Saturday, January 23, 2010

Score Card: Effectiveness of World Donations

Did we cure homelessness in America with the “Hands Across America” effort?

Did we cure AIDS and HIV with all the concerts and telethons?

Is world hunger fixed from all the concerts and TV commercials?

Is the starvation problem in Africa all gone since we emptied our pockets for “Feed the World” and all the other concerts?

Is there really less suffering, starvation, disease, war and anguish in our world today as a result of any of our concerts, telethons and distant donations?

We keep shelling out money to every catastrophe that makes the news, yet after the media frenzy subsides, it goes back to status quo.  Hunger in Africa has not improved at all.  Not in Bangladesh either.  There’s as many homeless in America as ever, maybe more (the census might help shed some clarity on that soon, who knows).  AIDS didn’t get dented by world donations.  It got dented by big pharma doing research into cocktails that seem to be having at least a marginal impact (that’s spelled: p-r-o-f-i-t  by the way).

Now it’s Haiti.  Let’s see.  Haiti.  The country that was bitch-slapped into oblivion by the U.S. in the early 20th century, and then even moreso by French colonial rule.  Then when Baby Doc whats-his-name took over, and started chopping people up with machetes, the aristocracy (or what was left of them) and the wealthy and educated, were hastily evacuated.  That left behind a broken country with a bankrupted and horribly corrupted government, uneducated working class, but without any industry for which to work.  So then they stand around and find something else to do.  This never turns out well of course.

In comes the Earthquake, and then the world pity and influx of “aid” and money.  After the rubble is cleared, the bodies buried, and the land cleaned up, what then? 

Everyone forgets to ask why there was a U.N. presence in Haiti.  Ever wonder about that?  It’s because it had turned into a horrific cesspool of depravity and despair.  Two “d” words that never make people feel good.

Let’s cut to the chase - What will happen is this: The mess from the Earthquake will be cleared out and cleaned up.  Soon after it will become apparent that there is no positive, hopeful “end game” to be had.  Strategists will look for a graceful exit and by that time a bigger news story will unfold which will distract us all enough to not notice (or care) that the “aid” is being removed and the situation will return to the horrific mess it was before.

Meanwhile, we all feel better, content, even elated, that we “made a difference” by texting our $10 to whatever to fund the “relief effort” in some abstract way.  We gave the bleeding person a bandaid and left them beside the road, facing a pack of hungry lions.  Sounds harsh, but let’s be honest: that’s what it is.

It’s handing them a fish but not bothering to teach them how to fish.  But to be fair, it’s not really our fault.  It’s on the shoulders of France really.  France should get off their fucking asses and take the lead on this effort.  I’m not saying they should do it alone.  But they should be taking the lead.  Visibly.  Meaningfully.  But they’re not. Because ultimately: France doesn’t give a fucking shit about Haiti or Haitians.  They know everyone else will rush to their phones to text $10 and forget that France was ever implicated in the downfall and desolution of Haiti.

Sound familiar?

It should.  It’s from the same international government aid playbook that’s been in use for over 100 years.

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