As often, this entry started as a comment on one of my own entry, specifically addressing Mark’s comment… Then I realized it may as well become its own entry. Consider this the heady and serious counterpart that had to follow last week’s joke…
Where do I begin…
No, I do not think poverty exists in African countries just because they need to be freed from their despots and embrace the market.
All these despots, like about every other plague that’s befallen Africa over the past few centuries can be, without a hint of exaggeration, directly traced to one western nation or another. Sure, there are lots of Africans killing and oppressing other Africans. There are bad people in Africa, like anywhere else. But the people manipulating these dictators and benefitting ultimately from the insane amount of corruption and plundering that is underway: they are most definitely not Africans.
Africa is not “dependent”: it currently provides most of the oil that’s running your SUV, my friend. Can you tell me what it gets in return? Beside funding and weapons to whatever warlord agrees to give the best protection for Oil companies, that is.
Entire African countries are currently run, without any pretense at hiding it, by US and European corporations. Countries lucky enough to be devoid of valuable resources (or whose wealth was exhausted in the previous decades) usually have to deal with impossibly stupid artificial borders that make tribal wars a given.
Believe me, it would be a while before whatever money the IMF “invests” in African countries comes any close to even-out what is simultaneously being pumped out of the continent straight into the hands of private corporate interests. And talking about these investments, I hope you do realize that we aren’t even talking about “financial help” here: the debt some of these countries have, was loaned at such rates that the mere interests sometimes overcome their GNP, making it practically impossible to pay back. That is, unless they’d do something like repossess national resources and re-negotiate actual trade agreements that do not just give it away to foreign companies… And I’ll let you count how many government have survived to tell their successful tale of taking on such enterprise (cf. South America).
So in the end, I’ll tell you why that half of the world slowly dying from its excess of fat and junk food, ought to do something for the other half:
Not just out of simple human decency, not just because of that Book they love to flaunt whenever it’s time to burn or stone a sinner but conveniently forget when it comes to the part about human life over material possessions and such other Nazarethian hippy nonsense, not just because even the most raging capitalist ought to realize that there is a problem in a system where people die daily for lack of 5 c. worth of food, while others accumulate more wealth than they could possibly spend in a lifetime…
Nope, there is one simple reason you may want to avoid letting the whole continent slowly sink into perpetual famine and epidemics: because at one point, some of them will stop killing each other long enough to get together out of desperation and kick whatever foreign interest is implanted on their soil and reclaim stuff that probably should be theirs in the first place. And that, usually, doesn’t do any good to countries whose comfortable lifestyle depends on cheap, easy, access to said resources.
Additionally, you may want to keep in mind what country in the world currently holds the biggest foreign debt of all countries. A debt so ridiculously big, that there’s little hope it will ever be paid back as it is, not to mention this country’s reliance on external resources that is simultaneously inflating. Yep, I think now would be a good time to start making a case in favour of panhandler countries who need the rest of the world to give them a push and a new start. You just don’t know who it may be, fifty years from now.
And by the way, regarding my original entry:
My point wasn’t to infer in any way that industrialized countries shouldn’t do something about this situation. I think this is clear by now.
I am just one of these people who absolutely loath any form of entertainment that dares using charity to cloak itself into something it is not. If you want to help a cause, fucking help that cause: give money… volunteer… VOTE, for fuck sake.
But bobbing your head to a pop concert, marketing your flailing pop-star career to MTV or sipping champagne while smacking lips with other botoxed city socialites at a charity dinner: this is NOT humanitarian work. It’s just the same old selfish fun, with a cheap attempt at buying a conscience.