Food as a Weapon


The Jesus Manifesto Blog has gotten in on wondering about the food crisis, what we can do and what Jesus thinks. The title of the post, “Fighting With Forks”, and their graphic (to the right) call food a weapon. Perhaps this conjures pictures of your junior high lunchroom with mashed potatoes and mystery meat flying through the air. It reminds me of some of the contradictory ways food (the proverbial carrot on a stick) gets used in international politics.

Before the current war in Iraq, Saddam apparently used the UN’s oil for food program as a sham to make money and continue to deny Iraqi’s humanitarian aid. There was controversy over Kofi Annan’s son’s involvement as head of the program. The concept “oil for food” raises a lot of ethical questions…”energy for basic sustenance?” Food is being used here as a weapon.

I’m also reminded of the military’s contradictory use of both food and bombs. We go into a country and destroy its infrastructure and create the humanitarian crisis that we then solve by dropping food and humanitarian aid on the country. Sorry, my pacifist convictions are coming out there.

Food is a basic right of every human being on this planet. Even in the midst of the food crisis we produce enough food to feed the entire world. It continues to be a problem of political will and distribution. It is also a problem of seeing and using food as a means of leverage.

Thoughts? Should we use food as a weapon? Are there instances where it is right or necessary to do so?