We Let Them Starve

I once said that Multinationals are banking on the food crisis, well..Jean Zieger United National Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food was recently interviewed by business journalist Philip Löpfe’s for tagesanzeiger a German language Swiss national daily newspaper based in Zürich promoting his new book 'We Let Them Starve' Hear what he has to say its pretty interesting.
According to the World Food Organization, there are on the planet, enough food for twelve billion inhabitants. If today people are still starving, then that is an organized crime, a mass murder. Every five seconds a child under ten years of hunger, one billion people are permanently and severely malnourished.-Jean Zieger
"My book is a book of hope": Jean Ziegler, former UN Special Rapporteur.  (Archive picture)

Jean Ziegler, why you just now written a book about hunger?
My mandate as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food is over. The book is a kind of conclusion of this activity.
And what is your conclusion?
I can finally tell you who are the bad guys. Because I had a day to do with large groups, and the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and many heads of state, I had been long silent.

The book is called "We let them starve." I'm not aware of to starve someone.
's true, but we are all complicit. We are allowing multinational food corporations and speculators decide daily about who lives and eats and who starves and dies. It's about access to food. 1.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day.
What can the individual do? Donate money? Eat less meat?
Sure, you can ask yourself if you should not restrict his consumption of meat, if you know that around a quarter of the grain is used for feeding cattle. But mainly, it is important that we be politically active, to the food speculators and corporations to put the murderous trade. We can, we live in a democracy.
There is speculation in food for thousands of years. What is bad, if a farmer is insured against crop failure or a baker's flour ensures replenishment?
Nothing. But that's not it. The commodity speculation from today does not serve this purpose. If withered like now in the U.S. some of the corn crop, then the speculators jump on that train and strengthen the price explosion. Commodity markets have been "financialized". It speculators earn billions, while conversely million people starve.
How could you prevent this speculation?
While all non-producers and non-consumers would be excluded from the commodity exchanges, so if in a figurative sense only the farmer and the baker would act via exchange with one another.
The experts agree, however, that even in extreme situations - must open the commodity markets and trade remain free - droughts, floods, etc.. During the famine of 2008 was devastating that individual countries have prevented the export of rice.
famines like 2008 and 2011 are added to the daily massacre of hunger disasters, the so-called "silent hunger". It is true that at that time a large rice exporters such as Vietnam and Thailand have closed down the borders. The governments were afraid of riots in their own country. This is understandable. But for a country like Senegal, which imports 75 percent of its rice needs, which was a disaster.
Why does a country like Senegal even import rice? There is still the vast majority of its population of small farmers.
It is a fact that, as seen in percent of the population nowhere more people starve in Africa.About a third of men, women and children are undernourished permanently.
You could not tell a bit provocative: Africa does not suffer because of the speculators, but because it is too poor for the speculators? Because for them there is nothing to earn?
No, no. The countries in Africa have great peasant civilizations with a vast knowledge and a very fertile soil.
Why was Africa is the continent that is most plagued by hunger and the need to import about a quarter of its food?
Because the colonial pact has remained still in force.
Is not that thought a bit simple? Colonialism is for more than half a century past.
But there is still a small, dependent on the rich countries and extremely corrupt upper.Again, the Senegal, the country exported and imported peanuts same three quarters of its food.
Because of the colonial pact was never broken. The Senegalese farmers are forced to continue growing peanuts and export, because these exports, the foreign debt must be serviced. At the same time Europe hawked his food surplus at dumping prices in the African markets. How then should the local small farmer can survive?
Africa's farmers are not very productive. Your productivity is less than ten percent of European agriculture. Are they simply lazy?
On the contrary, there is little harder work than farmers in Africa. They come on no green branch, because they receive no support: no watering, no seeds, no draft animals, no tractors, no fertilizer, no nothing.
Are there but do not prevent the lack of rule of law institutions in African countries, the progress and prosperity?
There is clearly a strategy of multinational corporations, to ensure that a corrupt upper class remains in power, which prevents these institutions emerge.
Can you prove that?
In Congo, an area that is almost as big as Western Europe and where there are huge natural resources, is Joseph Kabila, one of the most corrupt dictators that one can ever imagine, supported by the commodity groups. Likewise, Paul Biya of Cameroon or Campaore in Ouagadougou. Simple peasants can not change that. They have no chance.
What about China? Africans do not benefit from the new competition from the Far East?
Absolutely not. China is a dictatorship, practiced a neoliberal economic policy and has been well integrated into the system of predatory capitalism. Beijing supports the Sudan an abominable dictatorship in their war of extermination against their own people, because it is interested in the oil fields. The Chinese behave just like the western imperialists in the 19th Century.
Again to African smallholders. You have to fight not only against dictators but also to combat global warming. Why do not we help them with GM crops?
For God's sake, no! First, genetic engineering is dangerous to health, and second, that would mean that farmers straight into financial slavery of agricultural corporations like Monsanto. The small family farmers in Africa could be most productive if they only received minimal support. Confirm all the agronomists.
Is not that a very romantic view? The lives of these farmers is hard and monotonous.
These farmers have an incredible knowledge. The lack of productivity is told as the result of lack of investment. It is also a very perfidious argument. Thus the so-called "land grabbing" is legitimized, the large-scale acquisition of farmland by foreign speculators.Meanwhile, it has according to the World Bank, African farmers deprived 41 million hectares of fertile soil. And what happens to the landless farmers? You end up in the slums of the big cities, in drugs, prostitution, malnutrition and mass misery.
What do
the French writer George Bernanos writes: "God has no other hands than ours." Either we change this cannibalistic world order - or else it does no one.