You are here

Humanitarian Disaster or Act of God -- Dangerous Implication in Practice?

Responding systemically to the probable fate of millions (Part #1)

Humanitarian disaster?
Disastrous analysis
Acts of God?
Systemic human neglect
Focus of neglect in systemic analysis
Real face of humanitarian disaster?
Responsibility of God?
Exacerbating disastrous system instability through enabling population increase
Who are the enablers of pain and suffering?
Role of the Abrahamic religions
Obedience to orders in enabling humanitarian disaster
Primary leadership role of the Christian papacy
Mapping controversial psychosocial dynamics: "putting God on the map"
Designing denial, unbelief and ignorance into systemic concept maps
Confidence and consensus: collective strategy in a time of delusion

[Parts: Next | Last | All ] [Links: To-K | From-K | From-Kx | Refs ]


The United Nations is currently warning of a major threat to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in the Horn of Africa (Drought-hit Somalia on brink of humanitarian disaster, UN News Center, 2 March 2011; Drought in Horn of Africa threatens millions, FAO Media Centre, 14 June 2011; Drought in east Africa prompts calls to address humanitarian emergency, The Guardian, 2 July 2011; Horn of Africa Humanitarian Crisis; The Ogaden Crisis: The Horn of Africa's invisible humanitarian disaster, Africa Faith and Justice Network, 15 September 2010; UN states humanitarian disaster in Somalia, The Voice of Russia, 5 July 2011; Barry Mason, Famine Threat In The Horn of Africa, Global Research, 6 July 2011).

As on previous occasions, the rains have failed. People are without food and water. They are having to trek for days to refugees camps where some food may be distributed -- as stocks and international aid funding permit. Many are dying, especially the very young. Many are close to starvation. A major famine in 1991 in that region killed around a quarter of a million people and left two million displaced.

South of that region, the level of massacre associated with the Great War of Africa in the Congo region -- has been virtually ignored during the past decade. By 2008 that war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Despite those figures, the UN has recently described the situation in Dafur as the "world's worst humanitarian disaster" (Humanitarian situation in Western Darfur spiralling downhill, News from Africa, 10 March 2011).

The current case, in the Horn of Africa, as with those which have preceded it there, is a symptom of a familiar condition, It may be repeated more frequently and more widely according to some analyses of future food and water shortages (World at risk of another food crisis: FAO, Reuters, 14 March 2011; Global Water Shortage Looms In New Century, December 1999; Water Shortages Rising Across the Globe, 15 May 2009). The conventional response is to appeal widely for aid to ensure that food can be urgently collected and distributed to those in need (Emergency funding to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the Horn of Africa, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, 6 July 2011; Xan Rice, Aid-plea for 10m in Drought-hit East Africa, The Guardian, 5 July 2011).

Curiously, over the past decade, the world has also been witness to the investment of an estimated $1.3 trillion in an international military intervention in Iraq/Afghanistan by a primarily Christian coalition -- supposedly for humanitarian reasons and in response to the death of some 3,000 people on the occasion of 9/11. This has resulted in 100,000 to 600,000 casualties in Iraq and an even more problematic estimate for the civilian casualties in Afghanistan -- all primarily of Islamic faith. This multinational investment has significantly contributed to the austerity challenges now faced by many countries.

The question which merits consideration is how responsibility for repetition of this pattern of humanitarian disasters is to be understood, especially since variants of it occur in other regions and with respect to other types of disaster, most notably flooding and earthquakes, with every possibility of lethal pandemics (The Next Pandemic, Newsweek, May 2009).

Given the fundamental importance in practice of religious belief and obedience to divine injunctions, to what extent is disaster to be understood as an Act of God, or rather as a disastrous failure of human civilization -- thereby enabled and heralding its final collapse (cf Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, 2005)

[Parts: Next | Last | All ] [Links: To-K | From-K | From-Kx | Refs ]