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The famine story you aren't likely to hear any time soon


I knew the real story about the famine in northern Kenya and Somalia would probably never be told when I watched a young foreign aid worker “reporting” the famine for CNN in Dadaab camp. The young white woman, clearly coached to use the opportunity of her CNN appearance to publicise her organisation, wore a T-shirt that had the word OXFAM emblazoned on it.

The look of self-righteous, politically-correct compassion was evident on her face as she talked of starving children and emaciated mothers walking for miles in search of food. Predictably, CNN viewers saw images of skeletal children and exhausted women with shrivelled breasts, images that have launched a multi-million dollar fund-raising campaign by the UN and donor agencies.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has asked donors to raise $1.6 billion to assist Somalia alone.Meanwhile, dozens of humanitarian agencies are clamouring to make an appearance in Dadaab in order to raise funds for their own organisations. Dutch journalist Linda Polman calls it “The Crisis Caravan”.

In her book by the same name, Polman says that an entire industry has grown around humanitarian aid, “with cavalcades of organisations following the flow of money and competing with each other in one humanitarian territory after another for the biggest achievable share of billions.”According to Polman, disasters like the one in Somalia attract an average 1,000 national and international aid organisations. This doesn’t include “briefcase” charities that collect funds through churches, clubs and bake-sales.

Much of the money raised goes to administrative and logistical costs of aid agencies, including the salaries of bright-eyed aid workers, such as the one described above, who drive big cars and live in nice houses, but tell people back home they live in hardship areas where they help starving Africans. Are people starving? Yes. Should they be helped? Of course.

But how much of the food that is supposed to be distributed will most likely be stolen by militia or find its way to shops where it will be sold?

Also obscured in the media hype is the real cause of famine in places such as Somalia.

(Read more)

This is a short read that very briefly touches on the problems with the IMF/World Bank and how they helped Somalia get to where it is today. I highly suggest staying on top of the ongoing crisis and learning just how things like this happen in order to better understand how developing areas are affected by institutions set up by the West.

(via reinventionoftheprintingpress-d)

The Tale Of Osama Bin Laden’s Youngest Wife

The Tale Of Osama Bin Laden's Youngest Wife Irin Carmon —She was not used as a human shield, but according to the most recent account, Osama bin Laden’s youngest wife rushed the Navy SEALs as they arrived to kill her husband.

According to ABC News,

The woman, identified by a passport found inside the al Qaeda leader’s compound as 29-year-old Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, was in the room when the SEALs took the final, fateful shots at 54-year-old Osama bin Laden and was herself shot in the leg when she rushed, unarmed, at the special operators. She was treated for her wounds and is in custody in Pakistan, officials said.

There is also a daughter ages about 12 or 13 who allegedly says she watched her father die. The U.S. has been trying to interview the wife about life in the compound, particularly who visited and when, but Pakistani officials say she can’t speak because she needs medical attention, which everyone pretty much recognizes is bullshit.

As for Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, her age has variously been reported as 24 or 29. The youngest in a long line of wives whose number is unclear, The New Yorker's Steve Coll described her as “a kind of mail-order teen-age bride from Yemen, whom he married while living in Afghanistan during the nineteen-nineties, according to the account of bin Laden’s former Yemeni bodyguard.” She has also been described as having been “gifted” to bin Laden in the interest of strengthening ties with Yemeni terrorists.

Writing in Slate, Noreen Malone recalls a book co-written by an older bin Laden wife and her son Omar:

While Omar Bin Laden is less kindly toward Osama, he admits that “I never heard him shout at his mother, his sisters, my mother, or my sisters. I never saw him strike a woman. He reserved all the harsh treatment for his sons.” But Osama didn’t totally treat them delicately; at one point, after he’d moved the family to Khartoum, Bin Laden had his daughters and wives join in survival training, and he even taught them how to use guns, convinced they might need the skill to protect themselves. His second wife divorced him during this period.

The youngest wife claimed in 2002 she knew nothing about the September 11 attacks beforehand and didn’t know where bin Laden was, but she later found her way to him — and took a bullet for him.


OK, gang, let me run through this one more time:


President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, quoted by Al Jazeera in a statement as opposing violence against civilians – on the same day that his Predator drones engaged in more slaughter of civilians in Pakistan – has sold a shit-ton of weapons to Saudi Arabia who, in turn, has joined the army of Bahrain in the massacre of unarmed civilian protesters in the streets of Bahrain. Is that pretty much it? Have I missed anything here?

(via resmc)

Ivory Coast crisis: Gbagbo forces attacked in Abidjan

Forces backing Alassane Ouattara have attacked those loyal to disputed President Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan.

Heavy gunfire was heard in two districts close to military bases late on Monday.

The BBC’s John James says it extends the conflict without reaching the all-out civil war feared by many.

Mr Gbagbo refuses to step down although Mr Outttara is widely recognised as the winner of last year’s election.

This is the first time there has been fighting in the pro-Gbagbo suburb of Yopougon and the pro-Ouattara area of Adjame since the stand-off began last December.

Our reporter says it remains unclear whether the pro-Ouattara forces gained any ground or just launched attacks from their strongholds in the northern suburb of Abobo.

The areas are said to be quiet on Tuesday.

A police source says pro-Gbagbo forces remain in control of the CRS military barracks in Adjame, reports the AFP news agency.

"We are busy carrying out a sweep of the area, but the fighting was very, very hard," the source said.

Our reporter says pro-Ouattara forces in Abidjan are gaining in confidence and extending their reach, but so far the main pro-Ouattara forces in the northern half of Ivory Coast have yet to move south from the territory they have controlled since a 2002 civil war.

They have, however, been gaining some ground in the west, near the Liberian border, which more than 75,000 people have crossed amid fears of widespread conflict.

More than 370,000 have also fled their homes in Abidjan, following recent clashes in pro-Ouattara districts.

A spokesman for Mr Ouattara has denied that the forces behind the Abidjan attacks were under his command, reports the Reuters news agency.

Late on Monday, state TV, which is controlled by Gbagbo loyalists, reported army generals had met Mr Gbagbo and “big decisions” would be announced in the coming hours.

The raids have been blamed on the mysterious “Invisible Commandos” militia, set up to protect Ouattara supporters in the city.

The election was supposed to reunite the country divided since the New Forces rebels seized the north in 2002.

The UN has some 9,000 peacekeepers in Ivory Coast monitoring the ceasefire and helped organise the election.

Both the UN and African Union have said that Mr Ouattara won the election.

But the Constitutional Court annulled votes cast in the rebel-held north and declared Mr Gbagbo the victor.

(Via BBC News)

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