The Brutality of Nations

1Paralleling the alleged recent blocking by the Ethiopian government, for political reasons, of international famine-relief efforts, Jacobs, author of What More Can Be Done for Children in Armed Conflict, and former executive director of the Committee for Nigeria-Biafra Relief, charges that supplies for the starving Biafran refugees during the Nigerian civil war of the late 1960s were similarly impeded by major nations, notably Britain. According to this detailed and shocking expose of cynical international power politics, by 1968 12,000 persons a day, mostly children, were dying while Red Cross access to Biafra was hampered by Nigerians supported by the British, who hoped that a Nigerian victory would secure their oil and other interests. Both Britain and the U.S., the author notes, feared that a weakened Nigeria would encourage a Soviet presence in West Africa. He suggests that greater coordination of efforts between private agencies under international conventions could more effectively combat the inertia and genocidal policies of nations.

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