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Previous food price rise holocausts in modern history

by Peter Boyle
The new global food crisis has now been covered in many media outlets. One comment that jumped out at me was this one posted by a retired Australian lecturer, Dr Gideon Polya, in response to this article in the New Statesman:

In January 2008 I was part of a BBC broadcast together with Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen (Harvard University, formerly Cambridge University) and other scholars that exposed the "forgotten", man-made, World War 2 Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-1945 Bengal famine in which 6-7 million people perished in Bengal and neighboring provinces when the price of rice doubled and thence finally quadrupled.

A merciless British administration and "market forces" killed more people in WW2 India than died in the contemporaneous Jewish Holocaust. (6 million victims, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation). Indeed the term "holocaust" was first applied to a WW2 atrocity by Jog (1944) in relation to the Bengal Famine (see: Jog, N.G. (1944), Churchill’s Blind-Spot: India (New Book Company, Bombay); see The Forgotten Holocaust ; and Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History (1998: ; 2008 2nd edition forthcoming).

Now in 2008 we are seeing the beginnings of a re-run of the "forgotten" Bengali Holocaust but on a potentially 100-fold greater scale with global food prices doubling in one year driven by US-, EU- and UK-MANDATED (and net CO2 polluting) biofuels, oil price hikes, global warming (with drought in Australia and the CIS) and demand in the globalized market (notably from China and for grain-fed meat) . The UK Chief Scientist Professor John Beddington FRS says that "billions" are under threat (see Global food crisis:) .

4 billion people are malnourished and ALREADY 16 million die avoidably each year from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease (see "Body Count": and globalbodycount.).

Millions starve while the Bush-ite regimes of the US, UK and EU MANDATE feeding food to cars i.e. mandate genocide.

The racist, lying, holocaust-ignoring Mainstream media have a lot to answer for. History ignored yields history repeated. General Wavell (India Viceroy) recounts in his diaries being told by Bengal Governor R. Casey during WW2 that the Argentinians had used 2 million tons of wheat to run their railways, there being a wartime shortage of coal - while millions of Bengalis and Biharis starved and the British Government remorselessly rejected Wavell's pleas for help (see: Moon, P. (1973) (editor), Wavell. The Viceroy’s Journal (Oxford University Press, London).

Silence kills and silence is complicity. Tell everyone you can - and especially your political representatives.

3 Com:

Dave Riley | May 02, 2008

Mike Davis meshes this penchant to foster imperialistically driven holocaust with climate change in Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World.

Anonymous | May 04, 2008

Using holocaust for a subject like this is hyperbole. Show some respect to its victims.

Denis Olsen | May 04, 2008

Use of the word "holocaust"?

"Indeed the term "holocaust" was FIRST applied to a WW2 atrocity by Jog (1944) in relation to the Bengal Famine".

The word "holocaust" has been used since the 18th century to refer to the violent deaths of a large number of people. The Oxford English Dictionary, Clarendon Press, 2nd ed.Oxford 1989, vol.VII p.315 sect c.'complete destruction, esp. of a large number of persons; a great slaughter or massacre' citing examples from 1711, 1833, and 1883 onwards.

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