Thursday, April 17, 2008


I know you are used to the cable news shows, where they spend untold hours talking about the word "bitter" or fake sex tapes or poll numbers, but the world marches on, and sometimes the marchers take over.

Bangladesh has an estimated 150 million people
In a country smaller than the size of Iowa.
Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries.
You know how the poorer half of the world lives on less than 2 dollars a day?
Well, most Bangladeshis are in the bottom half of that bottom half.

It was created as part of Pakistan,
as an explicitly Muslim country
at the end of British colonial rule[1]
and broke out on its own in 1971.

right now
has two major shortages,
rice and clean politicians

Prime Ministers from both major parties are under house arrest
or in jail
Major political figures, and their children,
again, from both parties,
are regularly being dragged before courts.

The military,
led by a guy named Moeen,
has taken over
in the last few months
and is calling itself a "caretaker" government
Moeen said,
before he took over,
that Westminster-style parliamentary democracy
hasn't worked in Bangladesh and
isn't going to work.

One possible clue exists as to what Moeen has in mind
although he is promising to hold elections this year
he promised to hold them last year, too.

Between world record rice prices and
a major cyclone that hit Bangladesh this November,
the country is short maybe 1.4 million tons of rice
even after India's promise of some assistance.
10000 people were engaged in food riots there in the last week.
I know Fox, CNN and MSNBC had time for a story on a fake Marlyn Monroe sex tape.

So here we have a
Islamic country where people are starving
even to death.

Considering the cost of things in Bangladesh,
I can't imagine that many things on Earth could as cheaply earn goodwill than helping to subsidize some rice,
or another more readily available and popular staple,
for these very poor people.

I understand about not wanting to be charitable on a regular basis
dependency theory
But even if you can say they had something to do with the price of rice
they had nothing to do with last year's cyclone.

Of course I'll point out
that I'm being a bit cynical here
I'm not saying we should be generous only because of the need
but also because they're Muslims
and a lot of the world's Muslims
have a really bad image of the United States.

It will probably cost about the same as one day in Iraq.

Extra Fact: Prices of rice have doubled, food riots have broken out in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroonm, Guinea, Haiti, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Yemen. Additionally, protests have occurred in Ivory Coast and Egypt.


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