Kevin Myers: Harsh as they were, my views on Africa had to be expressed – Belfast Telegraph

July 25th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Last Friday week, with famine approaching yet again, I wondered about the wisdom of forking out yet more aid to Ethiopia.

Since the great famine of the mid-1980s, Ethiopia’s population has soared from 33.5 million to 78 million. Now, I do not write civil service reports for the United Nations: I write a newspaper column, and I was deliberately strong in my use of language — as indeed I had been when writing reports from Ethiopia at the height of that terrible famine. (more…)

Last Friday week, with famine approaching yet again, I wondered about the wisdom of forking out yet more aid to Ethiopia.

Since the great famine of the mid-1980s, Ethiopia’s population has soared from 33.5 million to 78 million. Now, I do not write civil service reports for the United Nations: I write a newspaper column, and I was deliberately strong in my use of language — as indeed I had been when writing reports from Ethiopia at the height of that terrible famine.
Since dear old Ireland can often enough resemble Lynch Mob Central on PC issues, I braced myself for the worst: and sure enough, in poured the emails. Three hundred on the first day, soon reaching over 800: but, amazingly, 90%+ were in my support, and mostly from baffled, decent and worried people. The minority who attacked me were risibly predictable, expressing themselves with a vindictive and uninquiring moral superiority. (Why do so many of those who purport to love mankind actually hate people so?)

We did more in Ethiopia a quarter of a century ago than just rescue children from terrible death through starvation: we also saved an evil, misogynistic and dysfunctional social system. Presuming that half the existing population (say, 17 million) of the mid-1980s is now dead through non-famine causes, the total added population from that time is some 60 million, around half of them female.

That is, Ethiopia has effectively gained the entire population of the United Kingdom since the famine. But at least 80% of Ethiopian girls are circumcised, meaning that no less than 24 million girls suffered this fate, usually without anaesthetics or antiseptic. The UN estimates that 12% of girls die through septicaemia, spinal convulsions, trauma and blood-loss after circumcision which probably means that around three million little Ethiopian girls have been butchered since the famine — roughly the same as the number of Jewish women who died in the Holocaust.

So what is the moral justification for saving a baby from death through hunger, in order to give her an even more agonising, almost sacrificial, death aged eight or 13? The practice could have been stamped out, with sufficient political will, as sutti in India once was. And the feminists of the West would never have allowed such unconditional aid to be given to such a wicked and brutal society if it had been run by white men.

But, instead, the state was run by black males, for whom a special race-and-gender dispensation apparently applies: thus the two most politically incorrect sins of our age — sexism and racism — by some mysterious moral process, akin to the mathematics of the double-negative, annul one another, and produce an unquestioned positive virtue, called Ethiopia. I am not innocent in all this. People here remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported — such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work. In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate shebeens.

Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect).

I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children — not cold, unpopular and even ‘racist’ accusations about African male culpability.

Am I able to rebut good and honourable people like John O’Shea, who are now warning us that once again, we must feed the starving Ethiopian children?

No, of course I’m not. But I am lost in awe at the dreadful options open to us. This is the greatest moral quandary facing the world. We cannot allow the starving children of Ethiopia to die. Yet the wide-eyed children of 1984-86, who were saved by western medicines and foodstuffs, helped begin the greatest population explosion in human history, which will bring Ethiopia’s population to 170 million by 2050. By that time, Nigeria’s population will be 340 million, (up from just 19 million in 1930). The same is true over much of Africa.

Thus we are heading towards a demographic holocaust, with a potential premature loss of life far exceeding that of all the wars of the 20th century. This terrible truth cannot be ignored.

But back in Ireland, there are sanctimonious ginger-groups, which yearn to prevent discussion, and even to imprison those of us who try, however imperfectly, to expose the truth about Africa.

  1. Bisaye
    | #1

    It seems this things have never been happened in Ireland or else other western countries.All hunger,divorce and males superiority over female and he is predicting that we would be 150 Million in 2050 this is insane how would one can estimate the population from the past it is impossible either he is still in the life of illusion and someone should tell him that at this time there wouldn’t be an increment of people by such amount the people are aware of birth control but not as you Irish mans where most of Europe suffered from depopulation. The kid you gave him food and medicine become a rapist? So where did he train this things? In Ethiopia raping and gang comes from obviously from Western countries thanks for your Medias now in Ethiopia we hear everyday about rape and something like that. what else mister journalist I am sure that you have visited Ethiopia and you never saw the good parts of th e country you should see it that may help you give balanced comment but Ethiopians are not and were not and will not be look like the one you described the only right thing you said is the drought that is it still we have that problem we have to do a lot on it. The moral story is that if you don’t give the kid food today it is good to control population growth I thought you were from Ireland and Journalist wow what a shame on you man? Ironically speaking suicide bombers or any people dying of accident or bombing or what ever is good for controlling population growth is this make sense only crazy person would speak like this? If I were you I would tell to my Ethiopian friends that they should work a lot to eradicate poverty no other thing they should do every possible thing to overcome the problem the land doesn’t matter you can buy food if you have food but luckily Ethiopia has a lot of fertile lands which had never been farmed and water I think you visited it the problem is still we are not managed to use these resources at all. I will have more to say but it is enough.

  2. basha
    | #2

    the guy needs to be killed

  3. basha
    | #3

    the guy needs to be killed and wiped out of the fucken Ginness driven and ignorant country-ire

  4. borruu
    | #4

    This guy is right.Look at ourselves first.In 1984 i went to the ethiopian census.After we returned once the government finished the counting the government announced on national tv and radio,42.7million.Look at last year there was census again.After they done the cesus the government announced again-81.2 million as stands today.War areas such as ogaden some oromia and others are not accounted for guys since 1984 to this day do think it right for ethiopia population to be doubled.for what and why?Don’t just jump on this guy to swear at him.Why we need population for while we can’t invent blade we are using.why we need so much population while we didn’t changed a bit of farming.Think about it.He is right on the head.,He is 100%right what he wrote.and it is true.we never sit down to think why we get the women pregenant?what to eat?feed?clothing?future,school,……..Non of that country men sit down a thjink for a minute.wait a minute why i need kids for?Did you ever asked yourself?

  5. Dametw
    | #5

    When someone show us our face in the mirror we get mad at the mirror, break it or blame the person who invented the mirror or deny something wrong with the mirror.

    Beggar never can be choicer, the sooner we realize the facts the better we will be.

    He guys swallow your pride with empty pocket and brain. Do not blame the messenger. I am sick and tired of an empty cry on one individual when the work that needs to be done is not even started.

    We gather in thousands for a soccer tournament that has no real value beside entertainment but not onece we gather in the same zeal to stop famine.

    We gather in churches to speak to our lord (God know what) and come home and do noting.

    We come in drove when a popular artist sings about Hagire and our misery and spent hundreds of dollars to sooth our temporary insanity.

    We praise a dictator for smooth talk us in to slavery by throwing us a few goodies and feels we accomplished something.

    The time has come to stop crying and do something, starting getting rid of the dictator ruling us. All the cry is not going to do us any good but get rid of our frustration for the moment and pass on our own weakeness on somebodyelse.

    Let us grow up

  6. Abesachn
    | #6

    Nowadays I’m almost accepting that the Ethiopian IQ (what is being accepted by few racists that our IQ is the lowest…) is the lowest and that’s why we couldn’t reslove our major problems.
    Look what Dametw says(above).
    We know our problems.May be we are not doing our best to resolve them due to different factors.We din’t deny their existence.
    We’re against Kevin’s approach to resove the problems.
    Dear Damtew! Are you ready to starve these people to death? Are you realy ready and doing something for the struggle to get rid of the dictator ruling the country?
    Do you realy know the cause/s of our misery?What are OUR OWN WEAKNESSES You have on your mind? _SEXISM?…PROSTITUTION??… Where did Kevin get these terms_from Africa? Is Europe free of these?
    Mr. Kevin is scared to death when he learned that in the European countries the population growth is declining dramatically while African population is taking the oposite direction. That may be followed by the over taking of Europe by the blacks.Tha’s bad omen for Kevin.

  7. M Haile
    | #7

    Kevin is absolutely right. I cannot believe
    anyone (except of course a miserable African)
    would decry sexism and racism. Ethiopian have
    been and are unresponsible and dangerous sexists. That is the men. They want to get laid
    off or down at any corner or a country barn.
    If at all, they should be ashamed. Not the
    writer who brought their shameful behavior to

  8. Dametw
    | #8

    Dear Abesachn, you prove me once again what I am saying; now you are turning against me, next on someone else.

    I have seen it all, we talk too much but short of action. I have seen people who scream their heart out and go silent for a pity interest. I have seen others who refuse to spent a few dollar to help and put up a lavish weeding in the middle of poverty stricken fellow country people, I have seen political leaders who could not come together to get rid of Woyane and fight over pennies, I have seen Woyane deliberate punishment of its peaceful opposition with vengeance and murder.

    Please spare me, I do not expect some foreigner to say nice thing about our people when the ruling party insult us and our country every day and starve our people deliberately and when the majority of us can not come together to do something about it.

    It is time to clean house instead of blaming any one but ourselves.

  9. yikerbelen
    | #9

    We are the shameless people on earth.WE are mi-using the most fertile land which is beingsurrounded by more than eight rivers , and with the most suitable weather which we can produce the whole years. Now this bloody Irish man told us the truth and we should accept the reality instead of insulting him.Reliable source confirmed that there was a very harsh drought in tegeray some 50 years ago like now when the current criminal melese was a child. Melese was supposed to be dead by starvation at that time, but an international communities save him and other criminals, now they are killing others, they are exporting enjeras and selling in diaspora like Dc takes some 100,000 enjeras per months. So mr kevin is right some times, but we need to save those blameless children.

  10. Getu
    | #10

    I do not understand why people became so offended and are looking for blood, when this man told the truth. People are expanding exponentially like rabbit and there is nothing anyone is doing in controlling the population explosion.Rather than accepting his criticism and finding a solution, here we are pretending as if all is well. As far as, the EPDRF goes, rather than accumulating billions of BIRR and investing disproportionally in Tigrye , I do not think they care less.

  11. kende
    | #11

    When I arrived at Bombay or Mumbai, call it the way you like, in my first trip abroad in 1982, I was trilled, amazed and shocked by my first sight.
    There were people every where literary every where and it’s like how on earth can this be a reality.
    It does not take to be a genius to see the consequence of that.
    The pets in Europe are worth or cared better than some humans there. One gets saddened by the situation at first sight.
    After a big sigh I kind of prayed, God save us from hear.
    It seams that we are heading to wards Mumbai.
    Irrespective of what an Irish or some other says, or the way it has come forward this is our challenge nr one.
    Hope that with the help of God Almighty we start doing something about it instead of talking about this language group shall have this map or this flag and that language group shall…..

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