- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
Sam and Esther – starvation in Africa
Starvation kills 25000 daily
“To look into the face of a suffering child is to see the depth of humanity ...love is all that matters.” - from the video.
Despite the fact that the world produces more food than is needed to feed everyone on earth, the number of people who, according to the United Nations World Food Programme, do not have sufficient food to maintain life exceeds the total population of the United States, Canada and the European Union. More than 25000 people, adults and children, die of starvation every day. That's EVERY DAY! And every six seconds - say that again – every six seconds a child dies of starvation-related causes. So between the time I started writing that sentence and when the sentence was finished, another child had died. And by now another has died. Totally unnecessarily, completely avoidably. It is within the power of humanity, it is technologically possible, to prevent these deaths.
And still the dying goes on.
- Helping others from poverty
That is a question i am asking to myself. I like to travel to a lot of different places in the world, but when i see children with malnutrition, hunger, poverty, and disease... that makes me wanna help them....
And the dying goes on
And while the dying goes on the US alone spends more than $500 billion on defence, on the weapons of war and destruction. More, by the way, than all the rest of the world put together. There will be many who try to justify this kind of expenditure, but no justification can possibly withstand the scrutiny of the eyes of one starving child, none.
And while the dying goes on the religious people get themselves into froths about gay marriages and pornography. Well, if they want to see something really obscene, let them look at the facts about starvation in the 21st Century. Like the fact that 60% of chronically hungry people are women.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation Director-General Jacques Diouf, “If the latest data tend to confirm our understanding of factors that contribute to food security, they also confront us with another difficult question: if we already know the basic parameters of what needs to be done, why have we allowed hundreds of millions of people to go hungry in a world that produces more than enough food for every woman, man and child? Bluntly stated, the problem is not so much a lack of food as a lack of political will.”
Hunger and starvation are human-made problems, not the will of God or chance. That is why it is so obscene that starvation continues, and especially that children bear the brunt of it.
And the answer does not lie in increased foreign aid to countries with problems of starvation, although in the short term aid is certainly needed. What would turn the tide is support in the form of cheap fertilizer and seeds, and help with improved farming techniques. When aid to developing countries has been in this form food production has increased and food prices decreased. But of course such aid is harder work and less glamorous than making out a huge cheque and handing it over with much pomp and ceremony. It also takes more time.
The story of Sam and Esther
The first of the two videos accompanying this Hub was sent to me by my cousin Peter Kirstein, and show the heartbreaking story of Sam and Esther, two children in a Ugandan village who are being looked after by their slightly older sister Jane, who is eight years old and is the effective head of the family. The video is searingly awful, dreadfully difficult to watch. To see those two children, to hear their cries, is almost more than anyone with any feeling can bear. As the narrator says, doctrinal squabbles just become sickening irrelevancies in the face of the suffering of these two innocent children, whose exploitation by the west is far more pornographic than any porno movie could ever be, all the more because it is so subtle, so hidden. At least the exploitation of pornography is out in the open.
As the woman in the movie states, “every child could be yours. These kids are beloved of God and yet they've been given up on.”
Thoughtful Hub by Paraglider on the causes of this situation
- Can We Engineer a Bloodless Revolution?
As traditional leftists and rightists slug it out in the media, blaming each other till the cows come home, the elite, who own no party loyalty are laughing all the way to the privately owned bank.
The story continues
The second video shows a follow-up on the story in which the children have been given treatment and hope and love. It is heart-warming, touching. And yet in the face of the enormity of the problem of starvation in Africa and elsewhere, one gets the feeling that these two children are so little, so much a drop in the ocean, does it make any difference. Of course it makes a huge difference to them, but to the millions of others it is irrelevant in a way. Because the system that keeps them starving is not touched in any way.
And it is a system that is deliberately keeping starvation real. The fact is that food production in the world is capable of feeding more than double the current world population, some 12 billion people could be fed by current food production levels. So it is, as Diouf of the FAO said, a matter of the lack of political will.
And while children go on dying we will go on making sure our pets are well fed and healthy, we will go on enjoying juicy steaks and driving cars which use unconscionable amounts of non-renewable resources, and getting ourselves all steamed up over gay bishops and whether evolution is true or not. Somehow these things all seem a little hollow when we look at the face of a starving child and hear the child's pitiful crying. Truly in the end, only love matters on an individual level, and only justice matters on a global level. To fight for both is to be fully human.
Disclaimer: I have to say that I have nothing whatsoever to do with the San Damiano Foundation nor the Village2Village programme. I am not fund raising or proselytising for them. Indeed I had never heard of either until I saw these videos today. It's just that these videos touched me very deeply and I thought to share the thoughts and feelings they brought up for me. They helped me think more deeply about these issues and so I thank the producers for that.