Monica Keeler

You see it on the news every day: missile strikes, bombings, death everywhere you turn. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if mankind could end the carnage once and for all, and live in a peaceful global community? A world without bloodshed. A world with no war, but a lot more famine to compensate.

Picture it if you can. A world where the innocents who perish needlessly in war die just as pointlessly of starvation, where all the lives thrown away on battlefields were instead lost to an extreme scarcity of food? What if all the people who suffered at the hands of an invading army now suffered from a proportional increase in fatal malnutrition?

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It might sound naïve, but I can’t help but wonder.

What if the missile silos were grain silos, but 90 percent empty? And all the money we wasted on bullets went toward inept or corrupt regimes that squandered it or simply hoarded it for themselves? Imagine—just imagine—if the tanks suddenly stopped in their tracks because the drivers were too faint to operate them.

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Roll your eyes if you want, but I won’t give up until every child can lie awake with gnawing hunger pains rather than go to bed worried that soldiers will come for them in the night. How can we tell millions of little boys and girls that getting blown to bits is a normal state of affairs, that they’ll never get a chance to waste away from lack of food? How do you tell a 5-year-old that because of some conflict that probably began years, decades, even centuries before she was born, some stranger is going to drop a bomb on her before she turns 6? Well, I won’t. She can die limp and glassy-eyed from consuming less than a cup of rice a week if enough of us care, if enough of us believe.

And yes, I believe.

Israelis and Palestinians working together, bellies distended, to scavenge for scraps of food. North and South Koreans waiting arm in arm at overwhelmed food distribution centers, brother no longer turned against brother. The combatants in Syria throwing their weapons to the ground and declaring from this day forward, every human being has the right to watch their body feed on its own muscle tissue and organs—all this sounds like a fantasy, I know. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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What if war was a concept taught only in history books, the very idea of armies strange and unfamiliar in an age where a rise in starvation and a resulting pandemic of typhus and dysentery have made combat totally beside the point? No, I won’t live to see it. I doubt my children and grandchildren will either. But maybe someday, a descendant of mine will live in a world of true peace but devastating worldwide famine because of the work I do right now.

It can happen. For the sake of humanity, it has to.

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