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Helping Kids Like Abdul

OPINION features excerpts of pieces by columnists from the Op-Ed page and other sections of The New York Times. All columns from the last seven days are available at nytimes.com; Op-Ed pieces (by columnists and outside contributors), plus Editorials and Letters to the Editor, are at nytimes.com/opinion. Please let us know what you think of OPINION at upfront@scholastic.com.

We need to wage a global war on poverty. If the 2004 tsunami demonstrated how generous Americans could be, it also showed the blindness of a system that responds to natural disasters but neglects ongoing suffering. In northwest Sri Lanka, for example, people have been living in shantytowns for 15 years, displaced by civil war, yet they have not gotten half the help that has gone to tsunami victims. If we are to help kids like Abdul Quadar, 13, who is so malnourished that he weighs just 26 pounds, we can't wait for tsunamis. A global war on poverty would do wonders for President Bush's legacy, and, above all, wonders for the poor. This would be one U.S.-backed war that nearly all the world would thunderously applaud.

Nicholas D. Kristof [1/10/06]