Global Council for Tolerance and Peace

Famine as a Tool of War: Hunger’s Fundamental Relationship with Peace

By: Benjamin Lutz

Hunger is an incredibly interwoven issue as it related to poverty, economics, war, politics, health, and the environment. It connects with many segments of peace as a proper diet ensures focused, healthy, and engaged people. The amount of global food production is larger than the amount for the daily necessary intake of food for every human being on the planet.

And yet, hunger, malnourishment, food-related diseases, emaciation, and starvation runs rampant in many segments of the global society. Furthermore, a large portion of society is food insecure, where they do not know where their next meal is coming from. In many instances, this is a result of poverty, as food prices, the nutritious quality of food, and the agriculture of food has a direct impact to if a community is able to be properly fed. Even more troubling is when hunger is used as a tool of war.

Because food is essential, many will be persuaded to do otherwise unforgiving tasks in order to ensure they receive nourishment and nutrients for themselves and their families. In times of war, the dominant parties, more often than not, refuse food to minority and/or rebel communities in order to force compliance. Halting and confiscating food aid, destroying crops, and raising prices of food all have devastating effects on communities, especially poorer and/or isolated areas.

Although there are multitudes of food-related organizations focusing on reducing food waste, redistributing food to hungry communities, and teaching agriculture, horticulture, livestock raising, recycling, and irrigation techniques, millions of people continue to die each year from food-related diseases and malnourishment. Without proper nutritious food, humans cannot properly survive, which is why it is all the more sinister that famine and starvation is propagated in times of war.

Allowing undeserved, hungry, and war-inflicted communities to remain unfed is frankly a crime against humanity. Humans are not able to exist without food and the reality that powerful groups are intentionally endangering vulnerable communities by withholding the basic facet for survival. Feeding the global population is attainable, and the international community must be more vigilant in ensuring this system of terrorizing susceptible communities ends.

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