Famine and War Warning on Potential Outcome of War in Ukraine – Global Issues

  • Idea by Jan Lundius (X-tock-khem)
  • Joint press service

A few years ago, a good friend of mine, Hussein Rahman, told me it was incorrect to blame mass famines on poor crops. Hussein was quite knowledgeable. He was awarded his Ph. from the University of Dijon after researching a high yielding rice variety. Then he worked for 15 years for World food program (WFP) and later published in Lesotho, Angola, Comoro Islands, Ethiopia and Yemen. During his final years with the UN, Hussein was involved in the ongoing wars in Somalia and Iraq, working for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Hussein believed that hunger was a political issue. There are no examples of mass famines affecting democratic societies.

While studying at Dijon University, Hussein was inspired by Amartya Sen’s book Poverty and Famine, in which Sen analyzed what he as a nine-year-old boy in 1943 saw in Bengal – how people battling acute starvation died in the streets. More than three million people died from this terrible famine.

Amartya Sen demonstrates that despite crop failures, there was adequate food supplies in Bengal in 1943, despite extensive rice exports, panic buying, hoarding, military stockpiling of food. and the economic boom caused food prices to soar and it was mainly rural landless workers and urban proletariat, whose wages did not keep pace, who could not earn enough wages real. Bengali food production is admittedly lower than in the previous year, although more abundant than in previous years, when there was no famine.

Subsequent studies of the Bengal famine proved Sen correct in his conclusion that the famine was man-made and thus could be prevented, or at least mitigated. Archival studies have demonstrated that Winston Churchill’s war cabinet in distant London was repeatedly warned that a famine was breaking out in India. At an early stage, the British Government was well aware of the fact that exporting too much rice could lead to deadly famine, but it chose to continue exporting an undisputed amount of rice from its Indian colonies. His degree to other regions of the Empire. .

London became deaf when the Indians demanded one million tons of promised wheat in exchange for rice exports. The lords leaned over their maps and had cigars in their mouths. Churchill observed that the real reason for the famine was the Indians breeding rabbits and jokingly wondered if the shortage of rice was too much. great – how is Gandhi still alive? War was central to these people’s concerns and to prevent the Japanese enemy, who was approaching Bengal from Burma, from obtaining the necessary food supplies, large quantities of rice were taken out of the country. border areas, while thousands of boats were confiscated. .

Thinking about how Churchill and his associates were relying on their maps to predict and plan for the War to come, Requiem, a poem by Anna Akhmatova, comes to mind. Akhmatova, was born in Odessa in Ukraine and survived World War II following the German siege and starvation of Leningrad, her two husbands were executed by the Soviet regime and her only son. She lived for more than ten years in Stalin’s Gulag camps. In her poem, Akhmatova writes about the great suffering behind numbers, abstract data, figures and statistics. One of the Requiem’s stanza reads:

I want to call you all by name,
but the list has been deleted
and nowhere else to look.
I have woven you a shroud,
from the poor words I overheard.
I will miss you, everywhere.
I will never forget you,
not even in the midst of new sorrows.

Those who rule the cold attention displayed on maps and statistics, or in gatherings around computers, rarely acknowledge the immense human suffering caused by their fateful decisions. cause.

According to Amartya Sen, it is the inability of those in power, or even worse – their reluctance to act in the public interest by guaranteeing the freedom of food producers, which causes mass famine. Amartya Sen writes about the urgent need for a “new human psyche”, by taking into account how

    “…Politics and psychology influence each other. People can indeed be expected to resist political barbarism if they instinctively react against atrocities. We must be able to react spontaneously and resist inhumanity whenever it occurs. If this is to happen, personal and social opportunities for the development and exercise of the moral imagination must be expanded. ”

Fatal starvation is one of the worst afflictions to affect any human being. Paralyzing hunger does not lead to rebellion. Those thwarted by a whole-body hunger are forced into an all-out, instinctive, animalistic act in search of survival. During the famine, people experienced months of indescribable suffering, weakened by a ravenous hunger that could lead to dementia, paralysis, and eventually death. Due to food shortages, the entire social system breaks down due to lack of morality, “polite”, and compassion. Crime, violence, and insensitivity pervade the body of society, replaced by a ruthless struggle against all. A desperate battle for your own survival.

Inside the Gulag and murder field During the Stalin era, as well as in the Nazi death camps and German-occupied territories, famine reigned, coupled with cold, persecution, and general vulnerability. Even if not all hunger victims experience the torments of starvation and abuse, as if they had become animals, they all suffered from despair that, in addition to the physical pain, caused them to suffer. shame and despair. It is not without reason that cynical rulers may see hunger as an effective means of crushing their enemies, bringing reluctant subordinates to their knees by suppressing and paralyzing them with hunger. and despair. Hunger is a weapon for the powerful and a shame for the poor.

In 1928, the Stalin regime first introduced 5-year planaimed at forcing farmers to become mobilized workers for large industrial production, or to participate in a “more efficient, modern agriculture” in the form of kolkhozy (if they are a collective run by a cooperative) or sovkhozy (if they were run by the state), while those labeled as “reactionaries, vandals and spies” were purged, exterminated, and/or “made harmless.” The same thing happened in China twenty years later.

Estimated number of deaths in Ukraine in Holodomor (1932-1933) was 3.3 million people, and 67,297 people died of starvation in labor camps and 241,355 people in settlements where those who did not want to join the collective were deported along with their families. surname. Thousands of people died on trips to destinations in Siberia, or distant Kazakhstan.

As we hear about the famine and war that continue to plague a large part of the world’s population, let us not forget that they renhuo, Employees. Behind the statistics are the suffering individuals – men, women and children – while the guilty, the leaders watch the calculator and calculate profit and loss while substituting the figures. , it is quite easy to identify and take responsibility for their evil deeds.

The source: Applebaum, Anne (2017) The Red Famine: Stalin’s War in Ukraine. London: The Penguin Book. Dikötter, Frank (2011) Mao’s Great Famine. London: Bloomsbury.

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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