The hacker or hackers who shut down Twitter (no tragedy to a great many people) briefly the other day turned out to be targeting one particular Twit. That would be some professor from Georgia (the country, not the Peach State) who was blogging about the events of the Russian invasion of Georgia on the first anniversary of that date. Not for nothing, but not too many people outside of those two places hold much fascination for that war. It seems both sides behaved abominably, with Russia getting more abominable points simply because they had the bigger and better army, which generally kicked Georgian rump and stayed too long at the dance, taking their sweet time leaving the neighborhood. While the world registered their usual outrage and the U.N. issued their standard strongly worded condemnation, basically in the scheme of things that region of the world is a big yawn nowadays and few remembered that war’s first birthday.
Before the Twitter attack, no one recalls this professor inflaming anybody over the injustice of it all. The Twits were simply upset that they lost out on discovering what Ashton Kutcher ate for breakfast that day and don’t give a rat’s ass about all that much else. The Russian-Georgia war was only a curious side bar at best in the news reports about the Twitter outage. So, were the Russians up to their shenanigans again, like when they killed that spy in London with poison or disfigured the president of Ukraine with a different poison a few years back? Well, that didn’t work out so well for them as far as filling the world with fearful trembling at their might. The reaction was more like “You guys still here? Didn’t the Soviet Union collapse like what, 20 years ago? Not for nothing, Vlad, but your country’s salad days as an evil empire are long gone. You’re a medium power with only half the population you used to have and now you’re just annoying. Get over yourself!”
And so it goes with public perception. What seemed earth shattering to this professor and his would-be censors means squat to most of the world. But Vlad the Wannabe Impaler is not the only person or cause that bores the public. Take starvation for example. Okay, don’t take it, but just consider it. Today 36,000 people died from starvation. The forecast? Tomorrow: more of the same. The next day: more of the same. The next, day: ditto! And the next day and the next day and the next one after that. That adds up to 13.2 million people every single year, the vast majority of them children under the age of five. World War 2, on the other hand, a war that claimed 61 million lives in 7 years, maintains a firm grip on humanity’s imagination and interest. Since that war ended 64 years ago, 845 million human beings have died of hunger.
Outside of 845 million sets of parents, no one seems to consider this unacceptable. In a world where a pandemic is declared for a relatively mild strain of the flu simply because the authorities insisted they were right about its deadliness when they were only dead wrong but wouldn’t be denied their damned pandemic out of sheer mulishness and self-importance, no one declares any sort of emergency to a worldwide catastrophe killing 13 million children every single year. Children! And it’s not even a matter of finding a cure for this condition or providing and distributing a new serum as the virus mutates and becomes resistant to the medicine. Starvation is hardly so dramatic. No, the cure is much more mundane than that and was invented a long, long time ago. Its called food and no one is immune to its restorative effects. Not for nothing, but this is one damned bountiful planet and food can be shipped to the starving children, but just isn’t.
Is this a tacit form of population control? Seems pretty cruel if that’s the case. There are few more prolonged and painful deaths than starving to death, and a horrible fate for a child who has done no wrong except being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why is there no colossal World Food Bank ready to ship foodstuffs at a moment’s notice? Wealthy nations are teeming with food. Why not use their surplus food as their dues to the United Nations in lieu of money? Why not penalize nations with starving people that export food? And what ever happened to the Peace Corps, that not only fed the hungry but taught them how to farm more effectively? Why haven’t more nations formed their own Peace Corps? What, it was a bad idea? While we’re at it, how about helping the Third World purify their water?
Why pure water? Well, that would be the second worst ongoing plague in the world, claiming 6 to 8 million lives annually from impure water-related diseases. No, not a shortage of water, which is another huge problem altogether in many locations, but people drinking water from tainted wells and rivers fouled by industrial pollution or the raw sewage of human and animal excrement. Yes, raw sewage in human drinking water and all the microbes and disease that implies. Add that to the starvation deaths and that’s the total World War 2 dead matched every 3 years for what amounts to the entire population of China (1.3 billion) dying unnatural deaths since that war ended. Completely avoidable deaths, at that. All the volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and wars combined during this period have not killed anywhere near that amount of people.
Not for nothing, but as a Broadway song demands of us, where is the love? Sounds corny, no? Sappy even. Think that if you will, and turn the page. Go Twitter somebody about what somebody else told you that they heard from their friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law, who got it from his buddy, who swore he heard something nasty about some vacuous jackass somewhere so it must be true, OMG! Search out something exciting to read about, like what drunken bimbo threw a drink in what fool’s face in some swanky joint that will never admit the likes of you. If you are uncomfortable with love, stay on your Twitter and chat rooms and never have to deal with living, breathing human beings and lol to your heart’s content. Odds are that a lot of those types never actually laugh out loud, or cry or feel joy or devastation or triumph or sorrow or elation or anger or tender kindness. Or very much of anything at all.
All these human emotions are vitally important, but none as important as love, without which we are nothing. And 20 million people die every year wondering where is the love, and their 20 million families grieve with all their hearts, all the real and powerful love within them. They ask very little, maybe some wheat, some seeds to plant, some clean water, a little medicine perhaps. And the rest of us worry about waiting an extra half a second between web sites, like we’re all so important and have so damned much important shit to do. Please! Send some money, even if it’s only a few dollars, to any of the thousands of charities that feed the hungry. Look them up at the Charity Navigator website to make sure the money goes where they say it does. Show the world your love and urge others to do the same. If you do this, the world will be a better place tomorrow, and you’ll be a better person. Your brothers and sisters are waiting. Don’t let them down. 20 million mothers will be grateful for not having to bury their child and you’ll have something very positive to Twitter about tomorrow: love. Not for nothing, but anyone have a better idea than love? We’re all ears…