Countries like Yemen, Chad and South Sudan have been devastated by famine and starvation in recent years, with millions of people suffering despite a global surplus of food. But the problem is not a lack of resources - they are starving due to the effects of unending Western imperialism.
by Eric Draitser
I’ve never known hunger, not in a real sense. And chances are, very few of you reading this have either. Is it because our families and communities are more loving than those throughout much of the non-Western world? Is it because we’ve simply been lucky enough to be born into an age when hunger is no longer an issue?
Or is it because most of us had the good fortune to be born in the U.S.-led empire, rather than on the receiving end of its brutality?
Indeed, it seems that in today’s world, hunger is a manifestation of economic and political imperatives more than the mere result of a bad harvest or overtaxed resources, as it was historically. Instead, it is the twin sentinels of injustice – poverty and violent oppression – which today are prerequisites for hunger and famine, along with the insuperable torment of climate change, with its attendant ecological impacts.
By examining three contemporary examples of food insecurity and famine – Yemen, the Lake Chad basin of West Africa, and South Sudan – it becomes clear that famine is today inextricably linked with geopolitics and imperialism. For in each case, it is the U.S.-led empire which is ultimately responsible for the disturbing images of skeleton-like children, nursing mothers unable to produce milk for their babies and elderly bodies wasting away to nothing.
And, it must be said, that placing the blame where it belongs (America’s empire) is not an exercise in sophistry, but rather is an attempt to go beyond the mainstream narrative which tells of poor, wretched Africans and Arabs desperate for your donations to the world’s largest charities, foundations and non-profit organizations. No mention is made of why the famine really began, what material forces are at work in undermining food security and who benefits from the starvation of millions.
And it makes sense that these issues are almost never discussed, for to do so would expose the fact that the dead felled by hunger and related illnesses are not the victims of naturally occurring forces, but are actually victims of imperialism – no different from the teenager who is murdered by a drone strike, or the child soldier who is forcefully conscripted by a U.S.-backed warlord.
But to get to the root of the issue, one must examine the political, economic and environmental forces that come together to create hunger and famine. And one simply cannot do so without addressing the imperial agenda for continued global hegemony.