Friday, 23 October 2009

25 Years On And Still They Die Of Hunger

There are not many television programmes that are so shocking and influential that they launch an international reaction and shame Governments into action but the first of two shown 25 years ago today did exactly that.
A couple of seven minute BBC news reports in 1984 revealed the full scale of the horror happening in drought hit Ethiopia and the pathetic sight of a population dying en-mass from hunger.
'A person dies from starvation ever 20 minutes' Michael Burke informed us along with the revelation that Governments won't help because Ethiopia is run by a Marxist regime and that Europe was sitting on a massive grain surplus as people died through lack of food.
The impact of Burke’s report left singer Bob Geldof so moved and angry with the world for standing by at such a time, he decided to do something about it.
Concerts, singles and a massive fundraising drive raised tens of millions in aid and Governments, embarrassed by their lack of action despite warnings over the previous 18 months, sent planes full of food and supplies.
The Government blamed the civil war and a corrupt Ethiopian Government but everyone else just saw people dying from hunger while our elected leaders stood idly by.
Shamefully, 25 years on and still people are dying of starvation in Ethiopia which begs the question, why, after a quarter of a century and hundreds of millions of pounds, is there still not enough food there to feed them?
Are we not giving enough? Is the food the money buys just treating the symptom but the cause of the almost annual famines remain untreated? Is the money not being wisely spent by the aid agencies?
I could point out that to see anyone starve to death while half the World are debating ways to combat over-eating is obscene and if we spent as much money on fighting hunger as we do on wars, then the world would be a better place but it seems that what we are doing, we are either not doing it enough or doing it the wrong way and have been since the beginning.

2 comments:

Annie said...

Geldof had the right idea and yet here we are. The contrast is most pathetic, as you point out. Obesity is off the charts in this country. Including children. Something is seriously off-kilter, when there are millions starving to death while others are stuffing their faces.

Lucy said...

It is so saddening Annie that half the world has too much food while the other half die through not enough of it.