What Famine?

Mehmed, this is part of my response to your Wall-2-Wall note on my consideration to plant cassava for a number of purposes, one of which is biofeul: "Cassava eh! … if you can also get bio-ethanol out of it that seems to bring more promise for a sustainable environment, although I am not a big fan of using potential food for fuel! it takes more energy to produce a gallon of biofuel then what you can get out of it, and raises the price of food when there is a huge potential for famine in the 3rd world countries at the moment."

Me been very sick since the initial plantation. This is what's been rambling in my head.

You covered a range of arguments, the strongest that's bursting in my feverish mind is the one about "potential famine". The thing that I truly appreciate about your thoughtfulness is the way it just so easily breaks all the blocks in my writing. So what was it that made you think that there's a potential famine?

1. There is food and the Lord has stated this fact in all His Books: That the earth has been created to serve and support the presence of man. No matter how big the population is, food is available. In abundance. As the Lord has promised. With every irreligiousness that I am, some promises I still believe and take for granted.

2. In 3rd world countries, people are hungry not out of lack of resources, but the severity of imbalance in distribution.

3. This is how that imbalance is created: With television in farmer's houses, and consumerism attacking the agricultural mind, young folks want to buy Nokia N70 and do hair bonding instead of feeding their severely malnourished children. (something I saw on TV, both dying child and mother-with-the-made-hair. The thing with Media, they'd offer you shock and disgust, but no solution as long that advertisement slots are filled).

4. So everybody moves to the big cities, thinking that everything they see in television is gonna instantly move into their living rooms once they move to Jeddah, or Jakarta or Beijing. And because nobody is left to plant or herd or water the fields, farming becomes expensive and out of date, the ground is stretched beyond its seasonal capacity that it no longer produces normal and healthy food and, well, "real/organic" food becomes out of common man's range of purchase.

5. With so much labor stress in both urban and rural areas: too many people want to work in cities, too little people want to breed goats and grow rice. Hence the stress on the food balance.

6. Sometime back, someone suggested to me that a vegetarian diet is one way to solve the imbalance (since once of the causes of the shift in tastes made people feed rice to their cows and goats). I have nothing against vegan diet. But I can't see the sacrifice I make for passing on a plate of tenderloin or 5 sticks of young goat Sate is worth saving the world or world economy. I see that avoiding McDonald and IKEA and STARBUCKS and Carrefour is worthwhile, because that's how the evil jaws of gigantic enterprises squeeze on small industries. Hence – again – the stress on the food balance.

7. Now I'm gonna go off-track and give you a personal insight on why it is just so goddamn difficult for me to move back to Jeddah, and why risking 8 months of waiting for that cassava to grow seems to make more sense in the selection of my life's course. I live in one of the most corrupt and malnourished 3rd world countries in the world. Yet, for all the time I've spent most of the last 6 months here, I haven't missed a single meal, and I eat 6 meals a day (breakfast, brunch, lunch, teatime, dinner and supper), and I'm probably bigger than a common water buffalo.

8. I wouldn't have believed that not having a conventional job or income could support such a living, but the land is lush with food for those who seek its wealth. I'm probably sick from overeating. Which is a wonderfully coinciding with Ramadhan. And since Big Daddy's forbids sleeping beyond 6 am, I look forward to presenting you with a supporting hypothesis to your argument about restraining from making fuel out of food, once I'm a little bit more hungry.

Feverish and sincerely yours,


PS: I don't know if you have seen the argument I've stated above anywhere else; been too disconnected to google. It's just common sense. IF I am making any sense. Can't shake off that fever!! Link me if you do, ya?

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