Hunger: Not a game.


Last night I watched the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. I willed myself to stay awake till we left for the theater and trudged into work today on 4 hours of sleep. And it was totally worth it. Like countless others, I was swept away by Suzanne Collin’s books. I read straight through the series, hanging onto every word and glued to every page. The movie premier had me ecstatic and it lived up to every expectation.

But this is not a movie review.

It is hard to watch The Hunger Games and not resonate with the anguished hope that drives Katniss to beat the Capitol’s systems of injustice and entrapment. In and out of the arena, Katniss fights to bring equality to the Districts and hope to children like her sister, Prim. Whether it was through silent battles, like a three fingered salute, or more obvious actions, like a well aimed arrow during her final initerview-she fought constantly. Because to Katniss, hunger was not a game.

Our culture, which gravitates to reality TV shows where we watch the pain and struggles of others, isn’t too far off from the culture of the Capitol, whose population watches the loss of innocent lives for   morbid entertainment. But do we grasp the idea that much like The Hunger  Games, there are real individuals, right now around the world, not only going to bed hungry, but fighting to stay alive.

Hunger steals childhoods, just like it stole countless children’s lives in the Games. It is unprejudiced, blind, and greedy.

Yet there are a very few bold, young people who are standing up to fight against the Games of the world. Games like political barriers, the unequal distribution of food, and the injustice that so many go to bed hungry every night. Those bold young people are you: willing to fast, advocate, fundraise, and believe that there is a better system for this world. What will you do to fight the Game? Will you fundraise? Will you tell the story of the poor? Will you refuse to stop until hunger is no longer a game? We can change the system. And we should.

Michele has worked on the Famine Team for several years and done the 30 Hour Famine for the past 14 years-about 420 hours of fasting. In a few weeks, Michele is heading to Niger, one of the hardest hit areas right now in Africa, suffering from severe food shortages. Continue reading the blog for updates on the trip and live reports from the field.