There is much hunger, poverty, and deprivation in that part of the planet that was once called the Third World, which then became known as the Global South, and is now sometimes referred to as AfroAmerAsia.
This issue must be addressed at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, which opened in Tehran on August 26 and runs until August 31.
Of course, there are many other topics that are at the top of the agenda at the NAM summit, such as the crisis in Syria, the dispute over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, the wars in Afghanistan and Somalia, and the situation in Myanmar, but the issue of poverty in the Global South should not be treated as a secondary issue.
If the problems of hunger and poverty are not resolved, it will be very difficult to resolve the other problems of NAM countries.
Almost all of the NAM countries are in AfroAmerAsia — Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
And how do people live in AfroAmerAsia?
Well, unfortunately, the standard of living is very low in the Global South.
Most of the people of AfroAmerAsia are living on an income of two US dollars per day or less.
Many of the people of the Global South do not have access to education, healthcare, and clean drinking water.
There is famine and drought in the Sahel region of Africa. There are endless wars in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and over 5.5 million people have died in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Latin America, there is grinding poverty, and indigenous people and mestizos still face racial discrimination and marginalization.
In many countries in Asia, too, there is grinding poverty, especially in South Asia.
Worse still, over 25,000 children die of hunger or poverty-related illnesses every day, and the killing fields of hunger and poverty are all located in the Global South.
So what can be done to uplift the long-suffering masses of AfroAmerAsia?
First of all, a new approach must be adopted for the campaign to eradicate poverty, and NAM can be a vehicle for implementing the new plan.
If a foreign army invades a country, the army is mobilized and the entire nation works to expel the invaders.
The people and the government do not tolerate foreign troops killing their country’s citizens.
However, poverty kills millions of people every year in the Global South, but almost nothing is being done about the situation.
There is no urgent response and no mass mobilization.
But poverty is an invading army conducting a silent genocide.
If a million foreign troops invade a country and attempt to kill a million citizens, drastic action is taken.
But in reality, poverty has invaded most of the countries of AfroAmerAsia and is attempting to kill millions of people.
So, we must view hunger and poverty as invading armies that are killing our people.
And an invasion warrants an urgent response.
An army of poverty eradicators must be mobilized, and money must be found for agricultural programs, job creation programs, infrastructure projects, and the construction of schools and hospitals.
We must also promote a positive spirit of altruism to create a better world.
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) once said: “If poverty were a man, I would kill him.”
So, in the spirit of Imam Ali (PBUH), let’s work hard to eradicate poverty and create a brighter day.