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Karl Maier

Karl Maier is the author of Angola: Promises and Lies and Into the House of the Ancestors: Inside the New Africa.

Feeding off Famine

Karl Maier, 19 February 1998

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people in North Korea are succumbing to starvation, perishing ‘silently and painfully’ in the words of an aid agency official. Eighty-five per cent of the country’s children are malnourished, and in some towns at least, the story goes, ‘corpses line the streets.’ Rumours of cannibalism are rife. Only an immediate response from the United Nations and the battery of private foreign relief agencies can prevent the death toll from rising. Tear-jerking advertisements appear in major Western newspapers appealing for cash and credit card donations. ‘A generation could be lost for ever,’ the UN Children’s Fund warns; ‘one to two million dead’, World Vision US adds; ‘a silent famine’, the UN Development Programme claims. While circumstantial evidence points to malnutrition and food shortages in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it is impossible to know for certain: the authorities control all movement of foreign personnel; nutritionists, aid workers, food monitors and journalists (the very few who are allowed in) can work only where they are permitted. No one has been able to carry out a satisfactory assessment of the situation.‘

Political violence in Africa

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 25 July 2002

Last December, Chief Bola Ige, the Nigerian Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, was assassinated. The political violence that has ensued will culminate in elections next year, when the...

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One Eye on the Neighbours

Jeremy Harding, 22 April 1993

The American writer, William Finnegan, went to Mozambique in 1988. He had already written for the New Yorker about the war and Pretoria’s support for Renamo (Resistência Nacional...

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