Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nogales Over-run by Starving Rioters: By Jimmy Petrol

Food riots are all the vogue with the starving of Egypt. Also Senegal, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Haiti and many others cannot be far behind.

In point of fact, they are coming to America.

In January 2007, published the following short commentary: "Mexican authorities are concerned that a rise in the price of tortillas will lead to civil unrest. The price of tortillas rose 10 to 14 percent in 2006. The cause: international demand for corn."

Whatever the reason for the food shortage, Mexico is on the brink of ‘civil unrest’ that like it plays in Egypt, Senegal and the rest: food riots.

The coming world-wide food crises has arrived. The confident sneers of those who shrug at such problems and say “science will find a way” will not produce any increase in food production. This time, Hunger is going to be knocking on America’s door with the battering ram of millions of starving Mexicans.

The difference in the basic attitude and behavior between a person looking for work and a person that is starving and has been starving long enough to riot is substantial. One is deferential, the other rather not.

American attitudes toward the desperate struggle for survival in Mexico have always been rather of the “so what” variety, perhaps justified by the fact that Mexicans in Mexico were, in fact, “making it.” Perhaps not in the “American” fashion, but getting by, none-the-less.

Just as the attitude of a job applicant and a starving rioter differ, the attitude of a nation repelling refugees must change from one simply pretending to protect its economic interests.

There are refugee camps across the globe, filled with people who simply could not find food, shelter or safety in their own countries. These camps are filled with millions of people who are being fed by the hosting country.

The idea that refugees cannot find refuge in a neighbor’s land is one that the international community frowns upon. Imagine if Pakistan had closed her borders to the poor of Afghanistan; millions would have died in the desert there at the border.

What will America do when the millions of their starving neighbors begin to press against the magic fence along the border?

Will Americans open their pantries to the refugees of a failing world-wide economic plan, or will they demonstrate a thorough lack of humanity and be proved less caring than even the lowly nation of Pakistan?

American’s have enjoyed a physical isolation from the rigors of survival much of the world deals with face-to-face. The proximity of the food crisis in Mexico, when it reaches the proportions it has in much of the world’s similarly-poor nations, will come as a shock to the American system.

It will be interesting to watch as a country that prides itself on its foreign aid closes its borders and begins to repel rioters with lethal force instead of bags of corn.

Will there be a mound of dead at the border, dutifully recognizing American sovereignty? Or is it more likely that the Mexican government will aid and abet these hungry invaders?

The question becomes even more interesting in the event that the American military be called upon to repel the starving millions, as the Governor of Arizona has already done quite recently.

It cannot be hard to imagine the Mexican army being called upon to protect her citizens from US fire, even as they climb the magic border fence and press it to the ground. Does our governor have the intellectual ability to foresee this, or is her belief in America’s ‘way of life’ extend to shooting food-rioters?

Will such a vision come to pass?

It will, if there are enough people starving in Mexico. It is happening, or about to happen, many other places this morning.

To watch the drama unfold, check out the boys and girls at They have the numbers on water, arable soil and the like. Read it and weep; they have already done the math for you.

(Jimmy Petrol can be reached at

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