Special Reports
World Food Program; Angel of Mercy or Angel of Death?
By Thomas C. Mountain
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Sep 24, 2009, 00:19

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 need? 

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 purchases.

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.

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