Friday 25 June 2004

Failing Somalia at Our Peril

My then colleague, John Prendergast, and I wrote this piece for The Baltimore Sun on 25 June 2004.


It is a failed state in which the United States knows al-Qaida and its allies have operated, where endemic lawlessness provides a haven for terrorists. Yet Washington isn't investing in talks aimed at addressing the failure of the state.

The failed state is Somalia, possibly the only country in the world without a government, and a perfect example of the humanitarian, economic and political consequences of state collapse. Most important from the U.S. perspective, Somalia's governance vacuum makes the Horn of Africa country a comfortable home for terrorist groups looking for refuge or a logistical staging area.

Tuesday 8 June 2004

Darfur Starvation Will Be Televised... Eventually

This article was published in the Christian Science Monitor on 8 June 2004.


When people are starving en masse, television is there to capture their fly-covered faces as they expire. The world is appalled by the repeated images of the dying and is stirred to action: People open up their purses to charity appeals, and politicians feel strong public pressure to address the famine and its root causes at the highest level.

But mass starvation doesn't just appear out of nowhere in an instant, so where are the TV cameras just before the emaciated bodies start piling up?

Right now, they are in Iraq. Or Israel/Palestine. Or India. Or just about anywhere else in the world apart from the Darfur region of Sudan, where the next mass starvation is now imminent.