Horrors in the Horn of Africa…..

It’s hard to be a critic of food aid for starving Africans.  You find yourself in the pretty odious company of Fox news devotees and people with unlocked gun cabinets.  Still, when I read articles like this, http://tgr.ph/p1taMu I can’t  help but find myself resenting the most recent calls for ”the West” to yet again save the day in the Horn of Africa.  Not because I don’t think “we” have a role to play, but because it all just feels like a grisly Groundhog Day.  Because….

– Among those supposedly possessing global responsibility for the Horn, there’s no mention of China—that mega power that’s busy re-colonizing Africa.  Surely in light of current geo-political realities they, too, should be called to start saving Africans rather than just exploiting them?

-Oh, also notably absent are the governments of Kenya, Somalia or Ethiopia, the very same governments that are selling off their fertile farmland to the Chinese, the Indians or whoever else might be the highest bidder.  Surely, if we’re going to start respecting Africans as partners in development rather than just recepients of aid,  we need to hear how they’re taking responsibility for their own citizens?

-And maybe most importantly, nobody feels compelled to explain how aid might, this time, contribute to sustainable development, so that there might not be more calls for aid in two or three or ten years time.  Surely none of us wants to see these cycles of famine persist without some broader intervention?

Believe me, I am all for effective aid operations and I do believe western governments need to be major players.  But this paradigm of African victims and Western saviors just feels really tired.  And I’m not convinced it’s in the best interest of African’s themselves.  So come on, let’s have some fresh dialogue on these issues please, rather than just guilt trips.

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