Media Muddle Cause of Somalia Famine

As the UN is set to declare Somalia in famine, we are treated to grim descriptions in wire stories of children on the verge of death as their families rot in hot, dry refugee camps both on Mogadishu’s outskirts and at the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia. The suffering is real. The causes are glossed over.

Sure, there is less food because of a seasonal drought. But story after story only briefly covers the conflict that is the reason for the refugee crisis, which puts these desperate people outside the normal food distribution system.

A common refrain here at Antiwar.com is criticizing the idea that “history began yesterday.” Few subjects are treated as if they were new on the world scene as the endless trials of Somalia. No, in fact, al-Shabaab, the scary youth militant organization didn’t always exist, yearning to destroy America — it was an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which swept to power in 2006. No, the ICU didn’t just seize power over unwilling Somalis, it was backed by many to run off the warlords who were wreaking havoc on the country. And no, these warlords weren’t just a by-product of a society without a state — they were funded and armed and backed by the United States of America. To fight al-Qaeda, of course. This “al-Qaeda” presence was always mostly theoretical. But as we know, harmless phantoms don’t keep America from turning weddings into a charred red paste.

Before all this mess, Somalia enjoyed quite a prosperous few years. It had successfully resisted the imposition of up to fourteen foreign-backed governments, made up of former communist regime apparatchiks and the same vicious warlords the US once fought, then funded. It had a functioning civil society and though of course still poor, it had seen leaps in its development since the banishment of the state in 1991.

All this, the power whores of the world make it their business to hide from you. Their 1000-word reports somehow leave out who caused what and why. Why are people fleeing Mogadishu? We won’t bother saying, the media says, but we’ll mention the fact that there is a violent resistance movement — er, insurgency — call al-Shabaab. They’re Muslim. Some of them may have at one point said they like Osama bin Laden. This means they are al-Qaeda. They’re responsible for the famine. No, they don’t say as much — that would be an outright lie — but they infer it. And in doing so, they plant the seeds for the next intervention.

Hasn’t Somalia had enough of our “help”?

11 thoughts on “Media Muddle Cause of Somalia Famine”

  1. Excellent article. It points to one example of a continuous flow of deceptive articles by the main stream press concerning US meddling in the affairs of governments throughout the middle east. The cynical goal of US policy is absolute stranglehold of the production and flow of oil no matter what the consequences for the civilian population. And the goal of the corporate press is to completely bury the truth and lie about the consequences of US policy.

    1. I would agree that the goal of the US oil oligarchs is to control the oil of the Middle East, although I feel that, when it comes to robbing the average western consumer, they have no trouble in forgetting their minor squabbles with the Arabs, and joining together to pick his pocket. One has only to see the rapid agreement of the Gulf Cooperation Council to the US/UK/French proposal to place sanctions on Libya, and drive the oil price up even more!!
      A third world country, South Africa, had no trouble 40 yrs ago in synthesising one quarter of its liquid fuel requirements. Yes, it would have cost the US a lot of money to do this, but as much as 40 yrs of wars?
      Of course, there is still the US involvement with Israel/Palestine. About 60 yrs ago, the US backed the establishment of Israel. It also backed the establishment of a Palestinian quasi-state, by subsidising the Palestinian refugee camps. Thus if Israel starts to gain, a US client is losing, so the US throws its weight on the Palestinian side to restore the balance. Of course, if the Palestinians start to gain, the US weighs in on the side of its protege Israel! In effect, the US is fighting itself, and if it starts to win, it takes action to avert the impending defeat. This policy is insane.
      The only solution is to abandon the Middle East entirely and devote all resources to synthetic fuel production. I'm not holding my breath waiting for this to occur.

  2. I avoid the mainstream media like the plague but I had to take care of business in town today and there it was: front page of the newspaper, top international story on the TV, a lead story on the radio.

    I do not know who is packaging and moving this story but they must have clout because they snapped their fingers and it was "big news".

    It makes much more sense to see this as another plank towards further intervention in Somalia than an expression of real humanitarian concern. Here in Canada we've pioneered a liberal-imperialist doctrine called 'Responsibility to Protect' or R2P – I suspect that Obama is using something similar.

  3. Somalia and Haiti are the most poignant examples of the horrors of US direct intervention (meddling) in the affairs of a foreign nation. Although, it's not just the US fault, much as I hate to admit it, they had a little help from the rest of the civilized West. Anyone who is interested (or is horrified?) in reading a bit about how Somalia got to where it is today, should read these. BTW, in Somalia and Haiti, we can see the future of the US.

    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2009/04/13#co
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/14/analysis_so
    http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?lin
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/War-as-Entertain

  4. I like to listen from time to time to the mass media to see what I'm supposed to be thinking. Or alternatively what the military-congressional-industrial complex wants us to think.

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