Sunday, December 07, 2008

Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS

According to Kevin Myers that is in an article here

Something the article doesn't mention is that our forebears went into Africa and ripped the bejesus out of it - colonised it, enslaved the inhabitants, took away all the natural resources etc.

Now we've cleared off, but we still rip off the oil and the precious metals and give AK47s in return. We preach democracy but deal with dictators. We don't just give aid - we 'loan' money through the world bank and then demand that Africa imports our products. Often, that's stuff like sugar and cocoa which has been grown and processed there and repackaged in he West. We've even started buying up African state water and electricity companies to try and squeeze out more profit. Google 'ACTIS' for more information on how the UK government is helping corporations profit from African desperation.

I agree that giving aid isn't a permanent solution. But Myers 'let them die' attitude isn't acceptable to a lot of decent folk. And as for his assertion that Ireland's famine was different because 30% of the population was cut - surely that's the point of aid? If Myers had a time machine and a whole load of food wouldn't he go back in time and help those starving in the great hunger? I know I would.

Writes Myers:

How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

Change the word 'Ethiopian' to 'Irish' and Myers be an establishment Tory writing about the 'Irish Problem' 150 years ago. That might not bother him, I suppose.

I don't know where Myers got his crystal ball from to predict this ongoing misery. Times change. Civilsations fall and new ones spring up, often in a generation. Ethiopia was the cradle of an advanced, powerful empire centuries ago. Why can't it rise again, with a little help?

Aid is a choice anyway, Myers doesn't have to give if he doesn't want to. I rarely give to charities myself, partly because I live on £120 a week & partly because these days I'm never sure where the money is going. But it grieves me to see people dying of hunger while I watch fatties stagger out of McDonalds with their veins full of lard. Maybe they could do an exchange scheme with an Ethiopian for a month.

1 comment:

vanishing point said...

Your first point was the salient one. We went there, raped the country and then left the shreds to the people. However, we didn't really stop there ... we continued to interfere. By supporting dictators, then knocking them down and imposing new dictators - all in the interest of extracting more wealth from the people, while enslaving them through "development loans". As long as we exploit these nations, for their resources at the expense of their citizens, the problems will persist. However, it might just be the case that all our "humanitarian" efforts are just deflecting the people attention from their real problems and preventing them from rising up to free themselves. By providing good intentioned charity are we unwittingly playing into the hands of those in our own governments who are exploiting the people we think we are helping?

If something has been shown not to work, then the answer is not to try more of it. The answer is to try something else. If our intention is to free these people from suffering, then maybe we need to help them extract themselves from the exploitation our governments effect via the proxy of their own governments.