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Violence Spreads the Famine, and the Famine Will Spread Violence

Violence Spreads the Famine, and the Famine Will Spread Violence

sculpture by Rowan Gillespie
Kathy Kelly

In relation to conflict-driven famines, it becomes even more imperative to resist the U.S. government's allocation of 700 billion dollars to the Department of Defense.


All those who sneer at the elites and Trump especially (who could ever have had more than to be president and a billionaire in their life?) for a lack of empathy should take heed. A lack of empathy is an easy guest at every feast and every idle pleasure. No one need notice that it follows wealth unbeckoned.

What we in America should notice is that we are all wealthy. Think that is not true maybe? Not everyone is rich? The answer is that it would depend on the famine, wouldn’t it? Oh wait… there is no famine in America (how bizarre it is to see Trump’s incompetence virtually impose hunger on Puerto Rico). We have charities and the wealth to worry only at how to transport food to where it is needed. Famine is where there is no food to be transported.

There lies a grim specter which is as yet still disguised by racism and politics. But if you think like a species, the human species, we are being stalked by famine as a species. To think of the Irish famine and you think of the Irish not the species. To think of the infamous famine in Bangladesh when George Harrison sang from the heart is to think a bit more like a species but only just so. There wealth had needed only transportation and our species (over there) could then eat.

Times change.

Grim? Global warming is about the grimmest news for our species. In the Irish famine there was food but it was not transported to where it was needed. In Bangladesh, the food was transported… eventually. Call that progress. What will we do in the future when wealth is not able to grow the food that needs to transported to where it is needed. In other words, as a species enduring catastrophic climate change, there may come a time (and soon enough) where the species because of global warming, we, quite literally, cannot produce enough food?

You can’t eat money but money can eat up all the food! Hate to say it.

That level of catastrophe can happen. America the breadbasket of the world might not be able to grow enough food to feed itself! Impossible some would say? How much famine will exist in 20 or 30 years given the spreading droughts, killer heat waves that cause falling crop yields and endless fires? Seas that are empty of fish were once thought impossible? No one says that anymore.

Famine begins to stalk our species. We - humanity - have over grazed ourselves so to speak. First to feel it are the drought stricken arid regions and of course the poor of the species who live there. Forget their names and nationalities, forget their race and religions. We the human species live there, what else is needed to know but that we live there - humanity.

Just like did the starving Irish who lived next to the landlords’ overflowing granaries and warehouses stocked with produce for export. Humanity lived there.

Humanity lives in Yemen and Somalia and in all those other places where we are being stalked by famine. Can you see how it was that the Irish landlords could ignore the dead and dying in the Irish Famine? It is easy enough… especially if you are wealthy. It is easy isn’t it?

Then again a lot can happen in 20 or 30 years! I keep wondering if the Caribbean will end up being evacuated? Will the young people of today end up saying in 2 or 3 decades - I remember Miami. I remember the way things were before the mass migrations in Africa and Asia. Remember the midwestern corn and wheat belt? Remember the fish in the oceans?

As the decades of global warming pass, parents will say to their kids - "We are lucky to live in a rich country! Now eat your jelly fish and algae, food is expensive.

For the first time our species reduces our collective food supplies and worse we reduce our capacity to produce food while rapidly increasing our population.

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

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Thank-you so very much Kathy for your extraordinary service! Might possibly, if people world-wide renounced the right to individual ownership, everything possessed for the common good can become a common goal, or if the world could somehow incrementally work towards said common goal, imagine. Hey Kathy, a mutually beneficial cooperation, and reciprocity (mutual aid) world-wide. Visualizing…


Thank-you. You wrote in better words what I intended to write.

I have had the honor to have met Kathy three times. If we all had the fortitude to carry on in the struggle like she has, we would be in a far better place now.

Ms. Kelly:
You are undercutting your message by poor framing. Defense is a legitimate activity. The $700 billion spent by our military are not for defense, but for empire. It would be much better to say $700 billion for the Pentagon. I urge you to read “The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate” by George Lakoff.

I think the $700 billion is contempt for the species and especially a lack of empathy for and perhaps even a subconscious or repressed hatred for the poor. We may use the defense industries as part of our economy and to some extent may even justify a far smaller portion of the amount that we ultimately spend for defense but to do without the defense industries would entail some very greedy people (in general the upper crust of capitalism) being willing to forego helping themselves and instead be more overtly willing to help others. The elites choose to spend money on bombs but hate to spend money on the poor.

I think of this as a form of unreasoning and unspoken hatred that is exactly like that of racism except that it is for the poor of any race. The medieval nobles not only disdained even to speak with serfs but punished familiarity and physical contact. You cannot have empathy for those you revile. In the modern age we have those elites (even the suburban middle class as well) who revile the poor etc. They would spend tax money on billion dollar bombers that will never be used but rebel against seeing that same money be used instead to help the poor. They would see that money used to maintain 700 bases around the world (even in countries that have no real use or need for them except as a donation of American money - a bribe in effect) injected into their local economies. Some call it empire but others know better. Call it hubris or delusion of empire as this drain on the American economy ends up seeing China create an economic empire that truly defines the word empire while mere military presence no longer does. Our empire achieves no real benefit to us and is thus a expenditure for appearances sake instead of an empire deriving economic benefit from colonial interests. Our military even ‘protects’ foreign corporations that exploit us as well as these pseudo-colonies.

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Great thanks to Kathy Kelly for this essay that should be widely read. The authors moral compass rightly and strongly points to the truth. Tragically her words will not be accepted or acted-on by the ruling class wealthy or today’s political charlatans, or likely even understood.

“accepting a belief that our “way of life” is non-negotiable”, our supposed exceptionalism immune from disaster, and the morally depraved, isolated ultra-wealthy allowed to buy the future - the U.S. government’s allocation of $700 billion to fund war and death to “protect” that way of life an obscenity of vast proportions.

After Kathy Kelly’s words these may seem out of place, but they emphasis her’s and how far our current leaders have come from any moral compass, empathy, or common decency - experience replaced by ignorance.

“In vast stretches of the earth, men (and women) awoke today in hunger. They will spend the day in unceasing toil. And as the sun goes down they will still know hunger. They will see suffering in the eyes of their children. Many despair that their labor will ever decently shelter their families or protect them against disease. So long as this is so, peace and freedom will be in danger throughout our world. For wherever free men lose hope of progress, liberty will be weakened and the seeds of conflict will be sown.” - DDE, 1958

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road. the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Dwight David Eisenhower, 1953

Even here on CD this essay and truth-telling gets little response. There were other massive diversions in the news granted, but the number of readers/comments is still very disappointing. Violence isn’t only military or madman, or weather related, it is social and environmental and financial and medical and educational.

Famine caused by racist/religious/political war or any other factor, along with consequent disease and death, are ignored as are so many other abuses by wealth and ease - by the people that control the direction of our planet earth, who take far more than they give, even to the lives and deaths of others, often millions, without a second (or even first) thought - the media is complicit and responsible for failure to do its job to fully and truthfully inform.

I urge the author and CD to re-visit this issue/essay, hopefully at a time of somewhat less “newsworthy” headlines diverting attention when it may garner more exposure and thought.

Life is just a game in this Matrix. Enjoy the ride. Do not contribure with negativity. Intent is energy. So keep your intent positive and happy. It will all soon be played out.