Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First-World Guilt

My heart is heavy with "First-World-Guilt" today. Guilty that I not only had enough to eat for lunch, but threw out what was left over. Guilty that it is raining in Scarsdale, while those living in the Horn of Africa haven't seen a drought this bad in over 60 years. My privileged self-pity does not help anyone, and it certainly does not put any food in any of these malnourished children's mouths.

Children in Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu

The charitable thing to do is to give donations to humanitarian groups, right? The tragic thing about Somalia is that the country has been torn apart by a twenty-year civil war, Al Shabab militants (tied to Al-Qaeda and share the same anti-western principles) are fighting off Western aid and even murdering Somalis for trying to escape to neighboring countries, and armed gangs continue to rob and murder traveling refugees and gang-raping women. The depravity goes as far as the rapists coercing brothers to rape their sisters. Even though President Obama has approved a record $150 million for aid to the Horn of Africa, how far that aid will go considering the political circumstances in the region is uncertain. The famine in Somalia is a salient example of the power of food politics: control of food production/distribution is inextricable from issues of power and human oppression.
Save the Children and Unicef are still able to help areas like Kenya, Ethiopia, and other drought-stricken parts of the continent. Please give. 

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