If you haven’t read Murong Xuecun’s piece about China’s Great Famine revisionists — those who doubt even the textbook figure that around 15 million people died prematurely from 1959-62 due to hunger — start here.
Two other stories on this subject are also worth your attention. Foreign Policy, which ran Murong’s declamation, has a slideshow of propaganda posters and slogans that were published in China during the Great Famine. Sample a few images link
Hungersnot bedeutet der Verlust der Ostprovinzen! … Deutsche! Rettet den Osten! Freiwillige vor!. LOC Summary: Poster shows a gaunt, starving, seated woman with three starving children huddled near her and one starving or dead child(?) on her lap. Text exhorts people to volunteer for the local militias and protect the eastern German provinces, proclaiming that half the bread ration comes from the eastern provinces and half the coal ration from Upper Silesia, and without these provinces, Germans will have no heat, no light, no work and no life. LOC Notes: Forms part of: Rehse-Archiv für Zeitgeschichte und Publizistik. Date Created/Published: Berlin : Wilhelm Greve, ca. 1919. WW1 recruitment poster provided by LOC. Original medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 90 x 63 cm. link
Hunger – For three years America has fought starvation in Belgium Will you eat less wheat, meat, fats and sugar that we may still send food in ship loads?. LOC Summary: Poster showing starving women and children. LOC Notes: No. 12. Date Created/Published: Chicago : Edwards & Deutsch Litho. Co., 1918. World War One poster provided by LOC. Original medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 74 x 54 cm. link
Photographer Jared Moossy traveled to Somalia this September, photographing a country ravaged by famine. He visited two refugee camps, near Bald Hawa and Dolo, and the capital, Mogadishu. What he saw — and what he photographed — was a country ravaged by decades of war, drought, and terrorism.
Above, women in Bald Hawa, gather to express their frustration and tell their stories — where they had traveled from, why they had left — while waiting for a food aid to be delivered. Several people in the group had walked for days to reach the refugee camp; many had lost family members along the way. link
For John, powerful images are meaningless unless he feels he’s preserved his subjects’ dignity. In 1984, while at a feeding center in famine-ridden Ethiopia, he saw a woman who’d collapsed near a dilapidated building to give birth. The woman had passed out naked, the baby still attached to her. Knowing Ethiopians to be modest, John covered her up and ran to find medical aid. By the time he got back, a British television crew was hovering and the cameraman was ready to slug him. “He was pissed that I ruined this Pulitzer Prize-winning shot,” John says. His voice quivers as he remembers his mother’s advice: “Human dignity is more important than Pulitzer Prize-winning.” link