The letter.

200 authors from 30 countries wrote a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Authors have condemned Russia’s anti-gay and blasphemy laws as a “chokehold” on creativity.

Here is the letter:

The story of modern Russia is the story of dramatic, almost seismic change. Russian voices, both literary and journalistic, have always striven to make themselves heard above the clamour of their nation’s unfolding story – commenting on it, shaping it and, in doing so, contributing to the political and intellectual shape of the world far beyond their country’s borders. But during the last 18 months, Russian lawmakers have passed a number of laws that place a chokehold on the right to express oneself freely in Russia. As writers and artists, we cannot stand quietly by as we watch our fellow writers and journalists pressed into silence or risking prosecution and often drastic punishment for the mere act of communicating their thoughts.

Three of these laws specifically put writers at risk: the so-called gay “propaganda” and “blasphemy” laws, prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality and “religious insult” respectively, and the recriminalisation of defamation. A healthy democracy must hear the independent voices of all its citizens; the global community needs to hear, and be enriched by, the diversity of Russian opinion. We therefore urge the Russian authorities to repeal these laws that strangle free speech, to recognise Russia’s obligations under the international covenant on civil and political rights to respect freedom of opinion, expression and belief – including the right not to believe – and to commit itself to creating an environment in which all citizens can experience the benefit of the free exchange of opinion.

Putin abolishes blasphemy and anti-gay laws or not, this is a very important letter. Every injustice should be opposed. I hope authors also should write an open letter like this one to Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and other countries that have been using blasphemy laws to violate people’s freedom of expression and anti-gay laws to threaten Human Rights.

Six million children die of hunger every year

There are more than 1200 billionaires in the world. They have absolutely an insane amount of money. It is true that the number of billionaires is increasing. It is also true that six million children die of hunger every year.

Every five seconds one child dies of hunger.

There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of USA, Canada, and the European Union. 925 million people do not have enough to eat and 98 percent of them live in developing countries. 578 million in Asia and the Pacific, 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 37 million in the Near East and North Africa, 19 million in developed countries.

There is enough food available to feed the entire global population of 7 billion people. But one in seven people go to bed hungry every night. Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, hunger has been slowly rising.

There is a hunger map.

People somewhere starve to death, while we waste our food. Food waste always reminds me of the ‘famous’ picture of ‘a starving Sudanese girl who collapsed on her way to a feeding center while a vulture waited nearby.’ Kevin Carter, a free-lance photographer, took the picture in March 1993. He did not help the girl to reach the feeding center. She could have survived.The girl was probably eaten by the vulture. Critics said, ‘The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.’ Kevin Carter got The Pulitzer Prize for this photograph.
The memories haunted him. In his suicide note he wrote “I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen”.

Trigger-happy madmen are on the rise. If we reduce arms production just a little bit, we will be able to save big money, and we will be able to provide food, water, shelter, clothes, health, education for everyone. I doubt we will do it. We are just apes with slightly larger brains. We love to kill people. We do not care if people die of hunger. In India, parents adopt new methods to kill their baby girls. They do not feed girls, girls must die.