< Letter of the New Year 2004 Issue: How to decrease global Hunger?
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Letter of the New Year 2004, #13 Issue:

Dear Friends,


We have reached our 13th edition of the Light Millennium with our New Year - 2004 issue.  Thank you so much for your ongoing support and participation...

With Sir Arthur C. Clarke in Colombo on December 20, 2002.

Every birthday of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the legendary writer and scientist, who is about to turn 86 on December 16, is celebrated in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo as if it is a national holiday. Sir Clarke, who was born in 1917, in Blenheim, London, has been living in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo (formerly Ceylon) since 1956.

We, too, celebrate Sir Clarke's 86th birthday and his new age with our 13th issue: May you live many thousands of years Dear Sir Clarke! Happy birthday!

We dedicated this issue to the question

This is also our resolution, hope and expectation for the new year of 2004. We cannot remain ignorant of the conditions of the majority of the world... I personally believe that each penny spent for a military purpose in one way or another hurts each of us in our daily lives, whether we are aware of it or not!!!

John Isaacs, president of the Council for a Livable World summed it up well in his critique of the $48 billion increase in the US military budget in 2003:

"While the rest of the world is cutting military spending, the United States is adding billions to its military budget.  

President Bush told the nation yesterday that the U.S. military budget for fiscal 2003 will be $379 billion, an increase of $48 billion over fiscal year 2002.  

"The U.S. increase of $48 billion is larger than the annual military  budget of any other country in the world," said John Isaacs, president of Council for a Livable World.  

"At a time when the U.S. should be most concerned with homeland defense and a highly mobile force to combat terrorism abroad, the budget is going to  continue to fund billions of dollars in aircraft, submarines, ships and  other weapons designed to fight the Soviet Union," Isaacs continued.  

"Adding $48 billion to the Pentagon budget is like providing an overweight  person with dozens of fat-filled deserts; rather than forcing the Pentagon  to diet to be more trim and focus on transformation, the military will try  to buy more of everything," he concluded.   

Military Budget
$ 379 billion (2003) - United States 
$48 billion - increase from Fiscal 2002 to 2003
(Source - Council for A Livable World's web site: http://www.clw.org/pub/clw/milspend/ushighestbudget.html)

For the other countries Military Budget, please visit:

* * *

Military investments and spending are the basic cause of GLOBAL HUNGER & POVERTY, preventing investments instead for people's basic needs.  For this reason, most of the world population has been living from day to day. Each of us, must be aware of this --big picture--, and should able to change this direction in favor of all people of the world.

For this purpose, our main aim is to be aware of the causes and to bring to the front all ideas which convey positive approaches towards solutions rather than simply submitting to this unjust state of world affairs.

* * *

The United Nations has a declaration, which states that GLOBAL HUNGER WILL BE DECRASED %15 by the year 2015, which is not enough, but still, that is considered a very optimistic projection.

The Rockefeller Foundation's president Gordon Conway spoke to the House of Lords on May 8, 2003, and expressed his skepticism, saying most experts did not see how it could get any better by 2015, that in fact the number of chronically malnourished might reach 2 billion by then. He explained his reasons in his 10 pages remarks at the following web page: http://www.rockfound.org/display.asp?context=1&collection=8&Preview=0&ARCurrent=1

True Majority (truemajority.com) displayed a very shocking graphic during their September 4, 2002 Rally in New York, which stated that every year 12 million children die from hunger in the United States.

This was shocking information to me then, and still is now.

There is another shocking piece of information from Guatemala during the Non-Proliferation Prep. Conference in April 2002 at the United Nations Based on, what I can remember now, Guatemala asked from the US Government about $5 million in aid for 60 thousand children to protect them from hunger and starvation. They did not accept to give that $5 million in aid. Instead of giving $5 million in aid for children, they gave to Guatemala's military more than $100 million.

* * *

I wonder, will Non-Governmental-Organizations be able to bring in long lasting solutions to decrease global hunger? If not, what may be some other channels or coalitions, whether on a local, national or global level?

Also, can the World Bank, though its record is being called more and more into question, can it begin to play a major role towards a solution?  Or are some of the major international foundations and the UN willing to work together for solutions? Or can the UN be able to switch its spending from "peace keeping" troops to investing those funds instead in food, children's health, K-12 & higher education, vocational schools, job opportunities, and housing in those ruined countries? Over all, what can it do to lessen drastically global hunger and poverty?

* * *

I can develop more questions on the issue but I do not have a definite answer yet.  Some might point to the need to invest and research and implement new technologies, while others think it is more a matter of reorganizing the structure of our trade, the way our food is grown, and distributed.  Once again, it is undeniable that world wide hunger has been increasing and is directly related to the growth of the war business in each and every country, which preempts all sorts of progressive spending, including for instance on alternative energy, which would reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and a good deal of our reasons for going to war.  It is very important to be aware of the deeper causality, instead of just pointing to the resulting poverty, lack of education and underdevelopment.  While perhaps it is not purely money that will solve the problem, changing this outrageous imbalance in our spending priorities would definitely be an essential step.  Along with making more funds available, and ensuring a democratic process, we must carefully craft our strategy with cooperation between governments, corporations, and non-governmental organizations, as one big global family, in order to invest to elevate social standards for all.   And each of us should invest in our own way to make things better within our capacity as individuals.

* * *

A Summary of the Dedication Issue:

During a summer e-announcement we announced our theme and invited all participants as well as potential thinkers and writers--and that means each of you--to submit your ideas on "How To Decrease Global Hunger?" Only Babur Albayrak submitted his article by the October 31st deadline.  I was very disappointed and began thinking that nobody really cared...

Still, I was determined to obtain at least 3 - 5 articles on this immense and very important subject.  Even if we couldn't get more than one article, our dedication issue would remain the same.  At least, this would be a beginning, and open a new channel for ongoing submissions on the topic. Then, I had a wonderful message from Marianne A. Kinzer from Chicago, that she was going to contribute an article on the Adelante Organization, which fights back with "micro credit" against poverty and hunger in Honduras.  When I received Marianne's article I was full of hope, and wished to be able to make similar efforts to Adelante's...

Marianne's article has circulated a new energy for the LM. Geraldine Green contacted us from Northern England at the same time regarding Nazim Hikmet's poetry. She had read some of Nazim's poems on the Light Millennium, and was willing to contribute her poems to the LM. We have quickly developed good communication and friendship with Geraldine, and I asked her if she knows anyone who can contribute on the dedication issue. Via Geraldine, Harvey Tordoff and Maureen King also contributed their ideas on this issue.

Below is Maureen King's reply on How to Decrease Global Hunger? question:

"Geraldine Green has passed on your email address and asked if people had anything to contribute about the subject.

One thing that is really important to help solve the problem would be to gain peace throughout the world. A friend showed me a graph the other day that illustrated American Government spending on arms and military equipment compared to what they spend on social services. It was really amazing to see the huge difference in spending in that country alone.

I think this is a problem throughout the world. The Military Industrial complex seems to be in control at present and people need to struggle hard to make sure this trend is reversed and money is spent on decent food and water as well as health and education."

Yours Sincerely
Maureen KING
November 9, 2003
Sydney, Australia

Please also visit our Dedication page for the other articles related to this issue.

* * *

Angel's of this issue

Figen Bingul has joined to the Light Millennium as a volunteer editor and translator as well as a participant.

Julie Mardin contributed a piece, "Endangered: The Family Farmer," that tries to understand why the rate of suicide is so high among the farmers of the world.  It explores the impact of 'Green Revolution' technology, and free trade, on the small family farmer.

Our banner quote of this issue, "Any man's death diminishes me." by John Donne, English Poet (1572 - 1631), was sent by Harvey Tordoff. The whole passage of the poem:

" No man is an Island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the Continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod is washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends
or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee."

(Meditation XVII from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions ~ 1624.)

* * *

After the Istanbul bombings, my grief transformed to an e-call titled, Istanbul: Grief, Share and Call. I received several responses which you can find all together on the MANY VOICES FOR WHOLE page, and also an independent article by Sue Tordoff. Thank you so much to all for your sensibility and strong responses to the Istanbul Bombings...

And wishing that our days will come very soon when we have the power to protect every human being from any unnatural death and all sort of evil practices.

As closure to this letter, once again, our New Year 2004 message to all:

Why don't we plant olive trees as many as we can to keep up our hopes!
We wish you a happy, healthy, peaceful New-Year 2004 full of Olive Trees, with love, hope and light for the rest of your lives...

Be in peace, love and light,

Bircan Ünver
December 7, 2003
New York

This issue is dedicated to How To Decrease Global Hunger?
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