Ethiopian ‘Live Aid’ Famine – 1984-1988

The world might have remained supremely indifferent to famine that took Ethiopia in its iron grip during 1984. But late that year a BBC crew documented the rapidly intensifying disaster with reporter Michael Buerk using evocative phrases like ‘the closest thing to hell on earth’ and ‘a biblical famine in the 20th century’. Graphic reports …

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Famine and Khmer Rouge Genocide – 1976-1978

Communism and Southeast Asia endured a stormy relationship after World War II, as China exported its political philosophy throughout the region. Both Americans and French discovered in Korea and Vietnam respectively how hard it was to roll back this seemingly inexorable tide, and Cambodia became independent in 1953 when French Indochina collapsed under the assault …

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Nigeria-Biafra War – 1967-1970

The boundaries of African colonies seized by European countries in the 19th century were arbitrary, representing lines drawn on a map rather than reflecting territories occupied by subjugated peoples. This had the potential for almost limitless tribal conflict as former colonies were granted their freedom after World War II, for emergent nations often contained ethnic …

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The Cultural Revolution – 1966-1976

The failure of China’s Great Leap Forward strengthened the hands of moderates in the ruling Communist Party who favored a more centrally planned style of development. Seeing his position within the party threatened, Mao Zedong re-asserted his authority in 1966 by launching the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. An unrelenting barrage of propaganda presented this as …

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