The ongoing famine/hunger crisis in East Africa, due to drought, couldn’t have come at any convenient time, but during the Holy Month of Ramadan. While others are fasting, just to open their fast with a feast, there are people who are actually starving — or should I call it, forced fasting. The difference is that they are not sure when they will open their fast, or with what. Jesus himself fasted; but he fasted “willingly”, because he’s the same person who performed miracles on a basket of bread and fish. Unfortunately, Jesus is not here, and Superman is no more.
Now with the dust slowly settling down in the different corners of England, “The Hurricane Economy Crisis” is still flexing its muscles. The news on telly has become too depressing. Although Channel Third World has always been depressing, but now even Channel First World is, too. It’s because of that that I have officially thought of canceling cable TV subscription. What is its use, if I have to also buy enough boxes of Kleenex to last me a month, with no one-month free trial?
In Africa — unlike America and Europe — drought and hunger, diseases and civil wars, are the soundtrack to the lives of most people living in abjective poverty. If you think that’s a harsh statement, read Africa Unchained by George Ayittey. The new skyscrapers that decorate the modern-day African skies may be glassy and shinny, but they can’t hide the stench underneath. Even New York rats are not fazed by the glamorous look of New York City skyscrapers. They stroll the streets like everybody else, because the rumor has it there is an apple laying around somewhere in that jungle of concrete.
But if those rats were vultures, and were in Africa right now, they would be feasting on carcasses of dead livestock. I can’t imagine that many cows dying in America. It’s hard to imagine driving through McDonalds drive-thru, just to be told, ‘no beef hamburgers, because there is a shortage of cows due to drought’. We may laugh, but fast food drives the bellies of most Americans. In Africa, we have become very creative with our foods, because hunger is like a song on repeat. Even though there will be a shortage of beef hamburgers in the next few months in East Africa, the people will survive suffering, or they’ll suffer just to die and life will go on.
For the Africans who have enough to eat, this is a difficult time seeing our comrades scrapping the earth for just anything, in their efforts to try to cheat death. For the West, this crisis probably provides another guilt speech for the mothers who are struggling to make their children finish their food/veggies. As they say, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. Okay, that was a bit harsh, I guess.
Nonetheless, most of us remain to wish that the bombs that Israel has been dropping on Palestine were sacks of maze flour being dropped in Somalia and Kenya. The call of Obama to the rest of the world to sanction Bashar al-Assad of Syria was a calling to the rest of the world to help those suffering in East Africa. Sadly, this is all just wishful thinking. But what’s the fun in life if there’s no even little gossip to go around, right? One juicy gossip a day, keeps depressing thoughts at bay.
There is a small group of gossiping social scientists that believe the West is doing little to help because this drought and hunger is helping their war on terror. I nearly choked on my Pepsi when this was whispered onto my ears! How could this be possible, I asked myself, as my ears grew bigger like Pinocchio’s nose.
Remember those youths, who do more than just vandalize their neighborhoods and loot shops, remember them? If they appear in your dreams then your end is near. The Al-Shabaab. But what do they have in common with their fellow youths in the UK who recently rioted. They all probably grew up unpunished, and that’s why their buttocks maybe soft and their sense of respect sagging like their pants. Nevertheless, looters are looters, and killers are killers, and that’s where the line is drawn between these two groups of youths. Those looters maybe in gangs, but these killers are part of a terrorist group. And this is where the hypothesis of these gossiping social scientists begins to get interesting.
The drought and hunger crisis is claiming lives of innocent people each day, [fact]. But what the West is hopeful of is for this hunger crisis to also affect the Al-Shabaad fighters. Whether by depleting their numbers or by forcing them to relocate due to drought; which could mean coming out from their hidings, in search of green pastures — translation: food aid. If their calculations are correct, then the West may let this crisis prolong for just a tiny bit, until Mouse Jerry is out of tricks. But all this is gossip, and I hope it remains to be just that, GOSSIP.
Personally I have stopped fasting, because I feel guilty to sit here and pretend, when I know later I will be feasting, when others are actually dying of starvation. I wish every beef burger that I resist to feast on, is sent to a starving child, so one day I can say, I helped. These are called small victories that continue to sidetrack us from dealing with the real issues. Remember that book called Dead Aid. For example, if it’s true that this crisis is partly man-made, then what should be done to prevent it from happening again? What have we done wrong, so we can rectify our errors? We can’t keep blaming God, like some people whenever there is power rationing. At least I don’t think my ancestors are responsible for this crisis.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t want us to leave each other on sad note — let alone on sour note, like last time — that’s why I will remind you that Eid is around the corner and Christmas is also almost here. The song “Do They Know Is X-mas Time” should be skipped, but if you must listen to it, keep it away from Dr Dre’s Monster Beats Head Phones — unless you want to hear every lyric nicely and clearly, just to end up crying all night. But I’m optimistic, and so should you, because Africa has been through so much, thus it will get through this, and on to the next crisis. How you do it Africa, only the ancestors know it, because there was a lot of rather funny stories when the recession officially hit the United States. People jumped off the buildings because of having to sell one of their SUV’s, and trade the other one for a smaller car. Did I mention no jobs, and the concept of chillin kijiweni is unheard of. Now for you, try to jump off your hut, who knows how far down you may have to travel!
To conclude, conclude, God bless those who are suffering, and those of us who are suffering from watching their sufferings live from the comfort of our living rooms, before we switch to American Idol.
PS: If you’re going to help, don’t send ‘macaroni n cheese’. Because there won’t be firewood for cooking, since there is DROUGHT over there. And my personal explanation of drought is almost every vegetation have dried out.