The hit Irish show Riverdance includes a segment titled The Countess Cathleen, which was originally a verse drama by William Butler Yeats, published in 1893.
This legendary tale of Countess Cathleen (aka Kathleen) begins with Irish peasants starving to death during a famine. Demons have descended upon the desperate poor trying to get them to sell their souls to the Devil in exchange for gold to buy food. The wealthy Countess Cathleen tries to help the peasants by selling off her riches to buy food and end the starvation.
The U.S. government’s global famine warning system has sounded the alarm on hunger. As a result of conflict and drought “70 million people, across 45 countries, will require emergency food assistance this year.”
Four countries (South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia) are in the gravest danger of famine.
As the Trump administration gets underway, they are suddenly faced with a world hunger crisis that is “unprecedented in recent decades.” How will they respond to the biggest foreign policy emergency of their first year?
Last month I published an interview with Kate O’Malley of Irish Americans Support Somalia. The group is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help save lives in East Africa. Here are some updates as posted on their facebook page. The video below highlights a donation made by several organizations to Edesia, which is producing plumpy’nut for aid agencies to distribute in East Africa.
Here is the update from Irish Americans Support Somalia:
“In memory of Ray McKenna, and in the spirit of “Honoring our History by Helping Famine Victims Today”, Edesia received a total of $1250.00 in donations on October 9, 2011 from the following organizations: Rhode Island Police Officers Emerald Society, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Pawtucket, Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Ancient Order of Hibernians – State Board and Newport Chapter, and the RI Irish Famine Memorial Committee. Thank you!
Did you know that our online reach now extends to supporters from 7 countries and 9 U.S. states? And that’s just who we know about! With your help we can build this movement which so far includes people in Australia, Japan, Haiti, Ireland, South Africa, British Columbia, and OH, NC, VA, CO, CA, FL, RI, CT, and MA in the USA. Irish or not, we are concerned parents, newspaper editors, committed high school and college students, nationally renowned authors, university professors, business owners, musicians, community activists, historians, and most importantly we are global citizens who can make a difference.
Why now? Why us? Unicef reports that a child is dying every 6 minutes in Somalia and that 750,000 people are presently at risk. We all have something to contribute. Please offer your ideas, your talents, your time, your resources, your influence, your word of mouth, your compassion. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”