Gail Smith

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection.

Gail Smith, a development consultant in Washington D.C., talks about the Ethiopian famine. She claims that aid groups react to famine in the wrong way, distributing food instead of seeds or ways to gain the means of production. She explains that famine is not a singular event, it is a process that occurs over many years as war forces farmers to gradually sell off livestock and tools, reduce production, and eventually eat their seeds. “What we tend to do is look at a famine as an emergency. You hope they’ll get off of your television screen, the starving will go away, you stop feeling guilty, then you forget about it. Once you sell of the means of production – you eat the seeds – then you start to starve to death.”



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