May 27, 2008

Am I Not Human? * Hunger in Haiti

Our blog joins with others to share information about human rights violations in Darfur, Tibet and around the world.

Often we think that our day-to-day trials and tribulations are worthy of headlines. We want others to stop and listen to our complaints about this or that. Our problems are like a gnat on an elephant's ass when you really get down to it. There are men, woman and children all over the earth that are dealing with horrendous human rights issues. On the 27th of each month we hope to blog for those that cannot do so for themselves.

My focus today is on the island nation in our hemisphere ... Haiti.

Rising food and fuel costs have left the most vulnerable populations hungry. The recent rioting in Haiti speaks to the devastating impact of the global food crisis on the poor and hungry. Already facing food shortages and eating mud cakes, the people of Haiti have been particularly susceptible to the skyrocketing prices. While rising prices mean less food for the hungry, a new face of hunger is emerging. Even where food is available, more and more people simply cannot afford it.

Hermite Joseph, a mother working in the markets of Port au Prince, told journalist Nick Whalen that her two kids "are like toothpicks. They're not getting enough nourishment. Before, if you had a dollar twenty-five cents, you could buy vegetables, some rice, 10 cents ofcharcoal and a little cooking oil. Right now, a little can of rice alone costs 65 cents, and is not good rice at all. Oil is 25 cents. Charcoal is 25 cents. With a dollar twenty-five, you can't even make a plate of rice for one child." [SOURCE]

One of the main causes of the food shortages in Haiti is agricultural policy in the United States. The U.S. and other international financial bodies destroy Haitian rice farmers to create a major market for the heavily subsidized rice from U.S. farmers. This is not the only cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major reason that Haiti, a country that was self-sufficient in rice-production 30-years ago, now has hungry families all across the island.

Haiti has become one of the very top importers of rice from the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2008 numbers show Haiti is the third largest importer of US rice - at over 240,000 metric tons of rice. (One metric ton is 2200 pounds). Rice is a heavily subsidized business in America. Our government provided $11 billion in rice subsidies to American businesses from 1995 to 2006 . One producer alone, Riceland Foods located in Stuttgart, Arkansas, received over $500 million dollars in rice subsidies between 1995 and 2006. [SOURCE]

The people of Haiti ask us, "Am I Not Human?"

Drumbeats from CLNMike told us about the efforts of Wyclef Jean to raise $48 million in the next six months to combat the hunger crisis in Haiti.

Villagers, I hope you will take a moment to sit and reflect on our blessings in this country. Then decide how you can make a difference to help the human condition in Darfur, Tibet or Haiti. Here are some options provided by Cry Haiti blog for Villagers that want to take action right now:
  1. Anyone who wants to assert compassion can contribute to feeding programmes in Haiti.
  2. Anyone who stands for justice can join the fair trade movement.
  3. Anyone who wants action, not words from our politicians can call for the agricultural policies of developed countries to be reformed, to help combat world hunger.
  4. Anyone who believes in dignity can support long-term, sustainable agricultural development in Haiti.
On a more global level, we encourage you to read or download the Am I Not Human? eBook for May 2008. Kudos to PurpleZoe for pulling this document together!

You can learn more about our ongoing blogging campaign from our virtual headquarters.

Is there anything that you can do where you are with what you have? What say u?


Don said...

I don't think there's too much that I personally can do. I wish there were. It always saddens me to see human beings starve when food is pretty much everywhere. You know it's bad when mudcakes are being eaten.

Love the awareness, Villager.

PurpleZoe said...

Shine on Villager *_^
This is an extremely important issue. It's so senseless that our sisters and brothers are starving because of corporate greed. The more we raise our voice, the more these corporations will be forced to change their practices. We must all persevere for what is just.


Villager said...

Don - Please consider joining the 'Am I Human? campaign next month. One thing you can do is use the power of your blog to raise the awareness of human rights issues. Just a thought...

PZ - Asante sana for your leadership in this ongoing monthly campaign. Hopefully, we are making a difference...

Nardeeisms said...

Thank you for directing our attention to such a vital issue. Each of us needs to see what we can do on whatever level we can - Regards, Nards

Villager said...

Nards - I encourage you to join our monthly effort. We try to raise awareness of human rights issues, most particularly in Darfur and Tibet. Our Am I Not Human? posts are on the 27th of each month...