World Hunger – Where It Is Taking Us Now

June 1, 2011 Leave a comment

World Hunger – Where It Is Taking Us Now

Most of us see hunger as a simple problem with a very simple solution. Or, it may be that we only forced ourselves to see it that way; we make it simple because we believe we have all the food we want, and anytime we want it. We are blessed. In fact, we even have too much of it. Unfortunately though, in another part of reality, about one-sixth of the total population in the world feel exactly the opposite; for them hunger is a daily, and a sad inescapable reality.

About 925 million people from all over the world are currently suffering from chronic hunger. This is not something new. The past also had its share of sad news and hungry stomachs. Even though the evidences today point out that world hunger has significantly declined for the first time in many years the figures are still a major concern and it offers us no comfort at all, especially to all those little stomachs who suffered the worst. The silent crisis that is causing discomfort to a greater number of the world population forever poses a very serious risk for world stability, peace and security. Until hungry stomachs are satisfied, conflicts will spawn in all directions because of it. Forget about personal greed, envy and ambition of a powerful few against their fellow counterparts seeking out more power for themselves and never satisfied with what they have; whole hungry populations will move mountains at will. Until the problem is solved, this will remain a major concern for every soul in the planet.

Everywhere we will look, the risk factors that loom ahead concerning malnourished people will remain dramatic for what they wish to impart, and the results that follows will always be catastrophic. Add to that the various estimates that about half of the deaths anywhere in the developing world belongs to young children due mainly to various complications like malnutrition and other serious diseases, and the picture becomes clear; hope is nowhere near. This got everyone excited and talking about forging some understanding and compromise that world hunger should be eradicated from the face of the earth and that we should all stand and address it together.

But is it really that simple? Can we tell ourselves that we want to do something about it and lo, it will be accomplished right away? You wouldn’t think so. This real problem is a lot more complicated than we would want to believe. The solution will never be overnight. And the most important part is, we all must take part with it. What this means is that we cannot just say “here’s the solution to world hunger” and then leave it to work it out on itself so we can go on with our daily, easy-go-lucky lives. We must make it work. We must all do the thinking; do all of the dirty work ourselves at the same time. If we hand it to somebody, then we all have to contemplate that it can all end up in so many ways, and they are all everything but good. We can kiss all our efforts goodbye.

The world, whether we would want to believe it or not, actually has all the resources to tackle the hunger problem with all the global wealth and new technology in our hands. Or is it “in our hands?” Or maybe “was in our hands?”  That’s right, we need to ascertain first if we have a good grip of it, or maybe somebody else has. You are powerless to do anything great in this world if you are not holding anything. But even if we all have it and can call on it anytime and anywhere we would want it to, do we really have the will to use it? Is there a commitment to see this through? Search your heart first, and you’ll find the answer.

But before we all go further to finally have the solution on our hands and the will to use it, we need to examine first the real root causes of the problem, the interconnection of all these causes, and better yet, how they all came to be. You’d be amazed at what you had probably missed.

The Million Dollar Question

Very fitting, right? The solution should be there in between the phrase. Problem is, it isn’t. And it’s not really that easy. To think that money changes, or solves anything would be the perfect understatement. Enough of the money talks, okay? Money never changes anything. Actually, this is the problem of many; that money, if you have lots of it, can solve every problem in this world. So what really causes this world hunger phenomenon?

The best place to start looking is the reality that is poverty. It is at the heart of this hunger crisis. Regions around the world are plagued with all the bad things that poverty has to offer. They are also constantly standing on dangerous grounds as their already worsening situations are further aggravated by both natural and manmade disasters. People in these areas suffer from natural disasters and human conflict for so long already. The poor, to begin with are a hungry people, and the hunger that they had suffered for so long had trapped them in the actuality of poverty.

As time goes by, getting out from this trap is proving to be more difficult than it already is. Even whole communities and countries suffering this sad fate is no exception. Because they do not have enough money or the resources to produce enough food or buy from others, they will only get weaker in the long run and will have no chance whatsoever to get back up on their feet. Their present conditions now had guaranteed that they would absolutely not be able to buy food in the immediate future. If you are poverty-stricken now, chances are that you will not be able to get out of it, given the conditions surrounding you. It’s a horrible cycle; once caught in it, getting out can prove to be the most challenging.

Natural disasters are a dread that always looms ahead of us; it comes without warning, and it passes through without mercy. However you will look at it, chaos and suffering will always dominate the land. Natural disasters, and the impact that it brings along with it severely accelerates the hunger, famine and the poverty in such areas around the world already suffering from the crisis. Especially in those regions where food availability and production are only marginally sufficient enough to afford sustainable food supplies for their population, the interference of natural disasters can only worsen things. You have all the examples, the drought slowly sucking away the life of the land at will, or great floods wiping out whole crops and other forms of livelihood. Once food production and efficiency has been severely degraded, people affected will have to contemplate about importing food supplies from other areas. And because these countries have already emptied their piggy banks on some other important things, you already have a clear picture.

Wars and conflicts also have their special places in the world hunger crisis. They are as devastating as those natural disaster swooping in on down to wreak havoc. Human activities and their irresponsible behavior are directly responsible for extensive and sustained hunger emergencies. Ever since in the nineties, both short-term and long-term crisis all in the name of human greed for more power has surged dramatically.

When man is not satisfied anymore with what he has around him and his own borders, he is sure to look beyond his fences and watch with envy everything that his neighbor has. That’s agenda for you, with all the makings to become a dangerous one. He may tell stories about stability and security; hence his justified reason to invade another’s backyard. But the truth is, man just wanted more. And everyone around him will be caught up in the process. The conflict man had engineered also triggered the hunger and suffering of others.

 

When regions around the world declare their own state of emergencies because of conflicting interests of the few, gathering the resources needed for addressing the conflict in an area can be very difficult in all aspects. Hunger issues are likely the first to be affected; the resources needed to address this matter will have to be diverted to the conflict, just as their leaders would want it, “Hunger can hold, but our enemies’ properties are much more important.”

Some studies also claim that general poverty is what really causes conflicts, and that conflicts will only worsen poverty. Both ends will always be tied up together; one causes the other, and so on. What this means on the field is that the food problem, or the hunger problem then becomes the weapon. Armies will use tactics like starving their opponents into submission. How they do this effectively is by seizing or destroying food sources. They can also think about lacing or contaminating farmlands and water systems to force the enemy to leave the land. Now, who do you think suffers? Is it the opposing enemy?

Going through all these, we will all realize that physical suffering is only the beginning. This is not to sound exactly just like Hollywood, but it’s true. For impoverished individuals, the suffering does not stop at the physical. Over time, the essence of life becomes compromised, and will diminish, leaving only emotional apathy, irritability and other degrading issues. However we wish to take no part in it, these effects will always mean everything. It affects productivity and other important human values.

As whole community becomes consumed by hunger, poverty will also follow. And it spreads into neighboring regions and communities. It’s like a virus spreading out, eating and rampaging through wherever it wants. There are times when whole populations are forced to migrate to other places just to search for food. Such incidents can wholly disrupt development potentials and opportunities within regions, and it’s where political conflicts and general disorder begins.

So How Do We Solve It?

Hunger is a global and personal problem at the same time. Though we have a feeling of hopelessness with the task, there will always be a bright light ahead, like every dark tunnel with a small, but very convincing light at the end of it. We can name and outline all effective plans to address it, but it has to be a “step-by-step” and an “all hands aboard” effort. If we think that the general solution is found in the idea of simply growing more food to counter the ever-growing food problem, then the effort will totally stop dead on its tracks and we will all go nowhere. It’s not really as simple as that. If we all dig deeper, growing enough food is just part of the problem, and not the whole package. Things will be much better if we consider alternative economic opportunities and greater international trade into the equation.

We should stop seeing the whole problem as a lack of food outputs, and instead look at the bigger picture. That bigger picture is the greater need for better production structures together with other productive activities. Add in the political will or stability, regional security, and everything that we would want to mix in and it will become one big, happy family. This makes for a strong foundation that can address most, if not all the problems and new issues that will surface and sideline the whole effort.

Sending food directly to those who needed it will truly alleviate the hunger problem, but at the same time we must also evolve so we can do something more, we must embrace better economic solutions that will truly end the hunger and poverty cycle itself. A simple increased food production will never do that. We need something more and we need to do it together. If you’re now asking what it is, I’m sure you have an idea of what I am talking about!

Advertisements
Categories: Others Articles

General “Butt Naked” – Out From the Dark and Into the Light

May 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Warlord, murderer, tribal priest, butcher, gangster, cannibal, call him whatever you want. But there’s more, conman, inhuman, ruthless, and a reformed man. The last part is what matters the most. Because it’s the best thing that can happen to anyone plunging down deep in hell, and climbing back up.  And this is what happened to former ruthless African warlord and now renowned pastor Joshua Milton Blayhi. His is a typical “to hell and back” story, where he grew up rotten from within, becoming one of the most feared killers all over Liberia.

Popularly known as General Butt Naked, he would bravely charge into battle lines together with his infamous boy soldiers naked, clothed only with boots. They would proudly announce their coming with their automatic weapons. And their enemies can only get confused in the process, they had trouble understanding their naked foes shooting at them, whether it’s a new form of bravery or just plain absurdity and stupidity. But all in all, they feel discomfort at this new “naked” concept in warfare. For all we know Gen. Butt Naked may have been successful with the intended effect. But what’s more disturbing that Liberian’s had to deal with is the fact that Blayhi had committed atrocities more hideous than man can ever grasp. His practices of child sacrifices and cannibalism as a tribal priest made Liberia shudder at the mere mention of his name.

It all started way back in 1982, as the charismatic Krahn tribe of Liberia made its final preparations for an important initiation rite of its new high priest. Complete with ceremonial drumbeats, the priest is then led to an isolated area where a man in a carved black mask ushered him before the altar, and made to stand naked. The clan elders then bought in a little innocent girl, unclothed her and bathed her with clay as per custom. Then the priest carried on with the ceremony by slaying the child. What happened next is not for the faint of heart, as hers was removed from her body, and was eaten together with the other vital parts. The ceremony lasted for three days, where along the way the priest had entered into a frenzy and had an unearthly vision. There, he met with the devil who had told him that he would become a feared warrior when the time comes. Unnatural power would be all his, as long as he continues and stays true to the ideals preached by the rituals of cannibalism and child sacrifice.

The initiation is now finished. The ceremony has already given its assurances and the priest is now one of the most influential and feared leaders in all of West Africa. The priest used to be Joshua Milton Blayhi, and he was just eleven back then. As prophesized, he then grew up to be one of Liberia’s most ruthless and notorious warlord, known by the name everyone came to fear, General Butt Naked.

READ MORE AT http://mastoryz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=140:general-butt-naked–out-from-the-dark-and-into-the-light&catid=1:articles&Itemid=213 

Categories: Others Articles

The Civil War That Ripped Liberia and Her People Apart

The Liberian Civil War, a war that claimed roughly more than 200,000 Liberian lives was one of Africa’s bloodiest. Sadly, it even dispersed a million more onto various refugee camps in their neighboring countries. It first started way back in the 90’s when violence spread throughout after some failed coup attempts with key personalities within the government. Members of different tribes also contributed to its escalations when several members of various tribes that had reportedly been ill-treated revolted at the northeastern portion of the country.

Prior to that, rebels invaded Liberia from the Ivory Coast. With support from an increasing number of government opposition, they easily gained a strong foothold in the country and that set the stage for the conflict. The gradual disengagement of the US from Liberia because of important events in the gulf war was also one ingredient that ignited the civil-war conflict. A cease-fire and peace accord was put in place in 1996 with an installation of a transnational government of all the factional leaders that were involved.

During the conflict, government troops and various security forces were sent to quell the insurgencies, and in the process they indiscriminately tortured and killed Liberian civilians at will without distinguishing combatants to non-combatants. And as always, the innocent civilians were always caught in between and made to suffer. The peaceful lives that they are used to living with were forever shattered by all the violence and terror of war. Ever after all the guns and smoke had quietly died down, the country still has to lick her wounds hard to heal her own self; and that’s where the truth really hits hard.

Lying graciously on the southern portion of West Africa is Liberia, flanked comfortably by Sierra Leone, The Ivory Coast and Guinea. Looking at it from space, one can definitely say that it’s comparable to the size of Tennessee. The country is mostly a plateau thickly covered by dense tropical forests, with mangrove swamps and lagoons marking their way along the coastlines, and thrived with160 inches of rainfall every year.

Liberia is actually the first African republic, founded way back in 1822 due to American colonization, and in an effort to settle the freed American slaves in West Africa. The society that formed was the direct answer to the slavery problem and incompatibility of the races, hence the immigration of blacks to Africa. Over time a significant number of slaves voluntarily relocated to the colony, where it officially became the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia in 1847.

The name Liberia means the “land of the free,” with Monrovia (named after US President James Monroe) as its capital. But those who migrated from the United States account for only a small percentage of the country’s population while the rest came from the indigenous African tribes. English is the official language, with a mix of about 20 ethnic languages. Many of them have no written foundations to speak of.

With the founding of the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia as a place for slaves to be finally free from bondage, the promise itself seems to be a good happy ending. But things are always never as they seem. The sadness is very evident with the fact that about eighty percent of the total population in Liberia live and suffer below the poverty line. And with the riots and coup d’etat that persisted, the country was swept into an ugly civil war where poor innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire and made to suffer.

What really made the statement was the aftermath that followed the ravages the civil war brought with it. The effects of the war brought at least 150,000 deaths on one hand and another hundreds of thousands more running away becoming refugees all throughout the region. And the children had to pay the biggest price of all, as about an estimated 15,000 of them were forcefully made to fight and kill in Liberia’s civil war. Just imagine the effects of the horrors of war, blood and killings have on the minds to these children, forever scarring their innocent minds of the brutality that war had brought down on them. Surviving throughout the war is hell enough, but dealing with the pain and emotional trauma afterwards brought them to another level of pain. And the sad fact is their lives will never be the same again.

Some of those who were forced to fight the war had an average age of about 15 to 17 years old, while the rest were simply, too young. A small percent of these child soldiers were girls, or young women. These wartime women unwillingly became girlfriends or wives of rebel members.

It was firmly believed that child soldiers were treated in the same way as adults were during wartime. They are also at times being treated more cruelly than the traditional adult soldiers. There was even a report where a child soldier was ordered to bayonet his sister who was at that time pregnant just to show his loyalty. These “small boys units” were taught forcefully to kill without a question, and they were feared by many non-combatants just for this reason.

Eyewitnesses from the United Nations sent to investigate the Liberian war crimes account a particular situation where they would bet on an unborn child’s sex inside the mother’s womb. And to determine who won the bet, they then killed both the mother and the infant and cut her wide open.

While the rest the children all around the world were learning how to read and write, these unfortunate children caught in the war were forced to learn how to aim an AK-47 rifle and kill without mercy. Such was the plight of the child soldiers in Liberia where the civil war toyed with lives.

Categories: Others Articles

The Child Soldier

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, about a 120,000 children or probably more under the ages 18 with some no more than 7 or 8 years of age are currently participating in various armed conflicts all across Africa, with most of them not really understanding the war for what it really is, but of what their commanders are telling them to think. Brainwashing young minds can be as easy as everyone thinks. Angola, Algeria, the DRC, Liberia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda and especially Rwanda are just some nations wasting their youth on senseless wars due to rival political ideals, giving no room for common grounds to stand in.

And because of this war raged own, fighting among themselves. The radical ideas of a powerful few tore the beautiful African landscape apart with terror and chaos that left everything in ruins, with the blood of the innocent non-combatants spilt all over the place.

With the rising costs of waging wars with opposition and the thought of bolstering the ranks of their own militaries, warlords are turning to these young upstarts to do their dirty jobs of killing for them. In the minds of every shrewd and cunning commander, using these “child soldiers” to do their bidding is practical, and cheap.

For every war commanders face the daunting task of building up their armies, and that can be very expensive. Using children to fill in the ranks can prove to be very cheap, and there it was. Plus there is that added bonus that these children can be easily prepared, mentally that is. Clearly they will never become as efficient as real soldiers can ever be, but their mindsets can be easily conditioned to be pointed to where their commanders would want their guns to be pointed at.

Whether everyone likes it or not, there will always be risks when children takes up arms to fight, be it on their own side of the conflict, or to that of their enemies. And everyone everywhere knows that. In addition to the clear and very obvious risks that apply to real adult soldiers on the battlefield, child soldiers are often and will always be at a clear disadvantage as combatants. The immaturity in their thinking leads them to great risks everytime they step into the battlefield, and especially of the field. It may be safe to assume that everywhere they go is a high risk potential particularly if they are carrying their those hideous AK-47 automatic rifles with them. They are just loose cannons with, ready to go off anytime and anywhere. And that makes them very dangerous.

Because they are still young and are considered by their adult counterparts as fresh meat from the grinder, they all have this dangerous attitude of showing everyone that they are strong, capable and fearless to all things, especially with their enemies. And also because they are still too young to understand war, they all think that it’s all just a game. As commanders of various armies perceived them to be very cheap commodities, they only received little or no training at all; and are openly thrust into the battle lines. Training can be expensive; and besides commanders do not rely on them at all in the battlefield, so why spend precious resources just to train them?

If we all look at it this way, those child soldiers are being hammered by both sides in the battlefield. Not only are the other side trying to shut them down, their own side threw them away into the frontlines without proper training. That makes their chances for survival very slim.

And that is also a very hideous way of destroying a child’s future; not only his own soul was destroyed by having to witness and participate in the killings and shooting down innocent non-combatants, they were also made to witness all the horrors that comes with war. They were also made to suffer even inside their own barracks, with very poor living conditions and access to little food and water. In short they were treated as animals. Why should they be treated like real combatants?  They’re just cheap. And they die easily.

The truth really hurts but the children in Africa can already be considered as combatants even at a young age of seven. Mostly they would start out as messengers and porters, carrying and distributing ammunition out into the battlefield, or carry food. Some are even being sent out as spies over to enemy lines, which can be very dangerous for them. And in a few years’ time, if they are simply strong enough to handle and fire assault weapons, they will then be used as soldiers.

How many stories have we heard of young children kidnapped away from the love and peace in their homes and made to fight in battles? Children from all over the world are learning how to read, write and play songs, while the unfortunate children of Africa are taught to fire weapons and kill the enemy. All these horrible things imbedded inside their minds will stay there forever; and healing these emotional wounds and scars will then become the biggest challenge in their lives.

Categories: Others Articles

Why Child Prostitution Persists

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

However you look at it, child prostitution is one clear problem that continues to plague the morals of society these days. Anyone can see how it destroys the future of our children. It’s absolutely an age-old problem that had existed ever since time can ever remember. Child prostitution is an ugly world where children of various ages from anywhere around the world are forced to offer sexual services in exchange for compensation or for other considerations like food, housing, care and approval. Why forced? Because there’s no other way to explain it; no ordinary child can ever come into terms with it. They do it because they are forced into it or taught to do it.

Wherever we go, different forms of child prostitution are always present especially on developing countries in spite of so many attempts of the government to put a stop, or to control and eventually curb the practice at the least. The act of child prostitution is usually mediated with a parent or any family member, procurer or even a teacher. And it is in every way unacceptable because it directly exploits the child victimizing him or her in the process. It greatly distorts the morals and values learned while growing up, forcing them to acknowledge the whole act because something supposedly good will be exchanged for the service, and that is in the way of food, housing, money and especially security. And not only that the damage done by the act also undermines the overall health and welfare of the child.

There are laws existing in every country addressing the problems of child prostitution, but one notable thing is that most of them work around it by setting the proper age of consent for having sexual intercourse at ages thirteen to around seventeen. And great numbers of child prostitutes are found in most of Asia including Central and South America. Reports are coming in claiming that the numbers are also getting significant nowadays in the areas around Africa, Europe, North America and Australia. With the demand being global and the supply globally abundant as well, it’s no wonder that child prostitution has its mark in every country around the world.

If we dig deeper still, we will be faced with a darker and more sinister form that made child prostitution a real menace in the society nowadays, harming our children in such irreversible ways that will be forever felt as they grow old and mature. It is estimated that about a million or more children around the world are plainly forced into prostitution each year alone, with the total number now standing at a staggering ten million according to studies. And the grim fact staring in front of those children is that child prostitution does not only represent death or desolation in their future, it is also and primarily a gross violation of their human rights, and dignity for that case.

Everywhere we see very young girls as well as boys being prostituted, with some of them even less than ten years old. They are mostly exploited by the local men in the area, although we were witnesses to reports of children being exploited in harsh ways by some foreign tourists, especially pedophiles. Such things introduce children to a whole new kind of horror, so terrifying that they can’t even start to comprehend it. Worldwide, millions of these children are exposed and eventually infected with various forms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). Some cases lead to having abortions while some end up being raped. And there are also unfortunately some who contemplate suicide because the weight proved too heavy for them to understand and carry.

Domestic problems most of the time forced young children into these acts, with some being forced by their families just to earn money. We have also heard stories of survival on a day-to-day basis. But whatever the case, all these things makes children very vulnerable, and with vulnerability comes low self-esteem. And this is how they will be usually target by their abusers. The problem of child prostitution is nothing new and fancy; it’s just either hidden in plain sight or we just doesn’t want to take a look at it.

What is needed today to solve the problem of child prostitution is a well-coordinated global campaign that will directly address it and provide effective and long-term services to all young children who were prostituted and abused until they can be finally removed from prostitution itself. It must then be followed by recovery and gradual reintegration programs. Simply getting them off the streets like what others were content to do with is not the solution. To keep them from coming back, those important recovery programs should be administered so they can get back into the fold of the society. They are after all, the hope of our future.

Categories: Others Articles

Hello World!

April 30, 2011 1 comment

Welcome to ma-Story’s blog.

I hope you get inspired by all those great articles. Please feel free to comment after reading.

Thank you for visiting, and I really hope you will keep coming.

Read more articles and people stories at www.maStoryz.com

Categories: Others Articles