THE MENTAL SCARS OF FAMINE – By Teodros Kiros (PH.D)

May 29th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Long after Famine ravishes bodies, soils and land landscapes; it leaves some unbearable mental scars that its victims have to share generation after generation with extraordinary patience and dignity.

Consider the following image of famished bodies, while bearing the pain, and then living with its scars, and taking the memory all the way to the final days of their terrestrial existence. (more…)

Long after Famine ravishes bodies, soils and land landscapes; it leaves some unbearable mental scars that its victims have to share generation after generation with extraordinary patience and dignity.

Consider the following image of famished bodies, while bearing the pain, and then living with its scars, and taking the memory all the way to the final days of their terrestrial existence.
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 tears to shed. They are eyes are pregnant with unshakable 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 on her hand. The five year old tries to follow but he cannot. He too cries, for he knew that his baby sister is no more. The mother and the baby are gone. There is however, the mother and the five year old, who are fated to live that death every second of their lives. They are both fated to bear the unbearable mental scars of famine for years to come.

Note the salience of how the memory of famine survives in the bodies and souls of its survivors. The living present of the mother and her surviving boy’s lives is haunted by the memory of the helpless mother, who had nothing to feed, and the resultant death; remember too the five year old, who is a teenager now, who witnessed the death of his baby sister. It is in this way, which the victims of famine, continue to remain, traumatized, haunted and scarred by the remembrance of the famished past.

What is more disturbing is the effect of famine on the national psyche, the psyche of the citizens, and their confidence and self-esteem. Once famine strikes, the living victims of the immediate past think and live as if famine will strike again. They refuse to forget, and even if they want to, they cannot forgive. Worse still, they cannot plan or forecast the future. For they think that nothing that they plan could bear fruit, since they think that famine will strike and take away their cattle, their land, their homes and their children.

Once burned, one will always burn. Once hurt, one will always be hurt is a vicious circle of despair in which the victims of famine enclose themselves. The victims wrap themselves with the blanket of the fear of nature, and that is precisely why a compassionate state must invest in both protecting its citizens, as its top priority, from the ravishes of nature by intelligent planning and building appropriate infrastructure; and also invest again on the victims of famine by healing their mental scars, so that they can be positive thinking, confident and productive producers of economies of value.

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