Monday, May 12, 2008

The Food Crisis, and the Fingers Pointing at India

In the current global food price crisis, George Bush and Condoleeza Rice deflected attention away from America by pointing fingers at the convenient focal points for all negative changes occurring in the world today: India and China.

The American appetite for fuel already has most of the world irritated; it is already blamed for the half-million Iraqi deaths. Now bio-fuels have made imminent the near-starvation of a billion other humans. The American publicity machine recognized that adding this to the list of transgressions wouldn't do much good. So a simple, plausible deflection was arranged: India and China are eating more, they are to blame.

The pro-American media is quick to try to soothe tempers in India by saying that Indians eating more is a good thing. But this is just meant to blind gullible Indians. After hearing this, who will the starving man in Africa blame? The Indians who are enjoying a "good thing" by eating more while the African starves, obviously. This statement is simply a smart publicity move to kill two birds with one stone: soothe ruffled Indian feathers, and still make everybody blame Indians (who are trying to eat enough to survive) rather than the Americans (who want to drive more SUVs and luxury cars).

Besides, the figures show that these statements are completely false. Indian foodgrain consumption increased by 2% in 2007-2008, while American foodgrain consumption increased by almost 12% in the same year!! (See this report). So even in terms of who's eating more (setting aside the biofuel issue), America is to blame more than India.

The problem I am trying to address here is not the food crisis itself, but attempts to evade responsibility and pin blame on others through a publicity machine. Such attempts are indeed a "cruel joke".

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