“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Thursday, October 15, 2009

World Food Day

Every 6 seconds a child dies of malnutrition. In some of Africa's poorest countries, families are cutting school, clothes and basic medical care just to give their children one meal a day. A record one billion people throughout the entire world are hungry and this will only increase if more is not spent on agriculture. The U.N. food agency reports 30 countries now require emergency aid, including 20 in Africa alone.

Somalia, ravaged by violence and anarchy for almost two decades has seen the monthly expenditure for food and other basic needs rise 85% in the past two years. A family of 6 spent $92 in March 2007 while the same amount of food in September 2009 cost $171.

In Kenya,
herders have seen scores of their animals die and crops have withered
because of drought. Today, 3.8 million people in Kenya need food aid,
up from 2.5 million earlier in the year. The world's most populous region, Asia and the Pacific, has the largest number of hungry people — 642 million — followed by Sub-Saharan Africa with 265 million.

Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said world leaders
are starting to understand that investment in agriculture must be
increased. He cited the goal set by the Group of Eight summit in
L'Aquila, Italy, in July to raise $20 billion to help farmers in poor
countries produce more — a shift from previous emphasis on delivering
food aid.

However, more investments will be needed to fulfill pledges like the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve the number of those living in hunger and poverty by 2015.

The FAO says global food output will have to increase by 70 percent to feed a projected population of 9.1 billion in 2050.

To achieve that, poor countries will need $44 billion in annual
agricultural aid, compared with the current $7.9 billion, to increase
access to irrigation systems and modern machinery as well as build
roads and train farmers.

I think today is the end of all things conventional,

Whatever had been predictable yesterday, is no more.

Forks and spoons are too rusted to use,

Jutting out of us like some perished nightmare.

Dining room tables are being used for makeshift mausoleums,

(Leave the dead, don’t waste precious energy.)

Electricity went out this morning, water this afternoon.

It reaches everywhere; the world reeks of a decomposing.

There’s a deafening silence ticking down like a giant clock;

Nothing can be heard, save the monstrous, shrieking echo of silence

That swims over our heads like crop-dusters spitting flesh.

We are so goddamn frightened! Is this the end of the world?

Has our greed and apathy finally made its way back to us?

Have our closed hands and open mouths at last climbed inside our minds?

Where are all the loud children skipping home from school?

What day is this? What time is it? What has happened?

At night there will be fireflies and the moon to feebly reassure us.

Everything we’ve ever been told about death and hunger and this moment

Sounds stupid.

All the times we’ve been told of it or witnessed such present horror

Is now speechless.

Everything is so horrifyingly quiet! The mask of life itself is waning

Like leaves falling upon autumn’s sword.

To our hands, the children. To our feast, the world

Now shaking off its parasites with winter’s cold harmony.

Of our hands, the stillness. Of our hunger, the stench

Masking any good that has ever been grown in the field

Or expressed with the sustenance of any true and decent love.

© 2009 mrp/thepoetryman


niar said...

lets promote a better food access for every people in the world...
I always get a new and inspiring information by read your blog. nice post..

ettarose said...

niar, you are such a sweet lady. I am proud when you read what I have written. I hope you are healthy and happy.


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