Food Aid and Rockets

I heard a very thought-provoking and PeaceMeal-related story on NPR this morning, about how the US has stopped food aid to North Korea in light of today’s failed missle test.

Here’s the story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The White House press secretary Jay Carney was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald article as saying, ”North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry.”

There are so many connections between peace and food here, I don’t know where to begin!

First, as Mr. Carney points out, there is the issue of military spending when a population does not have its basic needs met, including the need for food. This is a form of structural violence, when a government is prioritizing expanding military power over the citizens basic needs and rights.

Then there is the issue of food aid – is it peaceful? There are a lot of claims out there that food aid itself does more harm than good, by creating dependency and by distorting local markets and even putting local farmers out of business by flooding the market with free or subsidized grain. Then there is the issue of retracting aid from a population in need, based on the actions of its government. Here is an article about how food aid should not be politicized.

Then there is the issue of food security – one of the NPR stories I heard said that North Korea is “food-insecure.” What does this mean, exactly? According to the World Food Programme, over 6 million people are in need of assistance in North Korea.

And I’m sure there are more connections. In any case, dear reader, I don’t necessarily have the answers to these questions, but they are thought-provoking and, I think, very important when reflecting upon issues of peace and food.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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