Archive | June, 2015

The Business of Being Humanitarian in this Age

1 Jun

By Nwanatifu Nwaco

Sometimes I don’t get it with humanitarian aid agencies!
Imagine your father beating the hell out of your neighbours dad. Your mom cooks food with some money your father gave her last evening, along with some contributions of your old used clothes and takes it to feed and cloth your embittered neighbours wife and kids. Afterwards she goes to your local radio and appeals to other neighbours to support her effort to relief the suffering of the family her husband has deprived, without criticising that same husband.
Are they really neutral? Does the business of throwing meal packages along with bombs make a hegemonic war a just war? This is a mixture of hypocrisy, guilt and shame. They are not neutral, they are numb and blindsided. As for me, situations like this will be more uncommon if we lived in a matriarchal society. One has to wonder what she gains from such ‘relief’ or ‘charitable help’ when she knows the cause of such situation.

Its a dog-eat-dog world out there my brother and as you analysed in the neighbour scenario its completely foolish with what is going on but the truth is interest. The aid agencies are out for a just course but then they have interest to protect which has to do again with donors. I always asked this question…what kind of corporate social responsibility are weapon manufacturing companies involved into?

These are just some of the pitfalls of neo-liberalism. It turns to make society hypocritical. In whose interests are wars of values being fought? Is it to make the world safe for democracy and the citizens who elect those who vote to wage war? Or is it the military industrial complex and their siamese twin the corporate oil cartels and multinational corporations? I am increasingly failing to appreciate the meaning and intention of humanitarian aid agencies. It seems like they are sentinels sent out by the god of war and his knights of death to give a human face to a bad campaign.

I really puzzled over the extent and loyalty of some humanitarian aid agencies or say social charitable enterprises. Take a look at MONSANTO, produces highly modified genetic ‘foods’ like rice, corn but if one looks closely they are amongst the highest charitable donors to most relief aid in the world….from Haiti to Sudan to Thailand. One has to wonder what is going on? Modifying basic foods that cause diseases then turn around and support areas which they donate to that suffer from these same diseases their foods cause. Just a plethora of unnecessary ‘good’.

Monsanto has been the subject of wide criticism. Their products have been banned in several countries yet USAID never stops receiving and donating rations from them.  It brings us to the topical issue on what Sustainable development is really about? A friend once dissed that while others are using cutting edge technology to extract and transform third world resources for their own advancement, development agencies are telling us that we need to live sustainably by not doing what they do and did with earth resources. Everything these time needs to be Eco-friendly. He argued that sustainable development is going to keep Africa away from pursuing intensive industrialisation which is what it needs to break the consumer yoke.
I am yet to read a country report written by an Africans with parochial condescension about vertical policy effectiveness of donors and development agencies. Imagine a Yaoundé based organisation publishing a country report about the state of immigrants in the UK in the same vigor as Amnesty International does.