by Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner
March 16, 2009
“Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.” Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
“Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In Niger, a toddler’s mother shoos annoyingly persistent flies away from her precious child’s mouth and eyes in a futile attempt to ease his suffering in some way—his emaciated face and distended belly portend his imminent death. Even when she manages to find food or water and gives him a bit, he immediately vomits it back up. He will soon become another of the 15 million nameless, faceless children who will die of starvation this year.
Haitians lob Molotov cocktails, burn tires, smash windows, and pelt riot police with rocks in a desperate demand for something more than “mud cookies” to satiate their hunger. According to the World Health Organization, one third of the human population is well-fed, one third malnourished, and the other third is starving.
In the wealthiest nation on Earth, the mean-spirited “every man for himself” ethos forces lonely, forgotten grandmothers to face the grim choice of buying their medicine or putting meager amounts of food on their table and demands that single working mothers forego paying their utility bills so that their children can eat.
Such abject and profound suffering….and so unnecessary!