Let Them Eat Cake!

This famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution showed her ignorance of the plight of the poor and hungry citizenry of France. That astounding obliviousness is looking more like a prevalent reality in our world these days. 

The riots in Algiers in January were over food prices and rising unemployment (officially around 14%).  An Associated Press (AP) article in Yahoo News on January 6, 2010 stated, “Riots over rising food prices and chronic unemployment spiraled out from Algeria's capital on Thursday, with youths torching government buildings and shouting "Bring us Sugar!”  It goes on to say, “It came after price hikes for milk, sugar and flour in recent days, and amid simmering frustration that Algeria's abundant gas-and-oil resources have not translated into broader prosperity.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that inflation is on the rise in Latin America with food prices being the main culprit.  Miriam Marcus Reimer writes (2/1/110) in  an article in The Street that food prices have helped fuel the unrest in Egypt. She says that “…but food inflation -- a major catalyst to the region's instability and call for change -- is unlikely to go away anytime soon.”

A Miami Herald article by Hannah Allam and Nancy Youssef (3/1/2011) says that Gadhafi is now blocking food and medicine shipments. It states, "Residents reached by phone said pro-Gadhafi forces had set up checkpoints on the city's east and west sides, halting the flow of food and medicine. 

"A Zawiya resident who gave only his first name, Tarek, for his own protection, told McClatchy Newspapers by telephone that baby formula and other vital items were in short supply. "

"They're trying to starve us to death," he said.

"Aid workers also reported dismal conditions at Libya's borders, especially among migrant workers stuck at the western border with Tunisia. TV footage from the Libyan-Tunisian border Tuesday showed hundreds of weakened refugees clamoring for handouts of high-energy biscuits from the U.N.'s World Food Program."

Christiane Amanpour reports for ABC This Week (2/28/11), that Gadhafi, in an effort to quell dissension in Libya, is dolling out money to citizens. She reports that “The leader was giving each family 500 dinars, the equivalent of about $450. For most people here, that covers salary for a month or two.”  Maybe that’s why Gadhafi swears that his people love him and there isn’t any problem.  Christiane interviewed Gadhafi on February 28, 2011 for ABC News, where she captured his words "They love me. All my people with me, they love me," he said. "They will die to protect me, my people." 
Oh, really?

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