Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not so much a hungry Thanksgiving...

I sat down this afternoon with a couple of friends earlier for a hearty (and free!) Thanksgiving lunch. Way too much turkey. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes, gravy, corn bread, green beans, and mac n' cheese that was seriously out of this world. I took too much for my appetite as usual, and having to put that extra slice of turkey in the trash bin put, too, a bit of guilty weight on my conscience.

I think it was because it reminded me of our GlobeMed Hunger Banquet we had last Friday. As part of Community Building, a bunch of us gathered in Arnold Lounge and chose our fates (excuse the blunt insensitivities). My slip of paper? Margaret, living in a broken home in Louisiana flooded countless times by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, among others. The task was to figure out what income bracket we belonged to, according to a global scale.

We may or may not have eaten before the actual scripts...
I guessed middle class and was right--but there were quite a few of us who got pretty difficult scripts. What amazed me most was one that reminded me so much of my own mother, who immigrated here over a dozen years ago and started her first job as a bank teller. She earned a low-income salary by America's standards, but on the global scale, she would have been considered high! Although we could have taken into account costs of living in different nations and other socioeconomic concerns, this activity just goes to show how great global income disparities are.

What does it mean when we say, "25,000 people die each day due to hunger"? How does that number sit right with us? How does that number sit, at all? During the first few meetings of the year, our chapter members came to a consensus that health, including the nourishment of the body, is a human right. But after that, the question of who is necessarily responsible for providing food and other provisions lingers rather vaguely in the air. We must be careful how we address the concept of human rights. A GlobeMed critic brought up the interesting point of misinterpreting "rights" as a term for entitlement. However enlightening, the article fails to recognize the difference between GlobeMed's mission of combating hunger and that of combating desire unnecessary for survival. More turkey? No, thank you.

That's enough for me to think on at the moment. At the very least, I can say I am thankful for the company and the comfort I am surrounded by. It's really grown past a once-a-year appreciation since I discovered GlobeMed.

Happy Thanksgiving!
--Elaine Hsiang

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Human Rights

Malawi Suspends Anti-Gay Laws

Here's an interesting article regarding the position of human rights in Africa with regards to equality.