Reading the news blurbs over the last couple of days has driven me to the excruciating point of wanting to send Bob Geldof some money just to make him shut up. I think his main ploy it to irritate the leaders of the G8 nations into writing cheques. I think it will work.
While some kind of dialogue surrounding this event is needed, the silence of the media on certain facets that should be discussed is disturbing. While I believe, as do most, that those of us with much should give what we can spare to those with none, it is foolish to be throwing good money after bad.
A great deal of the money raised during Live-Aid, the concert held in the 1980’s to help support those in Ethiopia facing imminent death from starvation, never reached the mouths of those children you saw on television. While some relief was given, the majority of the benefit went to corrupt officials.
Africa has received almost $1 trillion dollars in aid in the last 50 years. At present, Ethiopia is the third poorest nation on earth, even after the massive grain shipments and Band Aid concerts held in the 80’s. In fact, since then, almost everything has gotten worse in Ethiopia. It appears that aid is not working, and increasing it at this time, while a very humane act, is futile.
Until the conditions that foster waste and corruption are changed, there is little or no use in providing monetary aid. If the world’s aid organizations want to go in and provide food and medical needs, that would make a true difference, and at least the one’s that need nourishment would get it. Spend the money on that kind of help. Have reputable people and firms from our countries build wells and such, but stop the debt reduction and the cheque writing frenzy. It isn’t working. While trying to do something great is applaudable, doing something that is actually effective is the more decent thing to do.
If we are going to help with the plight that is Africa, we must study it closely and get it right. We must help Africans become self sufficient, and self governed. We must remove the despots and tyrants who prosper while they keep their subjects eating dust. We must stop sending huge sums of money that only encourage these kinds of leaders to evolve and stay on. Only then will we be truly making a noticeable difference.