Famine and the Noisome Beast in

It is hard to talk about Ethiopia these days in non-apocalyptic terms. Millions of Ethiopians are facing their old enemy again for the third time in nearly forty years. The Black Horseman of famine is stalking that ancient land. A year ago, Meles Zenawi’s regime denied there was any famine. Only “minor problems” of spot shortages of food which will “be soon brought under control,” it said dismissively. The regime boldly predicted a 7-10 percent increase in the annual harvest over 2007. Simon Mechale, head of the country’s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency, proudly declared: “Ethiopia will soon fully ensure its food security.” For several years, the regime has been touting its Productive Safety Net Programme would result in ending the “cycle of dependence on food aid” by bridging production deficits and protecting household and community assets. Famine and chronic food shortages were officially ostracized from Ethiopia.

Famine and the Noisome Beast in

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