Thursday, May 29, 2003

Before we all jump up with Bob Geldof to praise the Bushies for their concern over the plight of Ethiopia, take a long look at Mark Tran's piece in today's Guardian. While Geldof is certainly right to pillory the EU for not sending more band-aids to Ethiopia, the man who penned "Another Piece of Red" (one of my favorite Boomtown Rats songs) shouldn't get too proud of the UK and US in this sordid story. The US may be doing a better job of responding to immediate needs, but the US is also primarily responsible for the collapse of the International Coffee Agreement in 1989 which sent producer prices in coffee spiralling downward. Ethiopia earns over half of its export revenues from coffee, and that's at a 100-year low price.

The US is more than happy to unload its excess GMO grain on countries in need, but not so keen on food sovereignty or fair trade. Bush can respond to a disaster, but can he contribute to preventing the disasters from happening in the first place??


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