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Hunger in Japan

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“I’m hungry,” an elderly woman in quake and tsunami ravaged Japan told my friend George yesterday.

Food and water rations are being distributed by the Japanese government. But this woman’s community receives only one riceball a day per person.

What can we do to help?

Why not take a break from war and reach out with friendship and affection? It’s happened before. Back in World War I the soldiers stopped shooting each other, climbed out of their trenches and celebrated Christmas day together.

Instead of fighting wars, we could get into humanitarian competition, as has been suggested in a peace proposal by SGI Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.

Which country’s military can deliver more food and water to the suffering people in Japan?

Can you imagine that instead of bombs, all the aircraft carriers, war planes and helicoptors go to Japan and drop payloads of food and water (with little parachutes attached so they make gentle landings?). The military geeks can have fun figuring out the logistics of how to make this happen.

And that would be so much fun, then the contest could spread to other parts of the world where-ever hunger and thirst are felt.

Another contest could be what Yoko Ono articulated last week on CNN, for architects from around the world to design the most creative and life-affirming structures in rebuilding the quake and tsunami ravaged cities.

But before rebuilding begins, we need to care for the survivors. Scobie-John in Japan reports, “…insufficient rescue of those who have survived, the number of homeless is virtually beyond anyone’s ability to look after, people, especially the elderly are in great need of medical and physical help, many are now dieing in the evacuation centres. Helpers & volunteers are working way beyond what they can cope with. Food also is just not around, many are living off one rice ball or piece of pastry for the day, if that. Donations are really needed.”

As Buddhist sage Nichiren Daishonin wrote over 700 years ago, “When great evil occurs, great good follows.”

We have seen and felt the effects of great evil (whether it is man-made, or caused by neglect by man). Let’s set about creating a world of kindness, mutual aid and great good, now.

Donate to the Red Cross (or other aid organization of your choice). Write or call your government officials, urging them to take the lead in sending aid to the people suffering in Japan.

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About Lynette Yetter

Lynette Yetter is the author of the books "72 Money Saving Tips for the 99%" and "Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace, a novel." Lynette is a permanent resident of Bolivia and a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Reed College.
  • They ought to have as special section for you here on BlogCritics, Lynette. Your articles are actually helpful. So don’t take what I say in the wrong spirit.

    The day when there is extra food in countries like America and Canada, and in the Europe Union, my be approaching an end. Food shortages in Japan are obvious because of a disaster (or really series of disasters) and the effects.

    Warnings are going out of food shortages round the world, with inflation leading the way in showing that the world is short of food.

  • Hello Ruvy,

    Thank you for reading the article and posting your comments.

    Do you think we could have enough food and water if we used all of the energy, people power and material resources that are currently being used in war situations and instead devoted them to peace, such as food production and distribution, and clean water?

  • P.S. Thank you, Ruvy, for your supportive words of praise. I value your opinion very much.

  • That’s a trick question, Lynette. And you have been tricked by it. A lot of the wars are FOUGHT over access to water, minerals, etc – and therefore FOOD.

    A better question would be “should we force the world to go veggie?” Do that and you have lots more grain to feed people (instead of steers, pigs, and turkeys, for example). Chickens you may want to keep for the eggs (this is not ideological vegetarianism, but utilitarian vegetarianism we’re talking about here), and of course you need to make sure that this grain gets distributed with a level of fairness, so that it is not the rich Anglos and Europeans who get to eat it all.

    The downside to all this is that once you prohibit something people view as normal, like having a good beefsteak, or a bottle of wine, you get the tremendous urge to violate the prohibition. A forced vegetarian diet can really get that “achin’ for bacon” going.

    Just something for you to mull over….

  • Thank you, Ruvy, for your opinions.

    As we see in Japan, the people are not at war with each other over who gets to eat more of the meager food rations. What little there is, the people share, even though their own stomachs are aching.

    This is something that comes from the heart, not forced on anyone.

    I believe that “sharing” is in our DNA. You may enjoy reading my review of that landmark work by Peter Kropotkin, “Mutual Aid” – http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-mutual-aid-a-factor/

    As mentioned in the new documentary “I AM”, “not sharing” seems to be a mental illness that our European ancestors brought to the “New World”. – http://blogcritics.org/video/article/movie-review-i-am1/

    Setting aside theorizing, the pressing question remains, “What will you and I do now, today, to help the people suffering in Japan?”

  • Dr. M.A.Sobhan

    Helping any one seems helping humanity that creates a sense of belonging to a common stock

  • Thank you for your thoughtful observation, Dr. Sobhan. Yes, we all are one.