Saturday, April 26, 2008

Food Riots, Cont.

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
~Mohandas Gandhi

Whether you are worried about this issue or not, it's happening, it's real, and it's spreading. The NYT has an article that is disturbing (as it should be) to read. Read it anyway.

“Why are these riots happening?” asked Arif Husain, senior food security analyst at the World Food Program, which has issued urgent appeals for donations. “The human instinct is to survive, and people are going to do no matter what to survive. And if you’re hungry you get angry quicker.”

The Poor Eat Mud

In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically consumed only by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.”

But the grumbling in Haiti these days is no longer confined to the stomach. It is now spray-painted on walls of the capital and shouted by demonstrators.

In recent days, Mr. Préval has patched together a response, using international aid money and price reductions by importers to cut the price of a sack of rice by about 15 percent. He has also trimmed the salaries of some top officials. But those are considered temporary measures.

Real solutions will take years. Haiti, its agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself. Outside investment is the key, although that requires stability, not the sort of widespread looting and violence that the Haitian food riots have fostered.

Meanwhile, most of the poorest of the poor suffer silently, too weak for activism or too busy raising the next generation of hungry. In the sprawling slum of Haiti’s Cité Soleil, Placide Simone, 29, offered one of her five offspring to a stranger. “Take one,” she said, cradling a listless baby and motioning toward four rail-thin toddlers, none of whom had eaten that day. “You pick. Just feed them.”

And here is the rest of it.


: JustaDog said...

I have to wonder why people pump out kids they can't feed, can't afford, and can't provide even the most basics for - it's idiotic.

I'd be in favor of voluntary sterilization - chemical castration of the male in exchange for money. The gradual reduction of the population in these poor countries would help everyone.

Diane J Standiford said...

justadog, good name...uh, ok, how about starting...where again? The poorest people who need the most children (since they can't afford health care, thereby making their chances of a child surviviing much less than yours; plus they will need the most labor help, yet can't afford to buy it...) in other words---poor people (usually people of color) should die out? I don't know whose soul that will help. Maybe the mot weathiest nations with CEO's basking in gold and swimming in oil, can come up with more HUMANE idea.

Shouting Thomas said...

Whyh don't you start behaving yourself?

What your excuse for being an ill-mannered bitch?

I take that back. I don't even want to hear your excuse.

Oregonian37 said...

Perhaps if the U.S. didn't tie its aid to requirements for abstinence-only education....

Of course we could also discuss the lack of choice women have in really poor (and generally uneducated)countries as to whether they will continue "pumping" them out.

And I'll say this once, for anyone who cares to or any of the other idiotic and immature mess that people mistake for intelligent conversation on blogs is not welcome here...if you don't care to listen, I invite you to post elsewhere.