Famine Strikes Ethiopia Again by Teodros Kiros (Ph.D)
In May 29th, 2009, I wrote:
“ A mother is seen struggling to feed a famished baby from the nerve center of her being. There is no milk to flow to the dried lips of a dying baby. The mother cries bitterly, and the baby cries even more. Mother and baby have no more tears to shed. Their puffed eyes are pregnant with unshed tears. To her left is a five year old, eating his lips, squeezing life out of them. He struggles to open his eyes and see his baby sister on the brink of death. The baby cries no more. The mother crawls with the dead baby with her shaking hands. The five year old tries to follow but famine had already incapacitated him. He cries for the last time, for he knew his baby sister is no more.”
(Abugida, May 29th, 2009)
This image long engraved in my soul has now returned to the East African land of famine. It is there now, framing millions of famished African bodies. Nothing has changed, except that the mothers are more and their dying babies are much, much more.
The UN has reported that 24 million people are saturating the media world with emaciated bodies, forced on our senses. Those ravished by famine are incapable of refusing to be seen, reluctant to exist in this inhumane way, and the famine fatigued world will shut the screen right on their faces, a defiant act of erasing their existence.
In the meantime the shameless Ethiopian tyrant and other African tyrants will fly the world boasting economic growth, highways and buildings as markers of development without purpose, growth without goals, a future without plans. They deny that famine has returned, and that they are ready to contain it with donated money, all that they need is more money. This language has long naturalized itself to our offended ears. We have heard it in Ethiopia for the last 5000 years, and we will hear it forever.
Famine, however, continues to interrogate pseudo development. Its victims are the crying babies and the milk less mothers. Its victims announce themselves to the reluctant world annually. They remind the world that they are here for now, may be for a week, a month, and if lucky a year. Long after they are gone, some of their children will take their place, and come back to say to the world, we are here again, and we will be there, until after the causes of our non-being are fulllly addressed.
What we need now is a truly democratic regime, led by a new thinker, with a vision of containing famine permanently. Infact, a new party must soon develop a policy on famine and present it to the Ethiopian public to gain its support and use this vision to unseat the existing regime by any means necessary.
The existing gangs, as usual, will steal the next election, again. That is no reason to discourage out imagination and will to think about containing famine permanently. Indeed the best thinking is done during the times of defeat. This is the time to really forge a new party with a policy on development. The victims of famine say we are here. Look at us, when you do not want to. Hear from us, when you pretend that you are not.
We are watching your inauthenticity. We are laughing at your ideas of development on our backs. We might die now. But our children, those who survive, like the five-year-old boy, who witnessed the death of his sister, will inherit our struggles and fight for their rights.
I urge our economists to develop an idea of development, development with a purpose, a goal and a plan for the future. Attacking this regime is a necessary condition to expose its politics of intimidation. Developing an idea of justice without famine is to defeat this regime with a better idea, and expose its poverty of ideas to the thinking world.
We must act now. The Ethiopian intelligencia must busy itself with a party program, the inner core of which must be the question of famine.