Blog Action Day 2011

I missed this one last year. But this time I’ve had a few invitations one of which came from VSO. So I had to remember this time around. The theme for this year is food and Vietnam, where VSO sent me as a volunteer, has still a fair amount of food shortage.

That’s actually not accurate. There is no actual food shortage as the country is one of the top rice exporters. There is definitely no access to food though for a fair number of people. In fact outside of the cities the poverty levels can easily reach 17%. And poverty brings with it a lack of food because there is not enough money in the household. Even child malnutrition is still high and the VN government looks to nursery schools to fill those little tummies.

But one would expect there to be these sorts of stats in a developing country such as Vietnam. It’s not so great to see people not getting enough food in countries such as the USA which one considers to be a developed world power. Surely the USA can make sure its citizens get sufficient food?

But it doesn’t seem to be the case. More Americans are unable to feed themselves than one can imagine. In 2010 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households of which 16.2 million were children. (Stats: Feeding America).

That’s a frightening statistic. This is the country whose budget for the Department of Defense was $680 billion for the 2010 fiscal year.

Even just a small portion of this budget moved towards feeding the starving people of the USA could make a difference.

There is an unwillingness world wide by governments to look after their people. Which is truly bizarre considering that that is exactly what they are voted in for by the very same people. Elected governments are supposed to look after their citizens. That is the only reason why they are in government. Yet they don’t. Not even close. In fact they almost seem to do the opposite. Cameron for instance, the Brit Prime Minister seems to be actively working against his folk.

Or you have Obama bailing out the banks and insurance companies, the motor industry and anybody else with their hand out while ignoring 48.8 million people who do not have enough food.

At the end of the day the world makes enough food to feed its people. It’s just that food gets priced so high that more and more people cannot afford to pay for it. Money making schemes for a few wealthy farmers and GM seed makers. Water that gets diverted to serve greedy industrial cities, land that gets taken away for big factories so that small holding farmers are left with nothing to farm. And the list goes on. The little guys, the Davids of this world, are constantly squashed by Goliath. And nobody is protecting them. Least of all their governments.

So the call for food, the fight to ensure every person has enough to eat, those kind of boil down to governments that do not govern for their people. That govern to help a handful of wealthy folk become even wealthier.

Have you noticed the number of non-governmental organisations that have mushroomed in the past years? NGOs only have a function, a task to fulfill, because our governments are letting us down, us the people. Why should there be a Feeding America NGO? Why is the government not feeding its own people. Surely that is what government is all about.

That’s the bottom line isn’t it.