“To all those with bread give hunger for justice, and to all those who hunger give bread.”
–Latin American Bread Prayer
Some 1.2 billion people will go to sleep hungry tonight, that is if they can sleep. These people are not takers rather than makers; they are not by nature lazy. If they appear so to the observer it is simply that being energetic and hardworking burns far too many calories, when the few they have are already allocated to survival.
Even in the United States, by comparison, an absurdly materialistic and wastefully rich country, there are legions of poor people who may be able to own a refrigerator and television set but who nevertheless go to bed hungry. Most of them in America are children. That’s often true especially in developing regions in the world.
Food for human beings is being pitted against the greed of grain traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Wall Street and the humans are losing.
Financial giants, the large corporations–corporate banks, are in on the scam too. Price manipulation in regard to grain prices has them rise well beyond naturally occurring market forces, cyclically and rise significantly every two years on average. Worse still, when grain surplus nations of the world experience drought or violent damaging weather, which is now commonplace due to climate change that is all about weather extremes, the grain manipulations of the wealthy provide the most cruel backdrop to life in Sub-Saharan Africa or portions of Latin America untouched by that region’s economic progress over the past decade. The situation is better yet not adequate in Asia and the Pacific Rim due to rapidly developed First World economies that pepper the region.
According to the World Hunger Education Service, the basic food standard, or buying capacity of ordinary people is $1.25 per day. It requires no explanation that when people who spend ten times that on each meal they eat play at market manipulations to vastly increase their wealth so rapidly it is the $1.25-per-day food folks who suffer most. Those who live well are oblivious to the havoc they are wreaking.
Hunger is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary in these three ways, for those who don’t find themselves hungry or who are NOT hungry, unlike those who ARE and who struggle to find food and without the means to buy it. Those who suffer just have to consult their stomachs and their immune system deficient bodies.
1) The uneasy feeling or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving for appetite.
2) The exhaustion caused by want of food.
3) The want or scarcity of food in a country.
The fourth we add would be market price manipulations or climate change effects that drastically drive up food prices to such a level as the world’s poor and oppressed cannot buy or obtain it short of violent revolt or revolution.
Let’s let the 2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics from the World Hunger Education Service (uses facts and figures from the World Bank) say it for us:
“Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year—five million deaths. undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria. The estimated proportions of deaths in which undernutrition is an underlying cause are roughly similar for diarrhea 61% malaria 57% pneumonia 52%, and measles, 45%.”
Citing: Black, R.E., Morris S.S., Bryce J, “Where and why are 10 million children dying every year?” Lancet, 2003 June 28;361 (9378): 2226-34.
Just where is the American Pro-Life Community? Here is an incredibly fertile field for their efforts to promote the sanctity of human life in our world. Catholics ARE tuned into this with a passion as are liberal churches in the world.
Abnormalities in human growth and development due to hunger and malnutrition impact 740 million of our species simply because they cannot obtain or buy even the most minimal food each year. And it is getting worse.
Obviously this does not bode well for the stability of nation states where hunger is such a gargantuan issue.
Iron and Iodine health that First World people take for granted, a given, appear as Iron and Iodine deficiencies on a vast and deep scale in developing regions of the world.
The report tells us that all this suffering, death, and injustice flung at the poor and oppressed of this world is due to “harmful economic systems” around the world where “essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political, and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive if they do.”
This is our temporal world’s famous Global Marketplace in action and the very people who need food for survival and health lack the resources to play that market or to politically influence it.
What can those of us among the “with bread give hunger for justice” do?
We can do something to help just one human. Whether it is some well-vetted world hunger project seeking your monetary support or your local food bank.
Trite it may be, writing to key legislative leaders in any still functioning democracy and reminding them to have the nation work to offer foreign aid to help, along with cooperating with UN food and health organizations is powerful.
That power is on full display at 19th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA at Redeemer Lutheran Church (ELCA). One city-wide food organization has its large freezers in the church basement so it becomes a key hub in food distribution for the poor in that city. And, beyond that the Church provides a daily lunch project serving dozens, and sometimes even approaching hundreds of the poor and hungry right in the neighborhood where that place of peace, light, and hope like a beacon beckons people in need to come and partake of things denied them by the power structures in place in our nations and our world.
Pope Francis in an early and publicly published and declared message pointed directly at the immoral and even evil working out of the Global Marketplace.
Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Francis’ boss had this to say, and let us close with this:
“’I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked, and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
-Matthew 25:43-46, Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version NRSV.
Thomas Martin Saturday
For Struggles for Justice
“Speaking for the Voiceless, Protecting the Vulnerable”