Famine, By Definition, Is A Forced Starvation

Famine, By Definition, Is A Forced Starvation

Four African countries are trapped in the desolated state of an “almost famine.”
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A few weeks ago, I began researching food injustices in the world for a final paper for one of my courses. After searching the news for a while, I stumbled across an article informing that four African countries were (and still are) experiencing a famine crisis. I was amazed that I had not heard about this prior to seeking it out. Initially I thought that maybe I had just missed it in the news, although the following weeks I kept a lookout for any reports on the subject. But still, nothing.

South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria are pained with the devastation of experiencing one of the “worst global food crisis since World War II” with an estimated 20 million people suffering starvation. Yet to claim that these countries are experiencing a famine would actually be incorrect, because they have not been officially declared to be a state of famine by international standards.

That is regardless of the fact that an estimated 5.1 million people in South Sudan will be experiencing severe food insecurity in the coming months. Violence and drought threaten 3.1 million people’s abilities to eat a meal in Somalia. Countless people in Yemen are going hungry because they cannot afford the exploited prices of the food available, and 1.7 million people in Nigeria have been displaced because of violence hindering their capability to feed themselves. All these human lives that are struggling to simply survive still does not constitute a famine because the definition of famine demands even more lives lost in order to be declared.

Famine is a measure of mortality, malnutrition and hunger. The measures are a cruel system to rank someone’s agony. The gauge includes that “at least 20 per cent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 per cent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.” The book definition is a way to justify the claim that, "Although you may be hungry, your pain has not yet reached what has been deemed as real suffering."

When a famine is officially declared it holds responsible other nations to extend their resources to assist in fighting the diseases and starvation. By making the requirements extreme, it removes these nations from being held accountable in providing sufficient aid through personal resources. It is a tactic used to safeguard wealth and protect political face. The definition of the famine is reflective of elite nations that hold the power to shape the definition to benefit themselves while others, who do not hold such power, are seemingly forced into starvation.

Famine, by definition, is a forced starvation. It is a “massive violation of the right to food” because every human life deserves the fundamental need to live. The point when famine can be officially declared, it is already too late. People have already been suffering for months or even years. Countless graves scatter these countries physically tallying each and every failure of the international community to respond to this overwhelming food crisis. All because their suffering did not match the statistical criteria.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The American Morality Question No One Wants To Discuss

Trump represents a deeper morality issue in America.
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The 2016 presidential election changed America. Whether you supported Trump or Hilary, the ramifications of 2016 are becoming more and more apparent. November 8, 2016, my fiance and I had our eyes glued to the TV as we watched Trump win. We had started the night expecting to celebrate the first woman president but instead watched our fears come true.

As disappointed as I was, I still wanted Trump to succeed. No American wants their country to fail. The Trump presidency has been a roller coaster that I did not want to board, yet here we are. We have a president embroiled in multiple legal investigations ranging from Russia's interference in American democracy to sexual harassment claims. Our country is more divided than it has been in many years. The question becomes, where do we go from here?

Some may argue that the first step is Trump's impeachment. While that is a possibility, in the long run, I will leave that to Mueller and Congress when the time comes. America's issue is not an issue of our president, but what he represents. Trump represents a plethora of moral issues that have risen to the surface once again in America.

Trump ran a platform on fearmongering of immigrants. The same immigrants that helped build our country. Now ICE is rounding up immigrants across America to deport them if they do not have the proper paperwork.

Trump has a long history of racist actions and comments. The racism that was shoved under the surface is now rising once again. From Charlottesville's protests to police brutality, even to instances such as a Starbuck's manager calling the police on two customers due to their race.

America would have called for Obama's impeachment if his morals were on the same level as Trump's. Trump rebels against what a white Christian American majority preaches. He has had multiple wives (divorces), multiple affair scandals, etc. Yet Americans keep making excuses for him. It is time to stop. Stop making excuses for Trump and justifying your own vote that got us here. Start addressing the issues that are coming to the surface.

I see conservatives saying it isn't a "gun" issue, it is a heart issue that is causing gun violence across our country. If you can believe that, why won't you believe the same goes for our president? That the same goes for the racism and sexism plaguing America. When we have to teach African American boys what to do to survive, something is wrong with our country. Something big.

America's heart needs to be fixed and it has been a long time coming. Years and years of injustices have occurred without a reckoning. Without a moment of truth for those who have ignored the many issues in America. I can only hope that our moment of truth is coming now.

Examine your morals and discover where they derive. Are they from religion? Are they from society? Are they from hate? Are they from love? Who do you want to be? Someone who is fueled by hate or someone fueled by love?

Cover Image Credit: PBS Newshour | YouTube

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