“The United States boasts not only the world’s greatest military but also the world’s greatest food basket,” wrote Tony Hall in his book, Changing the Face of Hunger. “That food could be the most important arsenal for our war against terrorism…”
Tony Hall, a U.S. Representative for more than 20 years, served on the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agriculture Development. He traveled to Somalia, Haiti, the Sudan, Ethiopia and other places where food is scarce, including the soup kitchens and food banks of America. Emotionally drained by the misery, he was also morally energized. He alerted Congress that it had a responsibility to stop looking the other way.
I just read his book and took out a few quotes: “When we feed hungry people—and help them solve other problems—we create goodwill that can last for generations, cement alliances, and make us safe in an often dangerous world. When it comes to our enemies, if we feed them, we confuse them, soften them, change them. In the long run, it’s a powerful foreign policy to help people in need, even if we don’t get along with them, even if they don’t thank us for it right away. Because they will remember.
“In my travels, I’ve seen that hunger, poverty, and oppression prepare the soil for terrorism. I’ve seen terrorists recruit new followers by feeding, clothing, and educating them. I’ve also seen how we can feed and clothe children at schools that teach freedom and love, instead of letting terrorists feed them at schools that teach hate. Such efforts are sowing the seeds of peace and freedom in many conflict-ravaged places. People won’t attack you if they view you as their friend.”
Hall states in his book that the U.S. provides aid throughout the world, but many don’t know where the food comes from. “I think they should know.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that humanitarian aid is the most effective weapon we can deploy against terrorism—not only because it can make us look good but also because it can alleviate the poverty and despair that breed terrorists. Terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda use food and education—or rather miseducation—to recruit new terrorists.
“I’ve observed over the years that the rich do a pretty good job of taking care of themselves. What we need is a lot of people who are committed to taking care of the poor, the middle class, and the blue-collar workers… It’s the right thing to do.”
Isn’t there something in the Bible like that?
Tony Hall seems to understand world hunger better than most.