Harris, an Australian, & his nurse-wife served at Red Cross hospitals & relief stations in Ethiopia during the cresting famine & here testify to the bureaucratic idiocy & inhuman meretriciousness of the country's leaders--while casting a supportive but amazed eye upon the minds of the stricken peasantry. The Harrises weren't novices at relief work when, inHarris, an Australian, & his nurse-wife served at Red Cross hospitals & relief stations in Ethiopia during the cresting famine & here testify to the bureaucratic idiocy & inhuman meretriciousness of the country's leaders--while casting a supportive but amazed eye upon the minds of the stricken peasantry. The Harrises weren't novices at relief work when, in '84, they were called to Red Cross headquarters in Geneva, shown films of the encroaching famine & then dispatched with a small international team of nurses to one site of the disaster. The government had long denied the famine's existence, since it was happening in the usually indestructible agricultural heartland, an area that had survived many earlier famines. To admit the disaster meant that the country's rulers would lose face. Harris is scathing about the Marxists, the Ethiopian bourgeoisie & the country's boss, Mengistu Halle Mariam. The opening chapters show the team overcoming or outlasting the sheer bureaucratic madness by which they're allowed to remove hospital stocks & provisions from their own warehouses, for trucking inland to the famine sites. The nation is celebrating a 10-day anniversary of the birth of socialism while peasants die by the thousands. Middle-class Ethiopians walk down the street without even seeing the dead & dying underfoot. Meanwhile they're beautifully mannered to a point of utter unreality ("Ethiopians will weep if they are argued with..."). Among the dying, "the very weak, the very sick & the very ill would almost certainly surrender their [relief] cards to those their families felt had a far better chance of survival. Peasant life is unsentimental...To the peasants our attempts to feed the weak & to stop them from giving food to the strong were terrifying & evil." A boldly written, at times searing book about "an inverted world where murder was ignored, evil praised as enlightenment & grotesque xenophobia billed as anti-racism.--Kirkus...
|Title||:||Breakfast in Hell: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account of the Politics of Hunger in Ethiopia|
|Number of Pages||:||271 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Breakfast in Hell: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account of the Politics of Hunger in Ethiopia Reviews
Breakfast in Hell is the story of a Red Cross doctor and his time in Ethiopia during the 1984 famine. During this time in Ethiopia, Mengistu was in power, the country was powerfully influenced by Russia, and as usual, political posturing was more important than helping the less fortunate of the country.Dr. Myles Harris arrived to help people, but spent most of his time fighting with officials for the tools he needed to do his job. At every corner he was met with a new rule, or piece of paperwork that delayed him. When he was finally sent to Sodo, he learned the famine there was essentially over. Meanwhile the real crisis was unfolding in Bati. After many months, he arrived and began his work. “The absurd politics came to mean less and less as the days passed. By the time we arrived in Bati it was far too late to do anything—even if we had had the power—about the ravages of incompetent agricultural policies, brutal Party hacks, the desert war, simple indolence, or even plain greed.”It was a sobering book. It happens everywhere. Politicians always think looking good is more important than actually helping people. I don’t think our new President feels that way, so I have some optimism these days.
I had read nothing about modern Ethiopia beyond newspaper and magazine articles when a Yugoslavian friend who had gone to the American high school there recommended this book. Harris is no great writer, but he does certainly convey his anger at those who made famine relief work there very difficult for him and his team.