An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Famine is a religious and political issue

The moving and devastating images of mothers in the Horn of Africa carrying and dragging their starving and dehydrated children into UN camps has moved me to tears. The Horn of Africa (the most eastern part of the African continent) has not had any rain for two years resulting in a severe food shortage. The extra burden of rising food prices has made eating out of the question for millions in the area.

Why in this modern day are we watching scenes of babies crying in pain and dying in front of TV camera lenses? Even worse, it has been reported that mothers are having to make choices as to which of their children they are going to save. As a result, babies who are far too weak are being left in the desert to die while the family carries on the trek to the UN camps to save their other children.

All they need is food, water and medical supplies. The solution is as simple as that yet it seems as if much of the globe has been covered with a sticker which states 'nil by mouth'. Famine and starvation in modern day is a political and religious issue. We can't keep blaming the weather anymore though there is plenty of evidence to suggest climate change is partly to contribute to food shortages.

If globalisation can result in multinational corporations setting up bases across the world; people migrating to seek their fortunes elsewhere; and the financial systems able to work around the clock to accommodate different time zones then why not a strategy to eradicate famine? It is partly because of corrupt political regimes that siphon money away from the poor and disenfranchised. It is also because of infighting between tribes in Africa who each think they are superior to the other and the Muslim extremists who are stopping people from leaving areas to flee to UN camps. Why has religion become a reason for people to die in this situation?

Christian Aid published a report in 2008 titled, 'Fighting Food Shortage. Hungry for Change' in which it refers to food crisis as the 'silent Tsunami' and states that the shortage is man made. Mothers of starving and dying children are caught up in a political nightmare. The solutions are clear. If you look at the websites of charities such as Save the Children and Christian Aid you will find reports published on what it will take to eradicate hunger. But solutions require a will for an outcome to take place.

It is only by the accident of birth that you or I aren't one of those poor women, men or children. Thus, we owe it to them to do what we can.

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