Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You're asking why?

"Here in the bone-dry desert, where desiccated donkey carcasses line the road, huge green fields suddenly materialize. Beans. Wheat. Sorghum. Melons. Peanuts. Pumpkins. Eggplant. It is all grown here, part of an ambitious government plan for Sudanese self-sufficiency, creating giant mechanized farms that rise out of the sand like mirages.

But how much of this bonanza is getting back to the hungry Sudanese, like the 2.5 million driven into camps in Darfur? And why is a country that exports so many of its own crops receiving more free food than anywhere else in the world, especially when the Sudanese government is blamed for creating the crisis in the first place?" (Thanks Leila and Yaz)

Why? Do you really want to know why? Try capitalism, wealth accumulation, worship of money, free trade: all values aggressively promoted by liberal economists, who find a very good platform in the NYT (remember the world is flat?). Only when it comes to Darfur do they wake up. Darfur is a humanitarian disaster and the Sudanese government bears a great part of the responsibility. But there are many other such disasters too (look at Somalia and the role of the Ethiopian forces). In Ethiopia itself (a US ally), a famine is unfolding. In Egypt, export-oriented, capital intensive organic farming destined for European markets occupies thousands of hectares while the poor battle and die for the daily bread. Read this sentence from the same NYT article:

"It was emblematic, he said, of the Sudanese government’s strategy to manipulate “national wealth and power to further enrich itself and its cronies, while the marginalized regions of the country suffer from terrible poverty.”"

I mean really, doesn't this also apply to Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Ethiopia, and many, many others? This is what needs to be addressed, in Sudan as well as elsewhere.

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