Martín Caparrós: Hunger now

Pisarz Martín Caparrós
Martín Caparrós. Fot. M. Łepecki / Agencja Wyborcza.pl

We encourage you to watch the broadcast of Martín Caparrós' lecture "Hunger Today".

There are few places in the world where the policy of starvation was carried out in such a systematic and extreme manner as in the Warsaw ghetto. All the while, nowhere else was such an intensive and poignant research into hunger disease conducted as here. Can we learn anything from discussing these events today, in 2023? This is a question of particular importance to Caparrós, who has family ties to the Warsaw Ghetto. His grandfather, Wincenty Rosenberg, left Warsaw for Argentina in 1928. Wincenty’s relatives – including his mother and brother, a doctor – stayed in Poland and perished in the Warsaw ghetto.

In his globally-acclaimed book "Hunger," Martín Caparrós travels across Niger, South Sudan, Madagascar, Bangladesh, India, the United States and Argentina exposing the mechanisms that exacerbate the problem of malnutrition in the world. The three largest famines over the past one hundred years were caused by politics – in Ukraine in 1930, in Warsaw in 1941, in China in 1958. Today, in 2023, famine looks different. These are no longer one-off, violent famines, but the devastating effect of continued deprivation. Nonetheless, it is still caused by politics, only a different form of politics.

We have a tendency to think of hunger as a consequence of poverty – it seems by all means logical. Yet, according to Caparrós, it is not an effect of the concentration of wealth in the world, but precisely of politics. Hunger is not only a problem of the global south – it also affects the most developed countries of the world.

In his book, Caparrós poses the following questions: Why do we keep quiet about famine? Why today’s world is not capable of solving the problem of famine? We have all the necessary means to prevent famine – why don’t we use them? The Argentinian journalist and writer had tried to seek answers to these questions during the lecture at POLIN Museum.

The open lecture was held online as part of an academic session titled "The Studies on Hunger Disease in the Warsaw Ghetto."

Martín Caparrós (b. 1957) – Argentinian journalist and writer who has Polish roots. Born in Buenos Aires, he studied history in Paris and later resided in Madrid and New York. He worked for the United Nations and wrote over twenty books translated into many languages. The most acclaimed of those is the global reportage titled "Hunger." In Poland, the novels "Tajemnica markiza de Valfierno" [Valfierno] and "Dziadkowie" [Grandparents] were published, among others, along with the reportages "Hunger" and "Księżyc. Od nowiu do nowiu" [Una luna]. On 8 March, Polish premiere of Caparrós’ most recent book titled "Ñamerica" published by Wydawnictwo Literackie Publishing House took place. It is available for purchase in bookstores across Poland from Wednesday, 30 March.

Logos of GEOP, Taube Philantropies, William K. Bowes Junior Foundation, Association ot the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland; logos of Jewish Cultural Heritage Project and patrons and partners of the session: Polish Humanitarian Action, Wydawnictwo Literackie Publishing House, Chair od the Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, and Polish Medical Association