Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The 'never again' bullshit

We humans are a bizarre bunch.  We are aware of acute food shortages and malnutrition, yet we keep going with our own lives.  We live the "let them eat cakes" lives of affluence.

We are even willing to bomb the shit out of people trapped between prick-waving maniacs, which then leads to more than mere food shortages.  We use the "f" word: Famine, which the United Nations defines as:
A famine can be declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition and hunger are met. They are: at least 20 per cent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.
How depressingly clinical, right?

Yemen has reached that famine stage:
More than two years of civil war in the country has triggered a humanitarian crisis, with almost seven million people on the brink of famine.
A resurgence of a cholera outbreak has also resulted in 60,000 suspected cases since April and 500 associated deaths.
Let them eat cakes!
the suffering of Yemenis was not a coincidence, or the "result of forces beyond our control" - but rather the fault of those involved and inaction by world powers.
Let them eat cakes!

As Amartya Sen noted, famines are often the result of human (mis)management.  In the case of Yemen, too:
“If there was no conflict in Yemen, there would be no descent into famine, misery, disease and death — a famine would certainly be avoidable and averted,” Mr. O’Brien told the United Nations Security Council.
He depicted the crisis as man-made, implicitly placing part of the blame on the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition that has been bombing Yemen’s Houthi rebels and their allies for over two years.
He also blamed the Houthis.
“The people of Yemen are being subjected to deprivation, disease and death as the world watches,” he said.
Mr. O’Brien also implored the Saudis to avoid an attack on Hodeidah, the only port in Yemen that can still handle shiploads of food and medicine. Virtually all of the basic needs in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, must be imported.
It is not as if we were caught unaware.  This is not like a 9.0 earthquake that suddenly happens.  We have systematically created this famine, and are making sure the misery will get worse:
Donald Trump ran for president as the world’s greatest dealmaker. His first international destination as president, Saudi Arabia, is where he reportedly registered eight companies during his campaign. Yet by announcing one of the largest arms-sales deals in U.S. history during this visit, Trump is revealing to the world a dark side to his boasts of creating jobs: He may be helping to create a famine as well.
Let them eat cakes!
If our dealmaker in chief ever had leverage in a negotiation, it would be this one. With a hundred billion dollars’ worth of U.S. planes, ships and precision-guided munitions on the line, Trump could simply demand that the Saudis end the blockade, refrain from bombing Yemen’s major port and enter into a U.N.-brokered political settlement in exchange for the U.S.-made weapons. But he doesn’t have to listen to a progressive Democrat like me — these are precisely the policies that Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) has been calling for. Even Trump’s own appointee to the World Food Program, former South Carolina governor David Beasley (R), argued that in light of the president’s visit, “it’s very, very timely that the United States apply all the pressure it can with regard to all parties involved, including Saudi Arabia.”
Let them eat cakes, while we sell more arms to kill them all!

Caption at the source:
A woman with cholera was treated at a hospital in Sana, Yemen, on Sunday.


Ramesh said...

A petty thug called Saleh can bring this on an entire population. A bunch of Houthis interested in nothing but loot can bring this on a population. A Saudi Prince who is playing power games in the royal family can bring this on an entire population.

Truly, we are a cursed lot, allowing nutcases to become so destructive to all of us.

Sriram Khé said...

This is all getting to be too depressing ...

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