Monday, January 23, 2012

Hunger is a Weapon of Mass Destruction

"Every five seconds, a child under 10 dies of hunger. – Thirty-five million people die each year from hunger or its immediate aftermath. – One billion people are permanently and severely malnourished and the situation is becoming increasingly catastrophic." - Jean Ziegler

In his latest book “Mass Destruction – the Geopolitics of Hunger”, Jean Ziegler, ex-UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and now Member of the UN Human Rights Council's Advisory Committee, talks about the current state of the world and the politics of starvation of the poor, which has led to a crisis situation amounting to calculated murder. What we are witnessing today is the worst hunger crisis in human history is. This crisis is not determined by fate but because of a colossal mis-management for profit. The world could perfectly well provide food for 12 million people, almost the double of the present population of 7 million. So what made this murderous situation possible where thousands of people are dying (37,000 every day) from lack of food and clean water? It could have be avoided. It should not be happening.

Jean Ziegler points out:
“The ideologues of the World Bank are infinitely more dangerous than the sad marketing agents Bolloré, Vilgrain (French investors in Africa) and company. With hundreds of millions of dollars of credits and subsidies, the World Bank funds the theft of arable land in Africa, Asia, Latin America. ...For the United States and its mercenary organizations – the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank – the right to food is an aberration. To them, there are no human rights except civil and political.Behind the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, the Washington government and its traditional allies, appear of course the huge private transcontinental companies. The increasing control these transcontinental corporations exert on vast sectors of food production and trade have of course significantly affected the exercise of the right to food."

Food has to be imported – all for the profit of the big corporations. Poor people can not afford buying imported food at artificially high prices. Children go hungry, pregnant mothers are undernourished and so their babies are born with what can be called birth defects. Very importantly, their brains are insufficiently developed and this deficiency can never be recovered. A large number of the infants die before the age of two. Malnutrition is rampant and it causes unimaginably horrible diseases, such as noma, which is far less known than the killer diseases such as malaria, dysentery, cholera, tuberculosis, diphtheria and other infectious diseases. Noma is not an infectious disease but it has been proven that it is due to severe and chronic malnutrition.

Jean Ziegler writes
"The speculative madness of the predators of the globalized financial capital has cost Western industrial states in 2008-2009, $ 8,900 billion in all. Western states have in particular paid trillions of dollars to bail out delinquent bankers."

FAO [the Food and Agriculture Organization] and the World Food Programme (WFP) are two institutions threatened with ruin. The sad fate of those two organizations is that they were both rendered fairly helpless when the current economic crisis took hold of the world. The mandate of the WFP is precisely to eliminate hunger and poverty in the world, but with a severely reduced budget, how are they going to reach their goal?
“On October 22, 2008, the 17 heads of state and government from the euro zone countries gathered at the Palais de l'Elysée in Paris. At 6 o’clock, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy appeared on the front steps of the palace, in front of the press. They declared to the reporters: "We have to free 1,700 billion to remobilize the interbank lending and to raise the floor of auto-financing of the banks by 3 to 5%." Before the end of the year 2008, subsidies from the countries in the euro zone for emergency food aid decreased by almost 50 %. The WFP budget was about $ 6 billion. It fell in 2009 to $ 3.2 billion.…For 2011, WFP evaluates its minimal needs to $ 7 billion. Until early December 2010, they had received $ 2.7 billion. This loss in revenues has had dramatic consequences.”

Capitalist solutions are no solution!

Taken from here

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