In its most simple form, a social contract is an agreement between the people in a society and the society that they are a part of, to provide an environment conductive to – at a minimum – survival.
This is a fundamental human expectation which exists within a 20 person tribe in the Amazon jungle, to a city populated by millions, and outward to a country populated by hundreds of millions.
Then there’s Somalia – a fractured state – where the social contract has been shredded by the elites, politicians, warring factions, and the political and functional ineptness of intervening outside agencies and governments.
Since certain Western governments seem to find it more politically appealing to blow the hell out of people, in support of oligarchs, rather than provide adequate assistance to those truly in need of survival intervention, the famine victims in Somalia are virtually on their own.
If you’ve read this far and you’re wondering why I would take a position on a food crisis in Africa, in a technical blog – here’s why.
First – the consensus of opinion I’m reading in popular media seems to be focused more on “here we go again”, and the usual – we need to stop giving taxpayer money to feed people in Africa who contribute to terrorism, piracy, environmental destruction and world overpopulation – rather than on a realistic humanitarian perspective.
Second – the following comment from regular reader “Hipockets”, whose concern for the innocent victims, in what is proving to be an escalating tragedy, is evident.
Bill, the following request is way, way, way off topic, but the famine in Kenya and Somalia is so severe that many families there are having to choose which of their children to feed, and which to bury.
There are many worthy causes that need our help, but I can think on nothing more important than helping starving children.
So please think about some way to tell your readers about how they can contribute funds to help these children.
Contributions can be made via the following websites:
Admittedly, the World is in unprecedented turmoil. A time in which we’re faced with issues that appear to offer diminishing prospects of a satisfactory resolution. Even so, the very idea of not providing adequate assistance in order to prevent a generational tragedy in Somalia, is abhorrent to me.
I’m hopeful that you will join with me, Hipockets, and other concerned individuals, in offering what help you can to those in Somalia who are faced with circumstances – not of their own making – in which their survival is under attack.
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16 responses to “Should You Offer Support To Somalia’s Famine Victims?”
Thank you Bill
Your post gives my personal concerns their correct perspective
There’s a certain meanness of spirit currently being propagated as political ideology which I find not only morally corrupt, but akin to holding a match to a stick of dynamite. The “here we go again” attitude, which I’ve been listening to with respect to the crisis in Somalia this past week, has brought home to me just how entrenched this political ideology has become in the public consciousness.
Even a marginal knowledge of history should be enough to shine a light on the perverse nature of this ideology, the inherent human costs involved, and should be enough to add weight to the truism – “you reap what you sew”. Unfortunately, humankind seems to have a need to learn the same lessons repeatedly.
I can’t even begin to imagine what the people of Somalia are going through. Sometimes, when I am sitting here with the “Poor Me” attitude, I think how much those people would love to swap places with me, because I really do have it good
I will think hard about how I can contribute.
I occasionally volunteer time at a food bank and I must admit, I find that experience anything but uplifting. People who have access to that facility, or the 50 MILLION Americans now using food stamps (according to CNN, just yesterday), are unlikely to perish from starvation.
While I agree that we have an obligation to “take care of our own” – it’s little enough, it seems to me, to offer a reasonable consideration to an organization which can act as my surrogate in protecting those, who through circumstance, are unable to protect themselves from the ravages of hunger.
i would like to thank you for your concerns about
black on the over side of the world. i as black man have to suffer watching tv commercials about poor dogs and cats needing food and housing, more is said
about them then human beings and their need. many
people is have talked with have great concerns about how and money and food never reach the people in need. if the humans of the country maybe could see the food and money actually going to the people in need, and not in some government pouch or warehouse,
as have know and have seen constantly happening, more people maybe would open their hearts to the black people in need. if you look at how the U.S. went
to such great concern flying food in to Berlin and other
countries, i wonder why this does not happenin Afric.
Your point regarding the Berlin airlift is very well made. Not only were the logistic capabilities of entire military forces (the US, Canada, UK, France and others), focused on this achievement, but airmen gave their lives to accomplish the objective. An objective, it must be said, which was primarily political in nature and only incidentally humanitarian. Politics and the need to brandish power will override human need every time.
Without the Soviet Union acting as a counterfoil to Allied geopolitical ambitions, I suspect the population of Berlin would have found themselves in a very different set of circumstances.
Graft, corruption, and the misappropriation of relief supplies is a significant problem, as you mentioned. But, it’s important to remember – legitimate relief organization have a good record of achievement despite the obstacles they have to overcome.
Like you, I find commercials for pet food (and, I have a dog and a cat), just a little surreal.
Shame on us the comfortable ones.
But let’s not excuse the moral high ground of some well intentioned armchair intelectualls… who never leave their chairs.
You and I are willing to put an effort of our own (I’m sure you are; I’m sure I am).
But oh so many only forward their words and not their actions?
You’re so right. I’m glad you brought it up for discussion.
It’s tiresome listening to the “talking head” – “armchair intellectuals” – pontificating on a crisis, which in their personal life, is nothing more than “the crisis of the month”. Next month, they’ll be on to something else, without of course, having taken any active participation in solving the current, or any previous crisis. To this type of person, human need is nothing more than fodder for discussion (and, profit). Sad.
Thank you, Bill.
Please give some consideration to following up with contacting your blogging friends.
My first thought with the famine in East Africa was to give and I did so, as I have with every humanitarian disaster since the Indonesian tsunami. The enormity of these events needs people to look past political considerations at the terrible consequences visited on innocent men, women and children. It is very easy to say, from the comfort of home, “aid doesn’t get through”, “aid is appropriated by warlords for their own ends”, “aid doesn’t solve the problem, just exacerbates it”, “after months, the aid still has not got to the people who need it” etc, etc.
If we start to think along these lines and, therefore, do not give what we can, I think it dehumanises us somewhat. My attitude is, we cannot influence what happens to what we give. We need to leave it to the aid agencies to put it to the best use.
I do wonder if my small contribution makes any difference but that will not stop me.
Aid agencies, it seems to me, rely on small contributions from people like you and me. Taken together, and delivered appropriately, all contributions have impact.
I agree with you – if we look for reasons not to give – we can surely find them.
Yes, our small contributions will make a difference. Thankfully, the UN people on the ground in Africa know how to work with the various entities — even the s.o.b.s — to maximize the amount of aid that actually gets to where it is needed.
According to http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/aug/03/somalia-famine-aid-operations, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) ” . . . . .managed to reach 49% of the planned beneficiaries – the most vulnerable populations in central regions and Mogadishu. In June, WFP reached 167,000 people affected, including malnourished children and pregnant and nursing mothers in the capital, with stocks of roughly 1,600 metric tons. In May it reached 289,500 people, with stocks of roughly 2,666 metric tonnes. The WFP received no shipments of food to Mogadishu between April and the beginning of July, during the critical period before famine was declared in parts of Somalia, because of a shortage of money.”
The Associated Press of Paskistan has a brief summary of the aid getting to the Somalia area, and what is needed to continue the effort at the following link. You will have to use a translation program, like Google Translate:
According to other sites, the government of my country, the United States, has donated [ only ] $565 million. Think of what we as a nation could do if our [ expletives deleted ] politicians would act with at least a modicum of humanity and rationality.
$565 million? The paucity of this amount depresses me.
It’s people like Bill, you, and the other respondents that give me hope.
@hipockets – Thanks for your response. Puts things in perspective.
I have to go with john on this. because a few years ago my wife worked at a bank and during the time there was a city drive going, she show me a number of articiles about how the money was divided…private jets, mansions,
cruises , and much more, it went to the top execs under the idea that they had to wine and dine the major contributors. these articiles set off a firestrom .
on my job they would try to force me to sign a donation card for deductions, is actually force me, even after i explain that i wrote a check to the organzation i wanted my funds to go to. mainly i started doing this because i lost my home and all of my family belongings. any has i went to around to find help i was turned away, only to find that they helped certain people, which i saw with my own eyes. only one group helped my family, and gave us help. i get hurt during the fire and had to 8 hours of surgrey. when things happen to you personally you see a whole different side of the world. and you must remenber that someone ALWAYS has more trouble or problems then you do.
sorry about my spelling no checker i am tring Maxthon.
Thanks for this.