Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Apathetic to hunger – The Korea Times

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By Park Gi-hyun

“Mom, I don’t want this spinach, it tastes bitter and its hard to swallow. Can we skip this meal mixed with a lot of vegetables?” The picky eaters at my home displease and enrage me at the breakfast table many times. Feeling rushed and pressed to end breakfast on time or just trying to avoid a dispute, I often remove the undesired food from their dishes or offer them an alternative, such as sugar-coated cereal, to feed them before I leave quickly. Then, I habitually throw away the leftovers with no guilt.

These days, I listen to news podcasts while I commute, beginning my day by hearing news from conflict zones, where civilians are tightly gripped by a human-induced disaster: famine. Although I have clearly recognized the hunger crisis around the globe, the way I live every day seems to stand aloof from the crisis. It is embarrassing to admit that I am very apathetic to people in immediate danger.

People in the Gaza Strip, where civilians have endured war over the last five months, are currently facing acute food insecurity. As the war continues, the focus of this ongoing war has been moved to the dire living conditions of people in the region. Hunger has ravaged the combat area, and it is hard to fathom the grim lives of the ordinary citizens.

The report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, the world’s leading authority on hunger, has concluded that almost the entire population in the Gaza Strip is facing high levels of acute food insecurity, endangering millions of civilians’ lives.

I came across a picture of an emaciated boy lying hopelessly on his bed, a bunch of people jumping into the ocean to fight over aid cartons dropped into the sea, and countless children desperately reaching out for food with their dented bowls. These horrific images are evidence of catastrophic hunger in Gaza, which breaks my heart.

Hunger has also paralyzed Haiti amid gang violence. Children living in Sudan have been severely malnourished since the civil war broke out last year. Many parts of the world in 2024 are experiencing a war of starvation.

At home, my family is taking advantage of the excess food. Perhaps I take the abundance of food for granted. Many say the world is interconnected, but I feel ever more detached when it comes to the crisis taking place in less affluent countries where the people go hungry daily.

I am aware that there are many compassionate people actively working on the ground to ensure that assistance gets to people in need. I hope their help can reach as many people as possible. At least I should do my part at home by having the guilt of producing food waste at home, teaching my kids to sympathize with those in desperate need and looking for ways to offer help.

The writer ( is keen to explore the world outside the office and loves to weave a story of our daily lives.

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