Originally published 03/29/2013
William Lambers partnered with the UN World Food Programme on the book Ending World Hunger. He is a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.A survey by the National Retail Federation says Americans will spend about 17.2 billion dollars on Easter this year.Imagine if that spending could be changed, just even a little bit. If one billion of that amount went to global hunger relief it could fund humanitarian emergencies in war devastated Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Mali and other countries.At the time of Easter 1946 Americans cut back on festivities in order to help those suffering in countries leveled by World War II. While the hard fought war had been won, the peace had not. Hunger was enemy that remained. The U.S. Army in Austria, for instance, was helping provide school meals to hungry children.Americans listened to the plea of President Harry Truman around Easter when he warned, "we cannot ignore the cry of hungry children. Surely we will not turn our backs on the millions of human beings begging for just a crust of bread. The warm heart of America will respond to the greatest threat of mass starvation in the history of mankind."
Originally published 02/05/2013
Max Fisher is the Post's foreign affairs blogger.There were times and places in North Korea in the mid-1990s, as a great famine wiped out perhaps 10 percent of the population, that children feared to sleep in the open. Some of them had wandered in from the countryside to places like Chongjin, an industrial town on the coast, where they lived on streets and in railroad stations. It wasn’t unusual for people to disappear; they were dying by the thousands, maybe millions. But dark rumors were spreading, too horrifying to believe, too persistent to ignore.“Don’t buy any meat if you don’t know where it comes from,” one Chongjin woman whispered to a friend, who later defected and recounted the conversation to the reporter Barbara Demick for her book, “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.” Fear of cannibalism, like the famine supposedly driving it, spread. People avoided the meat in streetside soup vendors and warned children not to be alone at night. At least one person in Chongjin was arrested and executed for eating human flesh.The panic, Demick concludes, may have exceeded the actual threat. “It does not seem,” she writes, “that the practice was widespread.” But it does appear to have happened....