|by Yara Kassem|
|Published on: Jun 6, 2005|
|Can you think, make vital and important decisions, talk and even joke when you’re still hungry? What about those entire populations spending years in hunger, or even those who cannot afford to get the food for their children?
Food is life…hope…everything. It humiliates the poor, the lower classes in our societies, it beats them out. They would do anything; pay any price to get a piece of bread for dinner.
It had always been such an efficient weapon to pressure third world populations, poor people, those who cannot afford thinking about their civil and political rights, their cultural rights.
Victor Hugo had very well expressed its necessity in humans’ lives in “Les Misérables.” How it makes people, changes their destinies, their entire fate. In that universal story, Jean-Valjean was sent to jail, tortured for years, regarded as a criminal and enemy of society just because he stole a loaf of bread to feed himself and his family.
In the sixties and the seventies, some of the leaders of third world countries started to use a new term “the new colonization,” to express the act of domination of powerful countries over developing ones through economic pressure using methods other than military invasion, or involving them in exhausting debts like conditioned financial aids in order to control and orient its economic and external policies, or using foreign investments for the same purposes.
In Egypt for example, some people wonder – when they talk about the relations with the US – why does Egypt act like an occupied country since 1982? Without using statistics and economic terminologies, the answer to this question is a simple one. Just look at the huge amounts of wheat that we import from the US, in doing so, neglecting all the Egyptian dreams, plans and efforts for our own wheat agriculture and its increase in order to establish self-sufficiency.
Huge amounts of wheat imports and debt cause the deterioration of the Egyptian economic system, the domination of our economic and external policies, and much more. “Let’s feed our people first,” say our leaders (in third world countries) when they talk about sustainable development, industrial, agricultural and economic growth, freedom and democracy.
The lower classes of our societies believe that civil and political rights are but a luxurious procedure that they cannot afford. Before fulfilling their basic social and economic rights they cannot think about political reforms, freedom of expression, development and so on.
And wheat is a political tool rather than a nutritional one, say some of the activists of development and self-sufficiency campaigns. It is an indicator of the political pressures being exerted on us in order to get the wheat, and it is an important element of the nutritional security of a nation.
Wheat has always had such a major importance in the lives of the Egyptians since the times of the Pharaohs, for it represents “the bread” the ultimate symbol of food…life. If we observe the ancient pharaonic drawings on the walls of their temples, we’d find that most of them are representing the process of harvesting, eating and offering food (wheat) to the gods. And even in their graves, they put wheat even before their jewelry and cloth. As they used to believe that in the other life a pharaoh would need to eat, then get dressed, and so on.
And now in Egypt, the wheat equally represents the ultimate symbol for food, as well as the minimum food element for everyone - for the lower or the higher classes of the entire society.