Tiny babies in the Horn of Africa need food to survive. Many are starving to death because the region is experiencing its third famine in my lifetime. When I was 19 years old I was a student studying political science at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Many of my friends were African students from the old Gold Coast of Africa. They alerted me to a famine in the Sahel region of the continent.
The African students thought I had influence with Black American students, so they lobbied me to organize a drive to raise money to buy food for the children of the Sahel. This was a daunting task as very few Black Americans in the early 1970s understood their connection to Africa and its people. Several of the African students had come to Tuskegee to learn how to grow food from Dr. Booker T. Whatley, head of the agriculture department that had been made famous by George Washington Carver.Before the idea of sustainable farming was cool, Dr. Whatley taught that it was. He wrote a book on how to make $100,000 on 25 acres.
My friends trusted him to help them end the famine back home; so I signed on to help them raise money for food for the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. We made placards and set up donation tables outside of Tompkins Hall (the student cafeteria).
We raised about $358.00 and sent it to a relief agency to buy food for the tiny starving babies. Then a few years later the rains came and the drought was over, at least for a short period.
By 1985 I was 35 years-old. I was back in school studying law. I was married and a first time father of a tiny baby.The drought came back to the Sahel.Images of tiny babies dying of starvation flashed across our television screen during dinner as my wife fed our newborn son. She would hold him close as she fed him, tears streaming down her cheeks for the babies dying for lack of food so far away as she nourished our baby.
In the early 1990s, I began to see refugees from the Horn of Africa in my law office who had various legal matters that needed attention. I hired one as a filing clerk, a single mother of two boys who had arrived in Atlanta from Eritrea. As I worked with them, I often wondered if the $358 we raised at Tuskegee in 1973 had sustained them and if by fate, I was meeting people whom I had helped in my youth.
Now, I am 65 and the drought is back. Children are dying for the lack of food in three countries: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen and Somalia.
Why do the babies of Africa die of starvation?
They die because in the 2oth century, neither I nor my countrymen solved the political and economic problems that causes these repeated famines.
Why is it that in a land which the Bible says flows with milk and honey, there is famine after famine after famine?
The entire continent is plagued by the western land grab following World War I; and then again as spoils of World War II. It’s time for the west to pay reparations for the rape of Africa. The fatherland is not poor because the people are dumb and corrupt. It is poor because the wealth of the land is taken away by the western powers and now the Chinese are making a move on the natural resources of Africa.
Trump are you not moved by African babies dying in their mother’s arms?
If you are send food, but no bombs. If you are not moved by the sight of starving babies, send food anyway. Little babies should not be caught up in the games nations play.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round, Easier to obtain Than to Maintain: The Globalization of Civil Rights by Charles Steele, Jr.; and the host of Beyond the Law with Harold Michael Harvey. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.