I’ve been known to drop the occasional expletive, but the most offensive F word to me is not the one that goes f***. It’s F***** — the famine happening in Somalia.
Drought, violence and political instability have invited in the grim reaper on a scale we have not seen in 20 years… more than 30,000 children have died in just three months. The pictures from Dadaab look like a nightmare from centuries past. Yet, this is the 21st century and these pictures are real and, on the whole, unseen. The food crisis in the Horn of Africa is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe, but it is getting less attention than the latest Hollywood break-ups and make-ups.
ONE’s new film “The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity” isn’t a typical emotional emergency appeal. It’s about focusing the media spotlight on the tragedy unfolding. It’s about building political support in the US and around the world for interventions that will stop the suffering today and break the cycle of famine in the future. Most of all, it’s about taking action — because famine is man-made.
Of course it’s complex, and solutions are difficult — especially in Somalia where there has not been a formal government for 20 years. But that is not an excuse for the world to look the other way. Most of us (thankfully) have no experience of starvation, but we do know what it’s like to lose someone you love. Each of those 30,000 children was someone’s daughter or son, someone’s sister or brother. If you look at reports from the Horn, there are stories of mothers having to decide which child to feed and which to let die; women leaving their children’s bodies on the side of the road as they walk for weeks in search of food and water for those still fighting for life.
History shows there are ways to prevent drought from becoming famine, even though it’s complicated. So check out the film and sign ONE’s petition to world leaders calling on them to live up to promises already made to invest in things proven to work… early warning systems… irrigation… drought resistant seeds… and of course, peace and security. At ONE.org there’s more explanation and information. And while ONE doesn’t solicit funding, if you want to give money, you can find links to other organizations providing emergency assistance in the Horn who need all the support they can get.
This article first appeared on the The Huffington Post