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Did Bob (IMHO) “B*llsh*t” Geldorf fool us all?

Remember 1984? Not the book, the year. That was the year of “Do they know it’s Christmas?” when the great Saint Bob Geldorf blagged us all into giving bags of money to feed starving Ethiopians. Then in 1985, shaggy-haired Bob got even more of our money with the LiveAid concerts watched by about 1.9 billion people worldwide. In all, the great Irishman Bob convinced us to hand over around £150m for the starving Ethiopians. No wonder Bob was knighted or sainted or canonised or whatever.

But why were the Ethiopians starving? Oh, of course, there was a drought in the Horn of Africa. That’s why, isn’t it?

Well, umm, not really. Here’s a graph of the population of Ethiopia from 1965 to today (click to see more clearly)

Ethiopia population

Crikey, there were only 25 million Ethiopians in 1965. This had shot up to 39.5 million by the time of the 1984 great famine and has now reached about 96 million.

In fact there were famines in Ethiopia in 1958, 1966, 1973 as well as 1984. It doesn’t take a genius to see that if a fairly infertile country like Ethiopia struggled to feed its 25 million population in 1966, then it’s hardly surprising that there were problems in 1984 when the population was close to 40 million and that there will always be famines if Ethiopia’s population doubles every 25 years.

As one commentator wrote: By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million; the equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley. So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?

So yes, every seven or eight years or so there is a drought in the Horn of Africa. There has been for the last hundreds of years. But Ethiopia’s problem is not a lack of rain. The problem is a population that is growing too fast. So, next time Bob or Bono or whatever media-attention-grabbing celeb harangues us to give our money to save lives in the latest famine, remember famines are often caused by too many people not too little rain.

But, of course, it would be “waaaaccciiiiisssstttt!” to suggest that the Ethiopians and others in the Horn of Africa tried a little birth control. So there will always be famines there.

And when thousands of Ethiopians come flooding in from Calais, welcome them with open arms. After all, they’re victims – victims of their own stupidity.

(btw, I’ve just seen a wonderful comment on a newspaper website. As Cameron sends our six clapped-out Tornadoes to attack ISIS, one reader suggested “Could we not send our jets to northern British cities to protect our girls?”)

1 comment to Did Bob (IMHO) “B*llsh*t” Geldorf fool us all?

  • BaronessBonkers

    Strange you should write this this weekend.

    I spent the weekend in London. I noticed in Shepherd’s Bush an Ethiopian restaurant and take-away. I observed to the present Mrs Bonkers that the menu would be a blank sheet of paper in order to keep it authentic. The customers (it did not look like a touristy sort of place) looked well nourished, but I suppose they would do living here in the Land of Make Believe.

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