Saturday 25 February 2017

Writing what I should have written so many years ago

Kevin Myers

An Ethiopian child sits in his mother's lap at the Wad Sherife refugee camp in Sudan, near the
Ethiopian border, in this image from March 13 1985. Much of what occurred in Ethiopia at this time was never reported in the Western media
An Ethiopian child sits in his mother's lap at the Wad Sherife refugee camp in Sudan, near the Ethiopian border, in this image from March 13 1985. Much of what occurred in Ethiopia at this time was never reported in the Western media

Last Thursday week, with famine approaching yet again, I wondered about the wisdom of forking out yet more aid to Ethiopia. Since the great famine of the mid-1980s, Ethiopia's population has soared from 33.5 million to 78 million.

Now, I do not write civil service reports for the United Nations: I write a newspaper column, and I was deliberately strong in my use of language -- as indeed I had been when writing reports from Ethiopia at the height of that terrible Famine.

I was sure that my column would arouse some hostility: my concerns were intensified when I saw the headline: "Africa has given the world nothing but AIDS." Which was not quite what I said -- the missing "almost" goes a long way; and anyway, my article was about aid, not AIDS.

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