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Food for thought

Old 8th Mar 2014, 12:19
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Food for thought

Africa - An Irish perspective…

This just sent to me and takes some digesting.
Is it all true or am I missing some real and substantial flaw in the logic of it all.
The moral and ethereal issues are clear but can they offer solutions to the realities of the situation?
I shrink from acceptance of the arguments but purely on moral grounds.
I am searching for a solution which will satisfy my conscience and successfully combat the facts as presented. Is there one?

This report by K. Myers appeared in The Irish Independent:

Somalia is not a humanitarian disaster; it is an evolutionary disaster. The current drought is not the worst in 50 years, as the BBC, and all the aid organisations claim. It is nothing compared to the droughts in 1960/61 or 73/74. And there are continuing droughts every 5 years or so. It's just that there are now four times the population; having been kept alive by famine relief, supplied by aid organisations, over the past 50 years. So, of course, the effects of any drought now, is a famine. They cannot even feed themselves in a normal rainfall year.
Worst yet, the effects of these droughts, and poor nutrition in the first 3 years of the a child's life, have a lasting effect on the development of the infant brain, so that if they survive, they will never achieve a normal IQ.
Consequently, they are selectively breeding a population, who cannot be educated, let alone one that is not being educated; a recipe for disaster.
We are seeing this impact now, and it can only exacerbate, to the detriment of their neighbours, and their environment as well. This scenario can only end in an even worse disaster; with even worse suffering, for those benighted people, and their descendants.
Eventually, some mechanism will intervene, be it war, disease or starvation.
So what do we do? Let them starve?
What a dilemma for our Judeo/ Christian/Islamic Ethos; as well as Hindu/Buddhist morality.
And this is beginning to happen in Kenya, Ethiopia, and other countries in Asia, like Pakistan. Is this the beginning of the end of civilisation?
AFRICA is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa -- apart from AIDS and new disease.
Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the Begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us out of Africa, yet again.
It is nearly 25 years since the famous Feed The World campaign began in Ethiopia, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78+ million today.
So, why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none. To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count.
One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of children starving.
Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there.
The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a low IQ, AK 47-bearing moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him, and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor en left behind.
There is no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social, and sexual system; but I do not know what it is. There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a column like this.
It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, hand wringing, letter writing wrathful individuals, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority. It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O'Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers, men whom I admire enormously. So be it.
But, please, please, you self-righteously wrathful, spare me mention of our own Irish Famine, with this or that lazy analogy. There is no comparison.
Within 20 years of the Famine, the Irish population was down by 30%. Over the equivalent period, thanks to western food, the Mercedes 10-wheel truck and the Lockheed Hercules planes, Ethiopia's population has more than doubled.
Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, AK 47-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts, and housing pirates of the ocean.
Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive, illiterate indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world or allowances by the semi communist Governments they voted for, money supplied by lending it from the World Bank!
This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or common sense.
Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the president of South Africa being a firm believer in the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against AIDS infection.
Needless to say, poverty, hunger, and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etcetera.
Broad brush-strokes, to be sure. But broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters. Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured worse broad brush-strokes than almost any part of Africa.
They are now -- one way or another -- virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.
Meanwhile, Africa's peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million; the equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly Protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.
So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?
How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence, and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity! But that is not good enough.
For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed.
It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates' programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating.
If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts.
Oh good: then what? I know, let them all come here (to Ireland) or America. (not forgetting Australia!). Yes, that's an idea.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 14:27
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Someone had to say it.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 15:42
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I note that this article is quite old, first appeared in 2008. The writer is known for his right wing antagonistic style. At the time the article attracted a fair degree of criticism, most certainly the deliberate intention; the Irish Press Council concluding that it breached Principle 8 of their Code of Practice. Anyway from what I see Myers' article does not pose any new questions - the "dilemma" is as old as the problem itself. What struck me however was what I saw as the clear insincerity of his position when he writes

"It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, hand wringing, letter writing wrathful individuals, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority.
He is declaring any counter view void by default. His true motives are clear and written from the comfortable existence of a life, gifted by accident of birth, in the safe and affluent confines of western Europe. I guess I must be one of his "self-righteous, hand wringing, letter writing wrathful individuals...sneers and its moral superiority". Hey ho.
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Old 8th Mar 2014, 16:03
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Someone had to say it.
...and PANDAMATENGA has said it rather well -- with a balanced, appropriate mix of passion, cynicism, and despair.

In the problem often lies the solution.


Western do-good nations and states attempt, at random intervals, to hold back the Malthusian consequences of supporting basic aid and health for desperate and put-upon peoples of undeveloped nations with compassionate and sometimes opportunistic missionary-style generosities. Lack of a bottomless well means that these kindly efforts merely create healthier desperate persons living daily at, or near, the brink of disaster from uncontrollable shifts in the numerous exogenous environmental variables that ruthlessly down-manage Darwinian populations.

Affluent "Western" folks really do not get this concept. Helping them toward greater clarity on it without some intermediate creativity likely would lead to reduced aid and a self-fulfilling prophecy of a very dark sort. That would not do.

One offers an alternate solution: The aggregate of peoples and places that now is China was, in living memory, a similar sort of Malthusian mess, with some obvious differences, also -long history of sophisticated shared culture is a big advantage that East Asia had and Africa does not. Very deliberate science and planning in Mao's tightly manged Community led to a diversity of tightly-managed and seriously supported programs to prevent a Malthusian bolix internally. Since the Chinese now have the experience, and crave to own real estate and mineral rights all about Africa, why not encourage the rest of the world to give the Chinese a unique opportunity to colonize and improve what portions of Africa their unique experience almost certainly can make right?

This kind of colonization mit aid cannot go on forever, nor progresses successfully to perfection, because other "powers" will become ever more wary of Chinese intrusion in the continent and likely will respond with competitive offerings of similar nature and direction. That may well evolve into a much broader international competition to gift Africa with infrastructure, education, and supplies that will eventually get it to self-sustaining critical mass.

Some say the Art of Farming largely is placing the right seeds in the right places at the right time. A calculable reality is that many of the failing or sadly wobbling economies of the North Hemisphere can save their own economies and societies from gradual economic stagnation and collapse by making the world a great bit rounder through "opportunity aid" for Africa and and similar pools of economic desperation due to underdevelopment, a program that coincidentally creates structural demand, employment, and prosperity for the norty folks, in a program of making value through casting money into the air that likely will work as well or better toward this goal than does the business of war.

Last edited by arcniz; 8th Mar 2014 at 16:42. Reason: typo-spello
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Old 9th Mar 2014, 13:33
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Very deliberate science and planning in Mao's tightly manged Community led to a diversity of tightly-managed and seriously supported programs to prevent a Malthusian bolix internally.
I presume you mean the ruthlessly-enforced "one couple, one child" policy.

He is declaring any counter view void by default.
Not the way I experience it. Very often these turd-polishers do not offer a reasonably-argued counter-view, their counter is that anyone thinking of making the plight of disadvantaged people any worse is automatically wrong. They do not understand the concept of "cruel to be kind" or "tough love".
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Old 9th Mar 2014, 14:11
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UniFoxOs says:
I presume you mean the ruthlessly-enforced "one couple, one child" policy.
Yes, and the future planning and bureaucracy and other baggage created to implement it... now softening some as the pendulum swings t'other way.
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Old 9th Mar 2014, 15:04
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Animal populations breed according to the food supply, and die off likewise.

Modern agriculture and politics allows excess food to be both produced and distributed above what nature allows, thus allowing an increase in human population. Both are required for success. At the simplest level, corruption is the most common cause of an inefficient food production and distribution system.

At some point, unless birth control is implemented (voluntarily or otherwise), starvation will occur.

The most effective form of birth control is educating and empowering women.

To address Somalia as an example:
It cannot, as has been pointed out, feed its current population, even with perfect agriculture and internal politics (neither of which exist)

Do other nations have a duty to feed Somalia, since it cannot feed itself?

Legally, No. I will argue logically No also.

If we keep supplying food, what happens? Well, what's already been happening. Imperfect politics leads to corruption, starvation, wars. This creates refugees.

If the developed world takes in all the refugees, the situation in Somalia et al doesn't change and will just keep generating more. Furthermore, the refugees in the developed world still keep reproducing at an excessive rate. Logically, eventually, the developed world ends up in the same situation as Somalia.

So, it is illogical to fix the food shortage without fixing the politics, and the birthrate problem.

Many do-gooders hope that the food supply requirement is a short-term measure until the politics in starvation countries sorts itself out - any evidence for that?

Many radical politicians feel they can sort the politics out in these countries, for example by 'Regime Change' - any evidence for that either?

Corruption exists because people, especially groups of people, are above the Law. This can arise for many reasons; tribalism is one, but inhabitants of many Western countries will look at recent politicians' expenses and banking scandals and decide their country has a class of people above the Law also.

Suppression of female education and empowerment is endemic in many countries. Much of it is due to misogynistic religions (that's misogynistic in practice, whatever their 'good book' says).

I offer no solutions, partly because my personal beliefs on this matter would get this post immediately culled, but also because I'm not arrogant enough to be anything like sure I'm right. I will say that I think a secular Government where everyone's opinion is listened to is the correct forum for determining a solution.

Until that time, why should I pay to feed anybody else's children, especially when they think it's OK to have 8 of them on the expectation I will pay for them since they cannot support them?

I did not contribute to the first Live Aid, nor will I contribute to any other so-called 'natural' disaster which is a consequence of idiotic human behaviour. This would apply to anyone who has bought a new house on a floodplain in the UK as much as a Somali child.
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Old 9th Mar 2014, 15:41
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One guess I heard in discussion of this issue was that of the of likelihood of an impending natural pandemic, sooner rather than later, that would dwarf the AIDS event. This was from a prominent S.A. ecologist and naturalist.
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Old 9th Mar 2014, 15:58
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Very good, PANDAMATENGA, and very true.

I shake my head at the many adverts on TV urging us to contribute "aid" to save the children etc. One of these actually says something like "no child should be born to die".

Oh, really ? Contradicts what I was told my fate would be, one day, 'cos I was truly "born to die" and so were you, reading these words.

Question is how soon ? And as long as "aid" isn't coupled to something like "compulsory birth control" it will be sooner rather than later.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 07:59
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Off the main line of thought, but slightly related, if African countries were to adopt the Chinese "one couple, one child" policy, how would the resulting increase in male to female ratio affect the future? I can't imagine that there wouldn't be some unintended consequence, but I can't think what it would be.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 08:29
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Interesting interview on Radio Australia with the Assistant Director of the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation - they have a big Intergovernmental meeting coming up in Outer Mongolia shortly.
He reckons it is realistic to believe that the number of hungry people on the planet (1 billion) can be halved in 2 years, and hunger completely eradicated by 2025. He asserted that, using existing land and resources, world food production can be increased by 91%. As for population control "It is not on the agenda".

Another feature on the BBC World Service shortly afterwards discussed mental illness treatment in Somalia, where it is common to put the afflicted in cages with wild animals, in the belief that the animals will 'extract' the madness. Simply chaining them up is the alternative treatment.

Words fail......
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 11:30
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As I grew up, I started to question the continuing round of Crises and appeals to help the "third World"
This was at odds with my knowledge of Great Britain's history, the growth from Medieval peasants to an industrialised, modern social order and infrastructure.

Here we were, shortening the learning-curve for these primitives, by offering themthe advantage of all we'd learned in the last couple of hundred years....
Do they pass on this new-found knowledge of farming, irrigation, cropping, housing, sanitation etc. to their offspring.........NO!

What they HAVElearned, is carry on regardless, 'cos the hand-wringing, concience-stricken Whiteys will be coerced by the Western Aid-Industry,in supporting them in their feckless feudal lifestyle.

"Charity" is big business....if they really had the will and the resolution to make the African Continent self-sufficient, this could have been done at least a couple of generations ago.

Those that want better, either become the despotic 2management" of their country, or they leave.
Without this perpetual cycle of need, deprivation and natural disaster, all the big "Charity" businesses would collapse.

I haven't contributed to this con since my late teens. It's a waste of resources.........Bromide in their water supplies and a few thousand Preachers th reinforce thr message "God helps them who help themselves" ('cos they believe in the imaginary friend that sends Whitey's aid!) might have more effect, but what would the Aid businesses do then?
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 12:36
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The commercials for children's/peoples aid are really starting to irritate me. Yes, it is very sad to see these wide-eyed children living in poverty and going to sleep without food. However they are always fronted by well spoken actors and celebrities and my thoughts always go immediately to the question, " Just how much money goes to the aid and how much into the managements big pockets. How do their houses look? What kind of cars do they drive?" I know - far too much.

All this aid does not come close to addressing the core of the problems and therefore will never change the situation..
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 12:53
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Seems pretty much a consensus from all contributors so far.

Only thing I can add is : Hear! Hear!
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 13:26
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When the big Tsunami hit in 2004, myself, my wife and her then best friend started raising money to help all those poor folks. With every sort of "event" possible we collected €7777 and sent it off via two charities we could trust, one international photographers/journalists, the other an international doctors group. Both of these charities actually sent someone travelling at their own cost to take the cash where it was needed and they later went back to monitor how it was spent.

Mixed results: we devoted our cash to two projects. The school in Sri Lanka that had been devastated was converted to a hospital in the short term, and when that was no longer needed back to a school. And we got films of the kids there and we were very happy with what we had done. However the clothing and tents and other things we paid for to be taken to Indonesia we later found were dumped on the beach by landing craft, no arrangements to tell the people who needed the stuff it was there, no distribution systems set up, and we felt very let down by the government and local government.

And bear in mind, in both cases the actions were monitored by westerners, so might have been considered more of a success than if the cash had just been given to governments.

It was very educational - for us. Would we help again ? Doubt it.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 14:45
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The sooner that we in the first world start treating Africa with an eye on the future, instead of one eye looking back to the past and carrying the guilt of what our forefathers did or didn't do, the better the outcome. I believe in helping our fellow man, but as the saying goes "charity begins at home" and to continue sending loads of cash to help those befallen by misfortune on the other side of the world is a mug's game. The whole charity Industry is for the most part of benefit to those running it, it's THEIR meal ticket. The only way I'd donate to charity these days would be with my time/labour or through a trusted organisation as OFSO mentioned.

I'm revolted with all the 'poverty porn' on nearly every commercial break on TV, the baleful music, the manipulative images, giving children and animals western names and describing how much they are suffering and how they will die after suffering terribly UNLESS you act…..NOW!!! They forget to mention that perhaps 90% of the donations will get eaten up in administrative costs, they neglect to mention how much the none too cheap TV advert campaign costs.

The super rich are getting exponentially richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle classes are slowly being eviscerated. Perhaps the appetite for sending charity contributions for overseas aid will die off itself due to lack of funds ?



SHJ
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:46
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SpringHeeledJack writes:
Perhaps the appetite for sending charity contributions for overseas aid will die off itself due to lack of funds ?


Our Glorious Political Leaders will ensure they send ever increasing sums of taxpayers money as that guarantees they will gain Brownie Points for their humanity.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 20:57
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Promoting spread of economic strength, responsive government, social equity and content populations is charity in some senses, but also common sense overall.

The scripts for future revolutions, wars, massacres, etc. will be written by bad consequences and good ones ensuing from efforts to spread at least the most basic standards for equity and economic health to all corners of the world. Africa and similar not long ago were quite far away from the comfortable lives of folk in civilized places, but soon they will be on everyone's doorstep, all the time.

Epidemics, wars, revolutions and worse come as exports from the misery that distant peoples can now transfer to near everywhere, at bargain rates, should they be careless or desperate enough. The idea of a 1-Euro ICBM might sound funny, but the effects on Western Civilization of those and various analogues may not be so amusing if we empower all the devils waiting in the shadows by turning blind indifference on desperate folk not from around here.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 21:33
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Well said Mr Basil
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 21:42
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...the effects on Western Civilization of those and various analogues may not be so amusing if we empower all the devils waiting in the shadows by turning blind indifference on desperate folk not from around here.

Funding a program of uncontrolled reproduction will do nothing to fix the problem either.

The answer lies in education, something that the leaders of these countries will never allow as it encourages awkward questions from a heretofore easily manipulated populace.
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