The World Food Program, or WFP, is one of the largest
of the United Nations �aid� programs.
In the Horn of Africa, the UN uses the classic carrot
and stick approach, the WFP being part of the carrot with the Ethiopian
military being the stick the UN uses on behalf of the Western governments enforcement
of their foreign policy objectives in our part of the world.
A good example of the WFP being an arm of the Western governments
is how at harvest time in Somalia in 2006 the WFP dumped all of
its grain aid on the Somali market to be given away �free� just as
the Somali farmers tried to sell their domestic crop, bankrupting tens of
thousands of Somalia/s agricultural workers. After angry protests from the
affected Somali farmers, the WFP apologized, saying the offense was
an oversight and it wouldn�t happen again. Then at
harvest time 2007, the WFP repeated the same act of economic sabotage
it carried out in 2006 and dumped its grain aid in Somalia, driving its
nail into Somalia�s agricultural coffin.
Angel of Mercy or Angel of Death? Maybe Somalia was something
unusual; doesn�t the WFP bring desperately needed relief to those in the direst
The answer brings to mind the experience we here
in Eritrea had during our first in memory two-year drought which
affected the entire country in 2003-4. With all of our rain-fed
agriculture failing for an unprecedented two years, the government needed
to provide our people 80 percent of their food needs through grain aid
to avoid starvation. The WFP, along with the rest of
the international community, provided Eritrea with less than 10
percent of what was needed, forcing Eritrea to dip deeply into its hard
currency reserves and come up with over $100 million for basic grain
For one of the smallest and most
underdeveloped countries in the world, with only 4 million people, to come
up with that kind of cash meant a lot of other critical programs in
Eritrea suffered. To add insult to injury, in 2005 abundant rains brought
one of the best harvests in Eritrean history and saw the WFP, along
with its other aid partners, almost quintuple its grain aid, and, of course,
demanding that it all be given away right as Eritrea�s farmers brought
their crops to market. Eritrea�s government knew exactly what to do;
thanking the WFP et al, it quickly warehoused the grain for when it
would be best needed by everyone and proceeded to protect their own self
sufficiency efforts in agriculture.
The WFP, upon discovering its attempts to sabotage Eritrea�s
agriculture had been sidetracked, proceeded to raise a hue and cry that aid was
�spoiling,� demanding the grain be released immediately and claimed to be
more caring about the hungry in Eritrea than Eritrea�s own leaders.
In our part of the world, the Horn of Africa, we
have come to expect any arm of the UN to behave pretty badly. When the
government in Ethiopia held elections in 2005 and got soundly
thrashed, it was various arms of the UN that jumped in and proclaimed its
support for the Meles Zenawi ethnic minority regime in Ethiopia,
and helped keep its local �enforcer� in power. This despite the Ethiopian
regime killing over 500 and jailing another 50,000. In 2006, it was under the
mantle of the UN that the West�s Ethiopian strong arms invaded Somalia,
bringing to an end the efforts of the Union of Islamic Courts and
the first real peace Somali had seen in 15 years. In 2007, the UN was
there giving legitimacy to the other Western capo in the
Horn, Kenya�s Kibaki, when he stole the election. Just as in Chad,
where the UN openly sanctioned Western military intervention, i.e., French
troops, to keep one of Africa�s most corrupt leaders in power, the rule of law
has been so blatantly violated that only an organization that feels itself
above any accountability would be responsible.
Noam Chomsky has said that US foreign policy is like
that of the mafia, and we denizens of Africa�s Horn have seen just
how the UN is simply another arm of that octopus.
Stay tuned to the onlinejournal.com for more news from
Africa�s Horn that the so-called �Free press in the West� refuses to cover.
Thomas C. Mountain, the last white man living in
Eritrea, was in a former life, educator, activist and alternative medicine
practitioner in the USA. Email thomascmountain at yahoo.com.