Spring term 2014 topic 5 Ethiopia celebrity

Celebrity Humanitarianism takes centre stage.
Feeling good about it – saw the concert, got the T-shirt
Surveys of the history of Ethiopia – notably by
Richard Pankhurst – show that there have
been references to famine in Ethiopian
recorded history since the 15th Century.
Famines are recorded as occurring about
once every decade between 15th and 19th
Ethiopia’s north (Tigre, Wollo and, until its
independence, Eritrea) are arid and have
unreliable rainfall patterns.
In recent centuries Ethiopia characterised by
regular warfare caused by dynastic
strugglesand clashes between settled and
nomadic or migrating populations.
Warfare, the distance between
rulers/landowners and the peasantry meant
that famine relief was unknown.
Drought led to famine through the existence
of conflict or neglect
A drought started 1969 as dry weather brought
disaster to the Sahel region. By 1973 the drought
had severely reduced harvests and food stocks.
Ethiopian government was blind and deaf to the
crisis, leading to famine.
By the end of 1973, famine had claimed the lives of
about 300,000 peasants of Tigre and Welo, and
thousands more had sought relief in Ethiopian
towns and villages.
Little was done by the imperial government and aid
was not requested – until Jonathan Dimbleby’s film
created international concern.
Dimbleby wrote in 2002: “… I stumbled on a
famine which had already claimed upwards of
100,000 lives but which the government had
concealed from the outside world. The film…
ricocheted around the globe. It was the first
'television' catastrophe of its kind and it soon
raised over $150 million - in today's money which triggered a huge international relief
A few months later, The Unknown Famine, as we
called our report, became a catalyst for the
overthrow of the quasi-feudal regime of Haile
Selassie. “
November 1973, Selassie finally let food supplies into the famine
In the months following admission of famine, and with the
growing role of aid agencies in the face of inadequate
government action, the imperial system disintegrated .
Radical army officers began seizing control of cities, barracks
and then major public buildings. They had the support of leftist
student groups.
The crumbling government attempted reforms but they were not
enough and the Derg started arresting politicians and members
of the Emperor’s entourage.
Posters appeared showing starving peasants next to a picture of
Selassie feeding his dogs with chunks of meat.
On 11th SeptemberDimbleby’s film was shown on Ethiopian TV,
recut to include scenes at the imperial palace and retitled The
Hidden Hunger. This was used to devastating effect on Ethiopian
television to soften up the Emperor's subjects for the military
coup which brought Mengistu to power.”
The next day parliament was abolished and Selassie deposed.
Revolution ended the old, out of touch imperial
system but the revolutionaries at first
concentrated on grabbing power and destroying.
Land reform was promised but then replaced by
forced resettlement and collectivisation.
The unpopular and costly war in Eritrea was
pursued with more resources.
Leftists from Tigre disillusioned with the new
regime set up the TPLF and started a new
insurgency to overthrow the Derg. It fought on
until it overthrew the Derg and Mengistu in 1991.
War in Tigre and Eritrea
Derg resettlement campaign
10th anniversary of Derg – didn’t want famine to spoil the
Don’t mention the war or politics
Aid denied to those who wouldn’t be resettled and some
NGOs allowed aid to be used for resettlement programmes
Aid siphoned off by government army and militias and by
80,000-100,000 (figures from De Waal) died
during resettlement campaign which he
believes matches the numbers saved by aid.
Over 600,000 resettled b y coercion or food
denial and left destitute in regions to which
they were resettled without promised water
supplies, homes, power or agricultural support.
Aid used as a lure to get villagers in Tigre to go
to feeding camps from where they were forcibly
resettled or denied food.
Resettlement was about the war not ending
Buerk report 23 October 1984:
Geldof on Live Aid day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezzmrxXh
Band Aid 1984 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezzmrxXh0oQ
Culmination in Live Aid 1985
Has spawned things like Comic Relief and Sport Relief
Clooney in Sudan
Politics and war downplayed.
Aid groups said famine due to drought,
environmental decline and overpopulation in
arid areas.
But drought effects were magnified by army
and militia raids in war areas and food denial
to those rural areas.
Theft of food aid/aid money by army and
militias and rebels
(Keen, Complex Emergencies pp 103-4).
In 2005 a UK Make Poverty History
campaign was launched in response to
the G8 meeting at Gleneagles, Scotland
As part of the campaign, ten concerts
took place simultaneously in the G8
countries, and South Africa – Live 8
Organised by Sir Bob Geldof, who
organised Live Aid in 1985
Live 8 boasted a global audience of an
estimated 3 billion? – half the world’s
population (…but which half?)
“We don’t want your money. We want your name” Bob Geldof
Emphasis on global unity - ‘one day, one concert one world’
(Live 8 promotional literature), demand for debt relief for
poorest countries.
Constant references to ‘our brothers and sisters in Africa’,
the world as a family
Brilliant marketing of consumer aid product – aid and
advocacy as a lifestyle choice. Been there, done that, seen the
video, got the wristband.
Damon Albarn's (2005) accused the ethnic makeup of the
London show of being "so damn Anglo-Saxon“ and said the
event was treating Africa "like it's a failing, ill, sick, tired
place“ - same as Live Aid
For many relief professionals, media coverage
and celebrities have always been crucial.
"Ethiopia would not have got the attention it did
without Live Aid," says Joanna Macrae, former
coordinator of the humanitarian policy group at
the Overseas Development Institute.
Macrae, however, has reservations about what
she has dubbed "quick, loud responses".
Every seasoned aid worker knew then that there
was no necessary connection between raising
money for a good cause and that money being
well spent. (David Rieff – Guardian – full piece on
Chumbawumba’s 1986 record Pictures Of Starving Children
Sell Records was critical of the possible motivations of pop
stars involved in Live Aid
Live Aid billed as ‘saving the world’ yet what changed?
(Further famines in Ethiopia 1987/9 –etc Compassion Fatigue)
The same criticisms were levelled at participants of Live 8
HMV compiled a Live 8 album boost chart – Pink Floyd album
sales = up nearly 1400%, The Who = up nearly 900%, Annie
Lennox = 500%...prompted many to suggest that royalties
should go to charity, that Live 8 was Geldof’s ‘rock catwalk’…