Perspective: Reality check @

Perspective: Reality check @

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (which owns the News Limited operated and the Times of London, which showed poor editorial judgement this week) has made a $US4.98 BILLION operating profit, an increase of 12% on last year, as the American economy wilts, Europe flails, London falls into anarchy and Somalia suffers. 

Global injustice and wealth disparity has perhaps never been more keenly felt; in fact, it makes you feel a bit sick. Why does God let bad things happen? He doesn't – people do.

"I am haunted by the people I have seen die in Somalia, and by news pictures of the latest famine, but aid agencies are presenting this crisis misleadingly – as if it were an act of God in the Old Testament," writes Aidan Hartley in The Spectator Australia. "The reality is that war caused this famine, not a drought, and the heart of it is in the battlefields of southern Somalia."

Somalia is mired in an fight for power in which innocents get caught up in the crossfire, further enhanced by devastating drought and international negligence.  

"For decades, generals, warlords and warrior types have reduced this once languid coastal country in Eastern Africa to rubble," reports The New York Times. "Somalia remains a raging battle zone today, with jihadists intent on bringing down a transitional government which relies on African Union peacekeepers and Western funding for survival."

Aid agencies backed away from Somalia, frightened of by Islamic militant extremists chiefly led by Al Shabab in the south. The Shabab blocked starving people from fleeing the country to camps in neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya (where women are further subjected to sexual assault – as if their dignity had not already been diminished with malnutrition), and while allowing some aid to enter Mogadishu, still maintains a tight grip on proceedings. 

"The Shabab have succeeded in internationalizing Somalia's conflict and using their jihadist dreams to draw in foreign fighters from around the globe, including the United States," reports The Times. "The Shabab, whose name means youth in Arabic, are a mostly under-40 militia who espouse the strict Wahhabi version of Islam and are guided, according to American diplomats, by another, better-known Wahhabi group: Al Qaeda." 

There are 3.7 million people in need of desperate humanitarian assistance in Somalia. According to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon, to prevent this situation transforming into a nation-wide famine, about $1 billion will be required in emergency aid over the next two months, but agencies continue to be hampered in their efforts by outbreaks of fighting between Somali government forces and Shabab rebels.

The outlook is bleak, with Hartley adding in his editorial that much humanitarian aid is cannibalised by opportunistic entrepreneurs who intercept the funds, while we sit here with our Western comfort foods feeling grossly impotent.

You can go to to make a donation, but it would also be nice to see Mr Murdoch step up to the mark for a great humanitarian cause. 'Tis the season for corporate profit announcements but more stories about corporate giving than earning would be a welcome change of events.

See also: 

Girl With a Satchel


Meggie said...

Wow, thats awful!


Jess said...

You're right. It's grossly unfair and the images coming out of Africa are really disturbing. But check these links to some real activists working on the ground. They give me a lot of hope and i particularly like that I can talk to them on my terms like I would a girlfriend and not subsidise Newscorp to hear their stories

Thanks again.

Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Thanks for this post, Erica.
We can donate to Compassion Australia's East Africa Food Appeal at :-)

Nicola said...

Those images from Africa break my heart! The state of the world is pretty terrible right now.

Wonder what big corporations donate to charity, would be good if more put a decent percentage of profits to those in need.