority of money ypu give will get to those who desperately need it, but unfortunately in poorer nations governments tend to be far more corrupt & lets say a percentage of your donation will get slimmed by shall we say by middle men or government bureaucrats. Now I believe its better to give to Oxfam because they rely upon people giving if people believe their money is being well spent. But western governments giving aid to governments in Africa will usually result in those governments misspending the money. Okay Pakistan isn't in Africa but since Pakistan came into being its existence has relied upon international aid, yet Pakistan has nukes & one can oly think that a great of the aid which western governments have given to Pakistan has been shall we say misappropriated. Its same with many countries in Africa in fact I've heard people say its no good what so ever to give any aid to Zimbabwe as Mugabe would use it as means to bully & threaten the populous into supporting him & his cronies.
So the question is do the international community give aid to Ethiopia via the Ethiopian government, well I guess we should so at least some effort is being made on our part to help those in dire need but we should be aware that not all the aid which the international community gives to Ethiopia will not benefit those who are most in need. Its far better to give when the likes of Oxfam (who'll have workers on the ground etc) launches a fundraising campaign, then I'll encourage anybody to give what they can.