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British Empire System Offers Africans a Choice—Either Starve or Get Coronavirus

April 15, 2020 (EIRNS)—Under British imperial conditions, at this moment, citizens of Africa’s 54 nations are being confronted with the horrendous choice of either starving or being infected with the coronavirus.

An April 14, an AFP story entitled, “Starve or Get Sick,” reports that at a food distribution in a Nairobi slum, “women and children fell to the ground bloodied and trampled,” as police fired teargas and “men with sticks beat the hungry.” Said one aid Kennedy Odede, who runs a grassroots movement which works in the Nairobi slum Kiberia, “I give them [Kenya’s government] one to two weeks before things get worse. Not in terms of coronavirus, but in terms of hunger.”

African nations moved quickly to attempt to address the pandemic, AFP reported: “While most of the developed world waited weeks to begin taking action, countries in Africa rapidly shut borders and banned mass gatherings.” Mauritius, Rwanda, Tunisia were the first to impose full lockdowns.

Jakkie Cilliers of the Pretoria, South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies presented his view: “A lockdown is unenforceable and unsustainable across much of Africa. You are trying to do something that is not possible, and you are condemning people to a choice between starving and getting sick.... It’s not possible for 10 people living in a tin shack to not go outside for three weeks.”

The problem is food. People go outside to work at jobs, sometimes in the “informal economy.” If they don’t work, they and their family may not have food. The governments have only a marginal amount of food to distribute.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is overseeing an “airbridge” of cargo flights of medical goods from China to other countries in Africa, stated, “We can’t impose a lockdown like more developed nations, as there are many citizens who don’t even have homes. Even those who have homes, have to make ends meet daily.”

Ibero-American and Caribbean nations with impoverished populations in slums—Haiti for one, or Brazil’s notorious favelas—face the same dilemma to “starve or get sick.” Slum dwellers in Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, told Britain’s Guardian that staying at home or practicing social distancing isn’t an option. In the absence of coordinated programs to provide them food, and often having no access to running water or sanitation, they must go out to work at service jobs or they starve.

Haiti is the worst case in the Caribbean, where more than 70% of the people work in the informal economy, barely scraping by with meager earnings. Social distancing in Port-au-Prince’s huge Cité Soleil commune, where people are packed together, is impossible.

This is why registering to attend the Schiller Institute’s April 25-26 online conference, “Mankind’s Existence Now Depends on the Establishment of a New Paradigm,” is critical.

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