It’s official: arms trading countries note: “Wars and conflicts are driving hunger in a way never seen before”
In 1991, the writer stopped standing orders to the largest charities after making a report with cut & pasted text and photographs from their own newsletters (pre-computer), documenting a three-year cycle:
- poignant appeals every Christmas for money to help war-torn Sudan, Ethiopia and Mozambique.
- followed by a cease-fire and aid for the victims
- and rebuilding destroyed schools and hospitals
- followed by renewed conflict and destruction
- and further appeals
Only one aid charity said, throughout this period, “there can be no development without peace”.
The reports were sent to the various headquarters and all replied courteously, agreeing that the accounts were correct and giving lip-service to the peace cause. Though there are still low-level conflicts in Sudan, following the first attack on Iraq and the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, there have been increasing levels of death and destruction in the Middle East.
Thousands of air strikes on this region – execution without trial – are killing people. destroying buildings, roads, bridges and damaging the water and electricity supplies. All rarely reported in the mainstream British media – perhaps because the government aids the American ‘coalition’-led onslaught, using ‘special forces’ deployed without parliamentary agreement.
Peter Hitchens summarised our country’s recent record:
“We are not morally perfect ourselves, with our head-chopping aggressive Saudi friends, our bloodstained Iraq and Libyan adventures, and our targeted drone-strike killings of British citizens who joined IS”.
60% of the 815 million chronically hungry people—those who do not know where they will get their next meal—live in areas experiencing armed conflicts.
Jessica Corbett has written an article following the release of the World Food Program (WFP) Global Report on Food Crises on Thursday, which found that “conflict continued to be the main driver of acute food insecurity in 18 countries—15 of them in Africa or the Middle East.”
Addressing the U.N. Security Council by video on Friday, World Food Program (WFP) executive director David Beasley reported that, largely due to armed conflicts, there has been “a staggering and stomach-churning 55 percent increase” in the number of acutely hungry people worldwide over the past two years, according to the head of the U.N. food agency. Millions of people are severely, even desperately, hungry.
Our friend and ally
The globe’s largest arms companies sold $370.7 billion worth of military equipment last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). The United States dominates the trade, accounting for $209.7 billion of the global total in 2015.
A warning about mounting conflict in the Sahel
Addressing the U.N. Security Council by video on Friday, David Beasley issued a specific warning about mounting conflicts in Africa’s greater Sahel region, noting, “In the five core countries of the Sahel—Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania—acute malnutrition has risen 30 percent in the past five years.”
– but no reference to the potential consequence of the encirclement and taunting of Russia
As Peter Hitchens said, we have no real quarrel with Russia: “We have made it up out of nothing, and now we are losing control of it. If Britain really wants a war with Russia, as our Government seems to, then Russia will provide that war. But it will not be fought according to the Geneva Conventions. It will be fought according to the law of the jungle”. He asks:
“Before we embark on this, could someone explain why we actually want such a war? We are a minor power on the edge of Europe. What national interest does it serve? What do we gain from it? And will we win it?”
David Beasley said that the Global Report shows the magnitude of today’s crises, but also that “if we bring together political will and today’s technology, we can have a world that’s more peaceful, more stable, and where hunger becomes a thing of the past.” His vitally important message:
“The fighting must stop now and the world must come together to avert these crises happening right in front of our eyes”.
UK Food Group Chair asks if The Observer/Guardian is now joining the quislings, collaborating with powerful industrial interests (Monsanto etc)
John Mulholland’s hackneyed article strings together a series of ‘feed the world’ myths ‘busted’ a thousand times by reputable academics*.
The scourge of hunger has almost nothing to do with food production per se – it’s a problem of redistribution, rights and reduction of waste
Working in Kamayoq in Peru at the moment, “where there is such strong defence of good food and local control”, Patrick Mulvany, chair of the UK Food Group, once more dispels these misconceptions ardently promoted by the Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer etc.
He writes to Mulholland:
The scourge of hunger has almost nothing to do with food production per se – it’s a problem of redistribution, rights and reduction of waste. GM crops have almost nothing to do with productivity and produce mainly industrial commodities – animal feed, agrofuels and fibre – not food.
So, on what basis can your editor assert that GM crops will solve the problem of hunger?
As many of your readers will know, UK plc’s AgriTech business strategy, pushed by BIS and implemented by the BBSRC (the UK’s biotech science funder), is to export proprietary British technology that will deliver returns through patents and the sale of scientific know-how with biotechnological and chemical input packages of benefit to the UK – the only technologies that the UK now has expertise in, having lost most of its capacity to do research that supports real food production.
To achieve their strategy, government, the scientific establishment and agro-biotech industry need to have a testbed in a UK that permits the release of GM crops, for which, as government and retailers well know, there is no consumer demand.
Multinational corporations have their eye on controlling the world’s industrial commodity production system
Once legalised, it will also open the floodgates to US GM crops – with the collateral advantage to powerful industrial interests of easing the entry of US GM technologies into the EU.
Those who feed most people in the world, the smallholder farmers, livestock keepers, artisanal fishers and other small-scale food providers, have the solution – developed in their framework of food sovereignty – to the problem posed in your editorial.
Supporting localised food regimes will secure future food. Industrial commodity production will trash it.
From where I am here in Cuzco, Peru, a region that has legally rejected GM crops in favour of supporting local campesinos’ production of biodiverse foods produced ecologically, your editorial appears insular – the views of a little Englander – and rather farcical if there were not a darker side to it.
Is The Observer/Guardian now joining the quislings who are collaborating with powerful industrial interests, which are set to undermine and contaminate the world’s efficient, effective, biodiverse and ecological food systems, so that their proprietary technologies dominate globally?
The GMO Myths and Truths report: one of many rebuttals.
Why is there the corporate and political will to buy weapons and bail out the ‘rich and crooked’ but not to fight hunger?
The LEX column in the Financial Times yesterday had a strange notion:
“Financial markets have helped humanity do a reasonably good job at addressing one of the greatest economic problems of the age. Yes, you read that right. The problem is hunger, once unavoidable but now truly unnecessary because global food production and transport links are more than adequate to nourish everyone alive.”
It cited FAO statistics.
However their graph indicates that hunger was declining from 1969 to 2000 but is dramatically higher now.
Where is the cause for celebration?
In the US, a 14-year record has been broken – one in every eight Americans lives in hunger.
Devinder Sharma points out “the only country which has made a sizable difference to global hunger is China, which as we all know is not a democracy.”
Once a recipient of the UN’s World Food Programme’s assistance, the Government of China gradually became a net donor to WFP’s operations in other countries.
He further adds that the mainstream’s economic growth paradigm – in principle – aims to minimise hunger, poverty and inequality, but in reality exacerbates these conditions.
Resources are readily granted to buy weapons [said to be at the rate of $1 trillion a year] and after the 2008 economic meltdown, the USA pumped in $1 trillion to bail out those Sharma describes as “the rich and crooked”.
From the website of the North Carolina Council of Churches: “With the $1 trillion we have spent thus far on the wars in the Middle East we could have ended world hunger many times over.”
Imagine the howls from the arms industry if – for just one year – this expenditure was redirected to put in place environmentally sustainable food security structures.
It might be habit-forming . . .