Friday, February 15, 2008

mud cookies | poverty and utterly sad state of humanity

mud cookiesHave you heard of mud cookies? Imagine cookies made of dirt, salt, and vegetable oil! Few days back Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, a Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Toledo Blade shared an article he wrote about utter poverty in Haiti where people had resorted to eating dirt to stave off hunger. Dr. Hussain writes:

... Haiti where poverty and starvation are forcing the poor and the destitute to eat mud cookies called terre made from yellow clay, salt, and vegetable oil.

Haiti is not, by any stretch of imagination, the only country in the world where people are starving. Poverty and hunger are worldwide phenomena and these numbers attest to that assertion. Each year more than 80 million people die worldwide because they cannot afford to stay alive. More than 1 billion people, 1 in every 6 persons, live on less than $1 a day and a great majority of them go to bed hungry and get up hungry.

There are reasons and causes galore for poverty and being lazy or unmotivated are not among them. For an overwhelming majority it is not their choice. Instead they are often the pawns in geopolitical struggles and governmental policies that favor the rich and the affluent.

One way to eliminate poverty and hunger would be to beat our swords into plowshares. The world spends a staggering $1 trillion every year on instruments of war and devastation, of which the United States spends two thirds, or $650 billion. Having all those plowshares would be good as long as the rich and the powerful would stop coveting poor men's natural resources. Add to that the long-standing practice of wars, famine, and geopolitical upheavals, and you have a recipe for poverty, hunger, and human degradation.

The most glaring reason for poverty, however, is the widespread corruption among the leaders, who are responsible for lifting their people out of a seemingly intractable poverty trap. Such misrule is often the rule rather than exception among a vast number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa and many other countries scattered around the world. They include the likes of Papa Doc and Baby Doc, two brutal dictators from Haiti's recent past, who have been responsible for depriving their countries of the wealth that belongs to the people. Most of these dictators flee the country when they lose their grip on power and live out their remaining life in splendid exile.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund work on big scale and speak the language most of us do not understand. Do we, as individuals, have an obligation to help those who are, for no fault of their own, down in the pits? (credit)

"He who sleeps with a full stomach whilst his neighbour goes hungry is not one of us." - Saying of Prophet Muhammad

"If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew." - The Quran: 2.280

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