Briones: England’s ‘starving’ children

Publio J. Briones III
·3 min read

THE United Nations Children’s Fund or Unicef recently announced that it would help feed children in England.

I’m being serious. This is not a prank. So stop looking over your shoulder. You heard me right the first time.

Yes, England. That England. Its capital London is one of the globe’s leading financial centers along with New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. England is part of the United Kingdom, which has the sixth largest Gross Domestic Product in the world, according to data published in April by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database.

The British newspaper The Guardian said the UN agency has pledged a grant of £25,000 to the community project School Food Matters, “which will use the money to supply 18,000 nutritious breakfasts to 25 schools over the two-week Christmas holidays and February half-term, feeding vulnerable children and families in Southward, south London, who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”

I kid you not.

By “vulnerable,” did the Unicef mean children living on the streets, accosting pedestrians for food and sniffing rugby to numb the pain of hunger?

I also don’t know whether to feel sorry or embarrassed for them. Apparently, I’m not the only one.

“We are one of the richest countries in the world. Our children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities that are used to operating in WAR ZONES and in response to NATURAL DISASTERS,” said an aghast Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labor Party. “The fact that Unicef is having to step in to feed our country’s hungry children is a disgrace and Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should be ashamed.”

First of all, I decided to put the words “war zones” and “natural disasters” in bold letters to point out the obvious that the UK is neither a war zone nor has it suffered from a recent natural disaster unless you’re referring to the Netflix show “The Crown,” which has put the Royal Family in a bad light.

Second, I don’t really know if Rayner was aghast when she issued that statement. I’m just assuming by her tone. After all, we don’t know each other. It’s not as if she sent me a text about the news with a shocked emoji at the end.

As for Johnson and Sunak, the former is the prime minister of the UK while the latter is the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If you’re still drawing a blank, don’t worry, they’re just British politicians.

But yes, this was the last thing I expected to read on the news on a Saturday having stayed up all night worrying about all those people who lived on the path of typhoon Vicky and binge-watching the entire second season of The Mandalorian.

And forgive me if I don’t sympathize with their plight. I believe I’m entitled to feel a sense of schadenfreude once in a while.