Human rights are always a hot topic. There’s simply not enough of them in this world, otherwise the subject would never come up. There was a famous document written 232 years ago declaring that certain human rights were self-evident and inalienable, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was the America Declaration of Independence, whose words still ring loud and true all these years later. It remains the gold standard of human rights declarations. That first right is the most basic, the right to life, to live, to be alive, without which any and all other human rights are pretty useless.
The right to be alive by necessity means the right to eat. In this world 36,000 people die every single day from starvation. That’s one dead human being every 2.4 seconds. Already a couple are gone by the time you have read this far down the page. Starvation is a prolonged and agonizingly painful death, and the vast majority of its victims are children under the age of 5. This happens in a world where food is plentiful. Little children with no disease are suffering horribly and dying by the tens of thousands each day! How can the rest of the world turns its back?
This has been going on for far too long. Even one child dying of hunger is a sickening disaster, the needless loss of a precious young life. Think of your own children, your nieces and nephews or grandchildren and all the kids in the neighborhood who keep the place joyously alive with the music of their laughter and their rambunctious play. Aren’t they all precious, special and irreplaceable? Yes, yes they are, every last one of them. What would you do to protect them from harm? What wouldn’t you do? And what if you lost a child? Would you ever get over it?
Multiply that by 36,000 times a day and imagine the immeasurable sorrow of starvation. The feeling of helplessness by parents unable to provide even the barest necessity of life to their child is devastating. And countless other children who somehow survive prolonged hunger are mentally impaired for life, their minds and bodies deprived of the nourishment required to develop their mental and physical faculties. Who will care for these sub-normal adults? Who will replace their lost skills and labors in society?
Let our new President, Barack Obama, together with the United Nations declare that all people of this earth have The Universal Right To Eat. While we may not be able to feed every starving child right away, let it be announced as official policy of the most powerful nation on earth and of the United Nations. Force the issue on the world stage and apply public pressure on food-rich nations to help starving people wherever they live, no matter what anybody thinks of the policies of their governments. The United States can lead the effort by shipping food on a massive scale to areas where starvation exists. The United Nations can use their blue-helmeted peacekeeping troops to distribute this food, a neutral party posing no political or military threat to the governments in question.
The Universal Right To Eat must be promoted on a global scale and made the official policy of every nation on earth, either by example, political arm-twisting or trade sanctions. Let it be the cornerstone of any treaty, trade agreement or commercial dealings of any sort between nations. This world can and must feed the hungry. While this time of severe financial crisis has many people wondering if the world can afford to so, the truth is that the world cannot afford not to. The United States of America, even in the face of the loss of much of our international good will and respect, is still the only nation on earth that can implement this plan effectively and give it instant credibility. If America makes it a priority and backs it up with swift and decisive action, the world will follow suit. Good will can be as contagious as enmity.
This nation produces more food than any other on earth and can produce more still. We need not demand any reforms from any government whose people we feed, only that they make sure the food gets to them. We can also pressure those nations who export food while their own citizens die of hunger to feed their own people before they ship any food overseas. China and India are 2 such countries. The vast underutilized farmlands of Russia could be put into production as well, and such a humanitarian act would go a long way towards Russia’s goal of regaining international respect, and in positive ways never dreamed of by the old Soviet Union.
The Right To Eat must become an international cause, promoted only because it is the right thing to do, and for no other reason or for monetary or overt political gain. The political gain will come anyway. Nothing makes friends like sharing food, either on a personal or an international level. No one would need to fear seeing American or Russian planes landing in their airports or their ships docking in their harbors like in the bad old days of the Cold War. When these planes and ships are loaded with food, modern farming and irrigation equipment and agricultural technicians and teachers, the welcome mat will be out in all nations. Is there a better common cause out there to motivate nations to cooperate? Ending world starvation is a cause no government can condemn, at least not out loud. The Right To Eat is a right no country can openly deny their citizens and a serious worldwide effort to end starvation can succeed in our lifetime, hopefully sooner.
All it needs to get the ball rolling is one world leader to speak out with passion and authority to challenge the world to be a better world. There are many things about this world we cannot change. Feeding everybody something we can change, we must change. History will look back at a time when 36,000 people used to die every day of starvation and wonder what sort of people would allow that to happen in a bountiful world. And history will record the day it stopped, the day the world recognized the Universal Right To Eat. Let us wage peace on one another and feed our hungry and desperate brothers and sisters. Let them know we have not abandoned them. Give them The Right To Eat.