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Today, people gathered in the rain and gloom in Boston to protest the strangling grip that Monsanto has in all matters pertaining to the growing and marketing of food.

I regret to say that I was not there.  Other matters kept me at home, although I was mentally cheering on my friends who were there.

However, I thought that I should post my  thoughts about food -- simple, unadulterated, good food, and what it means to someone from India, as I am, and why I find it so unfathomable that people are stingy with it, contaminate it, sell it at horribly high prices, and tread shamelessly upon the growers of it.  Equally unfathomable is the fact that it causes so much distress to people who feel pressured into either eating or not eating it, imbuing as wonderful and sacred a thing as food with unnecessary psychological weight and saturating it with sorrow.

Food should be loved.  I love it.  I have never not loved it.  I wish everyone the same.

So, here goes (crossposted on my blog):

I am always amazed and grateful that there is so much good food in the world, and yet people starve.  Soul-crushing tyrannies, rampant capitalism, war, famine, flood, indifference … All of the hatefulness of humans conspire to keep people hungry in so many parts of the world — it’s a matter of intense shame to me.

If you have food, share it.

If you have the time, feed people.

If you have the money to spare, give it to the starving, the weak, the poor.

There is no excuse for indifference.

Don’t moralize piously about how the poor, the weak and the hungry should work for food.

Give them food FIRST!

Try working on an empty stomach — after many days of not eating.

How easy it is for you to prate on and on about how the poor expect handouts!  What about you?  You got plenty, only it came in the form of unquestioned privilege.

It is as simple as this:  Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend to the sick, offer love to all living creatures.  Leave, don’t take.

You don’t need religion to tell you this–you need what my mother would term “manusha thanmai” — a sense of humanity.

It is this, and only this which will save us all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The End~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Originally posted to Vijaya on Sat May 25, 2013 at 06:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A living wage, first and foremost. (6+ / 0-)

    This is my own screaming pet peeve. We have lots of (mostly) church-based food pantries and similar 'do-gooder' organizations around us. They do feed some people. They don't really change the dynamic at all. If anything, they permit our current dysfunctional system of gruesomely low wages and lack of benefits to persist indefinitely by preventing frank starvation. In my experience, many of the folks who contribute to food pantries are very supportive of precisely the brutal 'social Darwinism' policies that are entrenching a huge permanent underclass that requires such voluntary largesse. It's kind of a win/win for the very affluent: enact policies that enrich yourself while further impoverishing the working poor, then donate a few coins and feel that smug glow that charity provides to donors.

    A living wage, and universal health care as a right of citizenship, and a universal income 'floor'. Those are the things we really need.

  •  There is definitely no excuse... (8+ / 0-)

    for indifference.  I have never understood people of the "I've got mine, screw you!" variety.  The world is too small and life is too short to go through it that way.

    Excellent thoughts put together well, Vijaya.

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun May 26, 2013 at 05:52:32 AM PDT

    •  Thank you. I, too, ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, mommyof3, ladybug53

      have never understood that mind-set.  It's hard to talk reason and compassion with those who think this way, but in my role as a school-teacher, I do my part for the world through stories.

      “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” ~Socrates

      by Vijaya on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:09:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful diary! (5+ / 0-)

    We could end world hunger right now.  This very minute actually, if only the desire was there and there isn't.

    I don't see indifference to the hungry and those without housing, I usually see annoyance or anger.  People with their wannabee knock off purses and fancy pedicures will actually snarl at the people they see in their precious eyesight.

    I had a man at my store go off because he felt... no he believed he shouldn't have to see disabled people while he was out and about in public.  Disabilities were something, at least to this asshole, something to hide in the shadows.

    Yesterday there were protests in 4 countries targeting Monsanto and this administrations making them head of the FDA.  I didn't see crap about it on the news.  

    People don't care.  

    Luckily the people in my home and in my life do.  

    There is more than enough for everyone and yet we toss out food every damn day.  

    The very fact that we have hungry people anywhere in this country is a travesty.  

    We are nowhere near being enlightened, caring people.  And that's true freedom and bravery.  

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:22:23 AM PDT

  •  In the purest form of the word- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vijaya, ladybug53

    namaste, Vijaya.

    Thank you for this.  Thank you.

  •  I was there. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Vijaya

    But nobody wanted to talk about their support for Bowman. I'm so glad everyone wants this farmer to be able to grow off-patent GMOs and use Roundup that he loves.

    He thinks the genes that Monsanto inserted into soybeans are just great. They let soybeans survive the country's most popular weedkiller: , also known as Roundup. He can spray that one chemical to get rid of the weeds without harming his crop.

    "It made things so much simpler and better. No question about that," he says.

    Odd how that worked out.

    “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

    by mem from somerville on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:02:21 PM PDT

  •  And it can happen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Vijaya

    Some time in the 1960's the world output of food calories got to be enough for everybody -- agricultural production outgrew population.  Some time in the 1990's we started growing enough protein for everybody to have enough, too.

    And we don't need to conjure up another 'green revolution'.  
    World population growth is slowing.  The UN's estimates of when and how high the peak will be have consistently been revised downward and sooner.  In stead of 12 billion in 2050, it's down to a bit under 10 billion in 2040.  We're already above 7 billion.  We're only looking at about 40% more mouths to feed than we have now.  Increasing what we grow by 40% isn't trivial, but we've made bigger advances before.  

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:09:43 PM PDT

  •  Very nicely said. Thank you. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vijaya

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy -7.8., -6.6

    by helpImdrowning on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:13:47 PM PDT

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