Friday, April 26, 2013

"Failure to stop Famines invariably dooms Dynasties" say Chinese-influenced cultures

If so - and I happen to agree with the Chinese - than nothing doomed the British, French and Nationalist Chinese Empires like their failure to prevent or solve the man-made famines of 1943-1945 in Bengal, Tonkin and Honan.

Most educated people are starting to know of the famine in Bengal of 1943-1944 , just as others learn more of the Hunger Winter famine in 1944-1945 in the west of the Netherlands.

We have long known hunger was widespread in the Axis world from all the 1945 photographs of skin and bone prisoners released from hundreds of  POW and concentration camps around the world.

We've heard about starving Jews in ghettos and the starvation death of most of the enormous city of Leningrad.

But few know of the huge famine in Greece in 1940-1941 , with blame starting with the Axis and ending with Britain's coalition cabinet (the other Allies didn't really deserve much if any of the blame).

Even less is known about the huge famine in Vietnam (Tonkin) in 1944-1945 under the French and Japanese watch.

A few, older, people know of the horrible famine in Honan Province, under Nationalist Chinese control  in 1943-1944 because an eyewitness, American writer Theodore White, wrote about it at the time.

But because the mechanized battles of tanks and guns and bombs seem so exciting to read about from a comfy armchair (rather than to actually live and die through), few writers write best sellers on the biggest human battle of WWII : just getting enough to eat to go on living .

Modernity's horde of tame writers do up Modernity's mechanical successes a real treat : but they avoid its biggest failure : its inability to do something as basic as keeping granddaughter feed and grandmother warm.

Maybe post-modernist writers can handle that WWII story much better.....

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