Whose fault is famine? Starvation in the face of plenty

david_nallyToday, an estimated 10 million people are facing starvation across a vast swathe of Africa including Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, and in some areas a child is dying every 6 minutes. Yet hunger is not a natural disaster; it is a human-induced problem that demands political solutions. Fewer than 170 years ago, a similarly terrible famine occurred within the British Isles, then an integral part of the United Kingdom and thus a constituent of the most economically advanced region in the world. From an Irish population of about 9 million, 1 million perished and a further 2 million emigrated in what became known as An Gorta Mór or The Great Hunger. Cambridge lecturer Dr David Nally, whose book Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine was published this year by the University of Notre Dame Press, will discuss the historical causes of famine, with a particular focus on the similarities between the Irish famine and those of the present day.

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