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.”

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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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value


There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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