Opinion Editorial, February 2007, To see today's News, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
By Hassan El-Najjar
Al-Jazeerah, February 17, 2007
While trillions of dollars on wars, hunger kills 18,000 children everyday, as reported by UN officials below.
These are not children dying only in poor areas in the world, but they are children dying as a result of wars launched on their countries by the world imperialist powers.
On top of these children come those of Palestine, who have been under an Israeli-US-EU financial embargo for more than a year now, for no reason other than their parents exercising their political democratic rights. Their sin was voting for Hamas. They have been punished because of expressing their desire to get rid of the brutal Israeli occupation of their homeland.
Iraqi children have been killed since the US-Led NATO embargo (1990-2003), which resulted in killing more than half a million Iraqi children in the 1990s. The US Secretary of State, Mad Albright, then uttered her infamous announcement that killing them was "worth it." Their plight did not end by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. More than 650,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by the end of 2006. Most of them were children, women, elders, and innocent civilian men.
In Darfur, suddenly rebel groups emerged when oil and uranium reserves became well-known. These rebel groups have been well supplied with weapons to fight for independence from Sudan. You can guess who is funding them. Again, Darfur children have been victims of this oil-uranium war, just like their fellow Sudanese in the South in the past.
Afghani children have been suffering continuously since the US encouraged Afghanis to fight the Soviet invasion in 1979. The war devastated the economy and resulted in a failing state. When finally, the Soviets left in mid-1980s, the US left the Afghanis alone fighting a devastating civil war, which destroyed what was left of the country's institutions. Finally, since the 2001 US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the war, Afghanis have not seen improvement in their life, including those related to children. A frequent NATO media propaganda has been expressing intentions for reconstruction, after defeating the Taliban resistance movement!
All over the world, pockets of poverty have been centers of starvation and suffering for children. Wealthy northern hemisphere nations have been spending trillions of dollars on their military spending and wars in the poor southern hemisphere.
Dreams of humanity for peace after World War II have evaporated when US-Led NATO countries have marginalized the UN by starting a neo-imperialist era. Wars and invasions have replaced cooperation and dreams for a better future for humanity.
It is noteworthy that the war curse has not only impacted the poor in the world. It has been sinking the US deep in national debt, which has reached $8.9 trillion. The Bush administration alone has added more than $3 trillion to the US national debt, basically on its wars in the Middle East and around the world.
If not addressed, by stopping US wars and closing all US military bases abroad, the sky-rocketing US national debt will destroy the US economy. Then, God forbid, American children will be suffering like children in other continents.
AP Headline: U.N.: Hunger Kills 18,000 Kids Each Day
By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press Writer
Feb 17, 2007, 7:43 AM EST
UNITED NATIONS (AP) --
Some 18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs, a "terrible indictment of the world in 2007," the head of the U.N. food agency said.
James Morris called for students and young people, faith-based groups, the business community and governments to join forces in a global movement to alleviate and eliminate hunger - especially among children.
"The little girl in Malawi who's fed, and goes to school: 50 percent less likely to be HIV-positive, 50 percent less likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby," he said in an interview Friday. "Everything about her life changes for the better and it's the most important, significant, humanitarian, political, or economic investment the world can make in its future."
Morris, an American businessman and former president the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, one of the largest charitable organizations in the U.S., is stepping down as executive director of the Rome-based World Food Program in April after five years of leading the world's largest humanitarian organization.
He said that while the percentage of people who are hungry and malnourished has decreased from a fifth of the world's population to a sixth of the population, the actual number of hungry people is growing by about 5 million people a year because of the rising population.
"Today 850 million people are hungry and malnourished. Over half of them are children. 18,000 children die every single day because of hunger and malnutrition," Morris said. "This is a shameful fact - a terrible indictment of the world in 2007, and it's an issue that needs to be solved."
Morris said the largest number of malnourished children are in India - more than 100 million - followed by nearly 40 million in China.
"I'm very optimistic that India and China are very focused on this issue," he said. "They're making great progress - (but) need to do more. (It) needs to be a top priority."
Elsewhere, there are probably 100 million hungry children in the rest of Asia, another 100 million in Africa where countries have fewer resources to help, and 30 million in Latin America, he said.
As Morris prepares to leave his post, he said the two issues of greatest concern are the increasing number of impoverished people and the "very significant, growing number of natural disasters around the world."
According to the World Bank, natural disasters have increased fourfold over the last 30 years, he said. That means several billion people need instant help over the course of a decade because of disasters such as the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, or drought in southern Africa.
The response to these disasters and conflicts such as in Sudan's Darfur region and Lebanon has meant that most development aid has been used to save lives - not to help communities prevent disasters and promote development through agricultural programs, education for children and water conservation, Morris said.
The agency's biggest operation today is in Darfur, where violence and security are major problems and 2.5 million people have fled their homes and now live in camps.
"Our convoys are attacked almost daily. We had a truck driver killed there at the end of last year. Our convoys coming through Chad from Libya are always at risk. When the African Union troops were there, that was very helpful. The U.N. troops will be even more helpful," Morris said.
He was referring to a plan for an AU-U.N. force to be deployed in Darfur, which is awaiting approval from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
American diplomat Josette Sheeran will replace Morris, who plans to head home to Indianapolis.
"I will work as hard as I can every day of the rest of my life to see that more resources are available to feed hungry children," Morris said.
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