Food in Zones of Conflict

Food in Zones of Conflict: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

Paul Collinson
Helen Macbeth
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 252
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qd33r
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  • Book Info
    Food in Zones of Conflict
    Book Description:

    The availability of food is an especially significant issue in zones of conflict because conflict nearly always impinges on the production and the distribution of food, and causes increased competition for food, land and resources Controlling the production of and access to food can also be used as a weapon by protagonists in conflict. The logistics of supply of food to military personnel operating in conflict zones is another important issue. These themes unite this collection, the chapters of which span different geographic areas. This volume will appeal to scholars in a number of different disciplines, including anthropology, nutrition, political science, development studies and international relations, as well as practitioners working in the private and public sectors, who are currently concerned with food-related issues in the field.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-404-5
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF FIGURES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. FOREWORD
    (pp. x-xi)
    Hugo Slim

    This is a rare book that addresses many different aspects of food in zones of conflict, very usefully doing so from a historical and multidisciplinary perspective. Different contributors explore the politicisation and militarisation of hunger, the micronutrients needed to prevent starvation, and the persistent cultures of survival and innovation that grow up around chronic hunger.

    The value of this volume is in the intimate detail it provides about hunger in armed conflicts. Hunger, it seems, is very personal. We do not just lack nutrients when we are hungry. We also miss particular tastes, gatherings, signature dishes from our family, and...

  6. PREFACE
    (pp. xii-xiii)
    PSC and HMM
  7. LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  8. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-26)
    Paul Collinson and Helen Macbeth

    Food is essential for human life. Conflict is a persistent aspect of human life, as history shows us and the media remind us daily. This book is about food and conflict. Both are infinitely broad subjects in their own right, with perspectives discussed in many different academic disciplines. Use of the phrase ‘food in zones of conflict’ reflects a somewhat narrower focus. The contributions collected together in this volume are concerned with food or its scarcity in specific geographical areas in which conflict has taken place in the past or is occurring now.

    Conflict here is defined in terms of...

  9. CHAPTER 1 ‘TRY TO IMAGINE, WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE SALT TO COOK WITH!’: FOOD AND WAR IN SIERRA LEONE
    (pp. 27-38)
    Susan Shepler

    In early 2001, I was talking with people in the village of Rogbom,¹ a village about ten miles outside Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Although the war was still officially on going, things had been calm in the area for some time. My purpose was to try to understand the events of less than two years before, when all of the children old enough to fight had been abducted and the village had been occupied for several months by rebels retreating from their attack on the capital on 6th January 1999. After a few weeks in Rogbom, I had...

  10. CHAPTER 2 LANDMINES, CLUSTER BOMBS AND FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA
    (pp. 39-52)
    Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi and Akinyinka Akinyoade

    This chapter examines the nexus between the use of landmines, cluster bombs and related ordnance and food insecurity in contemporary Africa. The chapter demonstrates that landmines, cluster bombs or cluster munitions used by combatants and rebels in Africa’s civil wars and conflicts are currently stimulating crop losses and crop misses, as farmers and herders find it difficult to access farmlands and fields many years after peace has been restored in most ‘countries-in-conflict’. Unfortunately for these countries, post-conflict reconstruction, most especially land allocation to refugees and displaced persons, has usually been too slow to be effective. The emerging situation, made complex...

  11. CHAPTER 3 SPECIAL NUTRITIONAL NEEDS IN REFUGEE CAMPS: A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH
    (pp. 53-64)
    Jeya Henry and Helen Macbeth

    Conflict due to international, civil or tribal war, ethnic or religious persecution or other oppression is the most common reason why people flee from their homes and become refugees. A refugee is defined as a person who, by reason of real or imagined danger from such conflict, has left their home country or country of their nationality and is unwilling or unable to return, although any definition of the term ‘refugee’ is debated (see Black 2001). According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2012 the number of people forcibly displaced...

  12. CHAPTER 4 PATTERNS OF HOUSEHOLD FOOD CONSUMPTION IN CONFLICT AFFECTED HOUSEHOLDS IN TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA
    (pp. 65-76)
    Rebecca Kent

    In order for village level project interventions to improve household food security it is necessary to understand the nature of the problem. To put it simply: who is hungry, when and why? These questions were posed by an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Sri Lanka in 2001 as it sought to move its food security activities from relief to rehabilitation and development during a period of improved security and sustained ceasefire during the Sri Lankan conflict. Eighteen years of conflict and the accompanying destruction of civil war had contributed to high levels of malnutrition and protracted periods of food shortage...

  13. CHAPTER 5 ENGAGING RELIGION IN THE QUEST FOR SUSTAINABLE FOOD SECURITY IN ZONES OF CONFLICT IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
    (pp. 77-84)
    Lucy Kimaro

    The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing ‘when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life’ (Food and Agriculture Organization 2008:1). Natural disasters and conflicts represent the two major threats to food security.

    In 2012, approximately 870 million people around the world were estimated to be chronically undernourished (Food and Agriculture Organization 2012:1). Conflict is a significant cause of undernourishment, since it hinders the production, distribution and consumption of food. This is particularly the case in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region which is highly food insecure....

  14. CHAPTER 6 LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION IN ZONES OF CONFLICT IN THE NORTHERN BORDER OF MEXICO
    (pp. 85-94)
    Daria Deraga

    Drug wars and other related criminal activities along the northern border of Mexico have caused fear, unrest and abandonment of some livestock and other food production traditionally carried on in this zone. Cattle ranchers in the northern regions of Mexico, especially in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila, have historically been important suppliers of beef to the United States, as well as to the interior of Mexico. The importation of livestock into Mexico for breed improvement or the introduction of new breeds has also been an ongoing productive process. Ciudad Juarez has been one of the important crossing places...

  15. CHAPTER 7 THE LOGIC OF WAR AND WARTIME MEALS
    (pp. 95-106)
    Nives Rittig Beljak and Bruno Beljak

    We shall start in a somewhat unusual way, with the conclusion. Although every war has its own peculiar logic, the ‘how to’ instruction manuals intended for people who are in the middle of wars are written on the basis of experiences of some past war that may have ended years earlier. All the instructions should emphasisc this fact, even more so because every new war hides its basic riddle well – that is, the war’s duration and intensity. Yet, these are important factors when considering how to deliver supplies to the military and civilians in a war that may end tomorrow...

  16. CHAPTER 8 NUTRITION, FOOD RATIONING AND HOME PRODUCTION IN THE UK DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
    (pp. 107-122)
    Helen Lightowler and Helen Macbeth

    Several chapters in this volume discuss the disruption of food supply as a weapon in war. This chapter is about a nation’s defence of the nutrition of its population during disruption of its previous food supply due to enemy action. It is commonly held that the British population across all socioeconomic levels had a healthier diet during the Second World War than either before or after the conflict. This chapter will explore the evidence for this assertion, and, if true, how it was achieved.

    The British Isles are surrounded by seas which throughout history have been a protection against easy...

  17. CHAPTER 9 BEYOND THE RATION: ALTERNATIVES TO THE RATION FOR BRITISH SOLDIERS ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914–1918
    (pp. 123-132)
    Rachel Duffett

    Private A.E. Perriman summed up the bitterness of many British soldiers when he complained after one particularly poor breakfast in the trenches ‘the buggers don’t intend us to die on a full stomach do they?’ (Perriman IWM 80/43/1). Perriman’s complaint, one echoed in many rank and file soldiers’ accounts, undermines the official view that military provisioning was an unmitigated success for the British Army of the First World War. The men were often disappointed not merely by shortfalls, but also by rations that though high in calories, failed to tempt the palate and did not reflect the civilian meals that...

  18. CHAPTER 10 SUSTAINING AND COMFORTING THE TROOPS IN THE PACIFIC WAR
    (pp. 133-144)
    Katarzyna J. Cwiertka

    War creates extraordinary circumstances of multicultural encounter for soldiers and civilians involved in military conflicts. Along with landscape, climate and language, food constitutes the most immediate articulation of the unfamiliar for soldiers fighting on a foreign soil. The potential meaning of food at the front sharpens – it can become a weapon, an embodiment of the enemy, but also a token of hope, a soothing relief. The commitment of massive armed forces to battle, brought about by twentieth-century modern warfare, along with intensified mobility of the troops, turned the feeding of soldiers into a complex logistical operation that could involve thousands...

  19. CHAPTER 11 ENEMY CUISINE: CLAIMING AGENCY, SEEKING HUMANITY AND RENEGOTIATING IDENTITY THROUGH CONSUMPTION
    (pp. 145-154)
    K. Felicia Campbell

    I remember MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Scrounging through the boxes when no one was looking in order to try to find a coveted hamburger patty package. I remember the MKTs (Mobile Kitchen Trailers), which were just large-scale versions of MREs served buffet style.

    I remember the Iraqi chicken and warm flatbread that we devoured like animals. I remember the ketchup packets decorated with the picture of a little boy’s head, grinning manically between two giant tomatoes. I remember the Iraqi Coca-Cola, still identifiable with its red and white packaging, despite the flowing Arabic script that covered it. I remember...

  20. CHAPTER 12 THE MEMORY OF FOOD PROBLEMS AT THE END OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN SUBSEQUENT PROPAGANDA POSTERS IN GERMANY
    (pp. 155-170)
    Tania Rusca

    Using the memory of the famine which occurred in Germany during and after the First World War, the political parties of the Weimar Republic utilised food as one of the main tools of conviction in their propaganda posters: political opponents were castigated as the cause and source of the misery, while each poster presented its party as the one and only possible solution. The ‘evil’ attributed to the political enemy was often connected with the ‘famine menace’, and bread became the symbol of personal and common wealth, of the country’s bright future and of honest work. This widespread use of...

  21. CHAPTER 13 ECHOES OF CATASTROPHE: FAMINE, CONFLICT AND RECONCILIATION IN THE IRISH BORDERLANDS
    (pp. 171-184)
    Paul Collinson

    The focus of this essay is on the northwest of the Republic of Ireland, where I have been conducting anthropological fieldwork periodically since the late 1990s. This is an area of Ireland that has been shaped by a history of conflict, something which stems from events during the early 1920s and the traumatic partition of the country. The origins of the division of the island of Ireland can, of course, be traced back much further, to the Celtic (or Gaelic) Revival of the previous century, the various uprisings against colonial rule and, particularly relevant to this volume, the Famine of...

  22. CHAPTER 14 ‘LAND TO THE TILLER’: HUNGER AND THE END OF MONARCHY IN ETHIOPIA
    (pp. 185-196)
    Benjamin Talton

    A decade before the historic Ethiopian famine of 1984–1985, university student activists in Addis Ababa rallied around the crisis of peasant hunger. The plight of the peasantry was, for the students and their colleagues attending universities in North America and Europe, evidence of Emperor Haile Selassie’s callous disregard for the welfare of his subjects and exposed him as unfit to rule. Hunger in and of itself was not the student activists’ primary concern in 1972 and 1973. Yet, among their many differences the leaders of the various organisations and factions that comprised the Ethiopian student movement agreed that widespread...

  23. CHAPTER 15 PROSPECTS FOR CONFLICT TO SPREAD THROUGH BILATERAL LAND ARRANGEMENTS FOR FOOD SECURITY
    (pp. 197-208)
    Michael J. Strauss

    The growth of international trade and the expansion of global commodity markets in the twentieth century dramatically increased the ability of nations to achieve food security, and consequently to enhance their security more generally. The fact that countries could be viable without necessarily having the territory to be self-sufficient in food alleviated a source of conflict by diminishing the importance of direct control over agricultural land. Today, many nations routinely import food in large quantities, a practice supported by growing populations, urbanisation and farming costs that differ with location.

    This reliance on food imports has made foreign agriculture¹ a structural...

  24. CHAPTER 16 FOOD, CONFLICT AND HUMAN RIGHTS: ACCOUNTING FOR STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE
    (pp. 209-224)
    Ellen Messer

    In 2010 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, in its annualState of Food Insecurity(SOFI) report made ‘food security in countries in protracted crisis’ its major theme (Food and Agriculture Organization 2010). This effort followed 2007–2008 public demonstrations, some of which turned violent, in dozens of countries, where protestors demanded government accountability for spiking food and fuel prices (Messer 2009). These situations prompted the United Nations (UN) Secretary General to convene their High Level Task Force (UNHLTF) to address immediate and longer term food problems (United Nations High Level Task Force 2008), and World...

  25. INDEX
    (pp. 225-235)