Friday, 8 July 2011

Feast & Famine, 1980's style.

'The world is swimming in nearly 400 million tonnes of surplus grain....For the first time in history, there is more than enough food......by World Bank estimates, some 730 million people - one out of seven in the world population- do not get enough calories to live an active working life.'

Newsweek wrote these words in an article entitled, 'Feast & Famine'. They were penned in the 1980's. It was the 1980's when we first saw horrific pictures of swollen bellied children with flies on their faces in East Africa. It was the 1980's when this generation first saw the combination of civil war, drought conditions, & corrupt leadership culminating in millions dying in our front rooms on the TV news each evening. It was the 1980's when the first truly global compassion movement emerged to do something about this completely avoidable tragedy. It was the 1980's when we held hands, raised our cigarette lighters in the air & sang 'Feed the world' at the top of our lungs. It was the 1980's when we vowed that this kind of thing should never happen again.

The world is still swimming in grain. We have enough water. We in the West have more than enough. And yet the combination of corrupt government, conflict & drought is once again sweeping up millions who already live below basic western living standards in East Africa. It is moving towards 30 years since we made those promises in hope & yet once again this evening our TV news readers make appeals for emergency aid. Once again we watch mothers choosing which of their weak, emaciated children to save, & which to let go.

'Again I looked & saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
I saw the tears of the oppressed - & that they have no comforter;
Power was on the side of their oppressors - & they have no comforter.
And I declared that the dead who had already died,
Are happier than the living, who are still alive.
But better than both is he who has not yet been,
Who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.'


The writer of Ecclesiastes was right all those years ago when he spoke with a broken heart about our meaningless existence.There really is nothing new under the sun.Have we really come full circle to this again in so short a space of time? This penetrating insight offers no solutions, only leaves us in the dust, mourning with those who mourn, recognising the world really does need a Saviour.

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