THIS week's paper carries the alarming report of a damning critique of Ethiopian government policy toward famine relief.
It is thus all the more gratifying to know that the man who originally alerted the world to the extreme seriousness of the Ethiopian famine will have his action publicly recognised next week.
The man in question is Mohamed Amin, Head of Africa Bureau Visnews. It was his intrepid, pioneer camera work which first exposed the need for urgent international assistance, and inspired Bob Geldof and others to organise fund-raising to provide relief.
For this work, which had such spectacular and successful results, Mohamed Amin will, next Tuesday, receive the Valiant for Truth Award, annually given by the Order of Christian Unity. It will be presented by General Eva Burrows, International Leader of the Salvation Army.
The citation accompanying the presentation will commend Mohamed Amin "for so fearlessly forcing the world to face the truth about African famine that Governments had to take action and the public made an unprecedented response and for currently continuing courageous camera coverage of the homeless and hungry all over the world."
This particular award has become greatly coveted since first being presented 12 years ago by the prestigious interdenominational Order of Christian Unity whose chairman is the Marchioness of Lothian. Its object is "to pay tribute to the men and women working in media who courageously use modern means of communication to convey the truth in the public interest."
It is not a money award but a plain oak shield inscribed with John Bunyan's famous words: "I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am." Pat Seed, a previous winner, described the Award as "the highest honour any journalist can hope to receive."
Mohamed Amin is a particularly worthy winner and it is alarming to think that world attention to the dreadful plight of Ethiopia might have been delayed but for the enterprise 'and bravery of one man. But this is something that often happens and Order of Christian Unity deserves universal thanks for having, once again, brought to public attention the efforts of a single, valiant individual whose efforts might otherwise have been forgotten in the rush of events. Through him came deserved limelight to others who took highly publicised and therefore telling pains to act on the warning first given, with stark camera shots of the horror of the situation, by Mohamed Amin.
Because of the Valiant for Truth award, and through the many other activities of the Order of Christian Unity, the world has come to know more about the struggle by brave individuals and groups against terrorism, torture, ecological pollution, highjacking, malpractices by multi-national companies and many other contemporary evils.
We thus salute the Order of Christian Unity for its own valiance in the pursuit of justice and truth and for the broad-mindedness of its scope and perspective which is not limited by race, colour or creed.