The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Saturday, August 25, 2007
        What would Adam Smith say?
        Hooray for CARE for taking a stand against a dubious US' food policy where NGOs such as CARE are required to sell US produced grains in poor countries to finance their development programs. According to this Time article, EU stopped this practice in the 90's and UN agencies don't allow NGOs to sell food.

        It does not require a PhD in Economics or have Adam Smith advising us from the dead about the bad economic implications this policy has on the livelihood of farmers in those poor countries. It only makes perfect sense for American farmers (one of the strong lobby groups in the US) to twist Congress' arm to continue dumping their grain wherever it is profitable. I even understand Congress struggling with this issue because morally it's asked to choose between American and non-American farmers and economically it means losing the campaign "contribution" (aka as, elsewhere in the world, "bribe") it so enjoys from the farm lobby. What I don't understand is why nobody took this up with international agencies such us the World Trade Organization.

        Obviously, putting out trade-related fire is WTO's main purpose in life. The US dumping its grains in the markets of poor countries, unfortunately, has not been a "dispute" as far as I understand. However, the fight over banana - EU (favouring African, Carribean, Pacific bananas) and Equador joined by the US "making bananas" over EU's exclusive taste has been keeping the WTO busy. Why wasn't the US food aid policy, which was obviously damaging to local farmers in poor countries organized in such a way that it was brought in front of the WTO?

        Hat off for CARE for finally standing up to what's right and rejecting $45 million worth of food aid.

        Related links
        Agriculture lobby & US farm bill
        CARE's story on NPR
        Banana fight

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        posted by Fikirte @ 2:18 PM   0 comments Digg!
        Thursday, August 23, 2007
        Just Foreign Policy - get involved

        If online lobbying is your forte, you may want to check out the Just Foreign Policy website here. The organization is working on a multiple of issues ranging from the death toll in Iraq to human rights issues in Ethiopia.

        Related links

        Foreign Policy - portal to global politics, economy & ideas.
        Foreign Policy in Focus - a think tank without walls.
        posted by Fikirte @ 5:38 PM   0 comments Digg!
        Wednesday, August 22, 2007
        Father of the village

        This is an inspiring story of a visionary farmer in Ethiopia. By all accounts (including the funky hat he wears), Zumra Nuru is way ahead of his time, religion and society.
        He can't read or write, but Zumra Nuru created a society that would have made Karl Marx proud. The 60-year-old Ethiopian farmer founded and cochairs Awra Amba, a commune where men cook, women plow, and religion has no place.His inspiration came from his childhood: He was sent to the fields instead of to school and beaten for eating meat at his Christian neighbor's home.His mother had to work much more than his father." It made me sad," says Mr. Nuru. "When I asked my parents about it ... they acted as if I were foolish."

        Read his fascinating story here.
        posted by Fikirte @ 4:13 AM   0 comments Digg!
        The face of VAW

        Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.
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