Did any of you hear the speech that Brazilian president Luis da Silva
made to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday? He spoke right before
President Bush. He had a lot to say about hunger. Here are some
The eradication of hunger
in the world is a moral and political imperative. And we all know that it
is possible. What is truly required is political will. . . . Nothing is more
absurd or intolerable than the pervasiveness of hunger in the XXI century, the
golden age of science and technology.
Hunger is an emergency and should be dealt
with as such.
The eradication of hunger
is a civilizational challenge which requires that we seek a shortcut to the
Will we act to eliminate hunger or will we
forsake our credibility through omission?
. . . We have no right to say to the
famished that have waited for so long: wait for another century.
The true path to peace is to fight
hunger and extreme poverty without truce, in a campaign of solidarity that
unites the planet rather than by deepening the divisions and the hatred that
inflames people and sows terror.
Despite the failure of systems that favor the generation of
wealth without reducing extreme poverty, many people still persist in
short-sightedness and greed.
. . . That is why I
launched the "Zero Hunger" program in Brazil. It seeks to eradicate
hunger and its root causes in the shortest possible time. It does so by
promoting a major solidarity drive and a wideranging program bringing
together government, civil society and the private sector. The results of
combined emergency and structural measures are already benefiting four million
individuals who were previously denied the basic right to a daily meal. The
goal of the "Zero Hunger" Program is that, by the end of my term in
office, no Brazilian will go hungry.
President da Silva also proposed a UN Global
Fund to Fight Hunger and a UN World World Committee to Fight Hunger, which “would be made up of Heads of State or
Government from all continents with the purpose of unifying and
operationalizing proposals.” Yesterday he backed up his
words by making a personal donation of $50,000 to the UN to be used for
fighting hunger and poverty.
You can read the full speech at http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/58/statements/braeng030923.htm.
It seems to me that this all-important
speech and its accompanying actions have gotten very little publicity, so
spread it around! We need more of this kind of leadership, here and all
over the world.
Hope Coulter, Executive Director
Arkansas Hunger Coalition
P.S. Thanks to my mom, who heard
this speech in NPR’s special coverage and tipped me off to it!