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New Internationalist

The Hunger

This program hits the airwaves at the start of Ramadan - the most significant month of the Islamic year: a month in which fasting features. So, inspired by the millions around the world of all faiths who fast, today we're focusing on food - who's got it, who hasn't, and how it's being used for religious and political pursuits:

  • With global grain reserves at levels so low that would only be capable of satisfying world demands for two months, Angus Calder - a company director in search of more efficient agriculture - takes us through the problems that threaten our food supplies. As rising populations face falling levels of both water and agriculture land, he explains the conflicting choices that are about to be served up to our dinner tables.
  • Many millions in Africa are on the starvation line. Yet a number of African countries don't want genetically modified food to feed their people. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, tells us why.
  • During Ramadan, thousands of Jews and Christians in the United States are planning to join their Muslim friends for an interfaith fast asking for an end to the war on Iraq. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, from the Shalom Center in Philadelphia is one of the organizers. As he shares their plan of action, he explains the significance of fasting across faiths. 
  • And while we're talking about food as a tool of political protest, we visit Palestine, where political prisoners (more than 11,000 of them now) have a rich history of using hunger strikes to leverage basic human rights from their Israeli captors. Jaber Wishah - a political prisoner for 16 years and now Deputy Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - tells us how.

To set the mood, we dip into the CD Sahara performed by Javier Ruibal. He's a highly regarded singer-songwriter from Cadiz in Spain, blending more relaxed North African sounds with passionate flamenco.  

Listen online now (click the play button left) or download the program (click this link)

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