Here is an excerpt from the book “Ending Hunger: An Idea whose Time Has Come,” which has been lying around my house begging for a thorough review of its most beautiful pictures. Some days I peruse it before dinner time, while we wait patiently for another round of injeera and wot (meat sauce) to hit the table.
This excerpt is an example of the viewpoint that population control is a tool of racism and repression. Several other viewpoints are addressed in other sections of the book. The book, published in the early 80s, is a collaborative project of The Hunger Project>>>> www.thp.org
“Maaza Bekele, former head of Ethiopian social services, believes that Western planners–who have little empathy for those whose lives they would alter–want to impose upon Africa a development experience that differs greatly from that of the West. Many developing world leaders share this view.
The prophets of doom contend that both the structure and the consequent potential size of the African population…is a threat to general world prosperity and a deterrent to economic development in African countries…
This is a one-dimensional approach…
In Africa we cannot afford to look upon our growing population as a problem. We have to face up to the challenge of engaging our young, expectant peoples in the struggle to achieve the most rapid development possible…
It seems almost sinister that there is so much money available to CONTROL life and hardly any to PROMOTE IT.
It also seems unrealistic to expect that poverty-stricken, hard-working African mothers–many close to death before the age of 35–can be expected to limit the number of their children when only 1 out of 3 or 4 will survive. The onus is on the “controllers” to demonstrate to these women that 3 out of 4 of their children WILL survive. They cannot run the risk that their major creative contribution to humanity (given that the rest of their existence is almost pure drudgery), will be denied them. In each woman is the grain of hope that life for her offspring will be better than hers.
Besides, in African society, procreation and the loving, tender rearing of children is one of society’s most important goals. Children are not a burden, they are an asset in the average farm family.”
This piece by Bekele appeared in the UNESCO Courier, under the title “False Prophets of Doom,” in the year 1974. It clearly illustrates an interesting perspective on the whole overpopulation debate. That debate is alive and well here in Ethiopia, which has long been considered to be a potential flash point for proponents of overpopulation. Bekele’s words certainly provide the international community with a
Locally, a recent visit to one of the Survivors drove home the importance of this discussion. This particular Survivor is currently taking care of 7 children and two grandchildren, placing an immense burden on his already complicated financial situation. Tomorrow I will update with a more personal account of that particular Survivor’s story.
Happy Ethiopian New Year to all! We celebrated the arrival of the Ethiopian New Year this past Thursday, as we are in 2001 here. Ethiopia is on a different calendar and different time as well (always 6 hours behind or before European or Western concept of time). For example 1 o-clock is actually 7pm or 7am. It is a bit confusing at first, but eventually you get used to it. Another testament to Ethiopia’s independent ways and unique cultural standing in the global community of nations.
Posted By Lucas Wolf
Posted Sep 16th, 2008