Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 24, 2003
Silent bomb of hunger worries peace prize laureate
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
During the Sept. 11 attack, 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel was in Porto Alegre, Brazil, helping prepare for the launch of the second World Social Forum the following year.
Along with news reports of the attack, Esquivel and other organizers received news from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization about a study showing that 35,000 children in the world die of hunger each year.
Hunger is the "silent bomb" that kills more people than the 50 wars that are ongoing at any time, and it is virtually ignored, Esquivel muses. "The United Nations didn't have a special meeting. The (UN) Security Council didn't come together. Nobody said anything."
Esquivel, a Catholic, toured Toronto and Ottawa March 10-14 on a visit organization by KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiative.
He said that on a visit to Iraq two years ago, he witnessed the results of Gulf War bombings which included a hospital destroyed at the cost of many lives.
"When we see this kind of war, a war that is about control over petroleum, a war that is guaranteeing hegemonic control over energy resources and other resources . . . we have to ask ourselves, what are the consequences for all humanity?" asked Esquivel, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his defence of human rights throughout Latin America.
He called on people to reflect on the situation and take steps to bring about change.
He also said everyone needs to become political. "Politics is about the well being of community," he said. "We don't need to be fearful of politics; we need to be involved in politics. We are all political persons."