Browzing this colourful site, I saw in the corner a little notice for Islamic Aid, or Children or Child Aid, asking for money to help the “victims of the Bam earthquake.”
After wiping away the tears, I thought, it's a money problem then? The Iranian government would help the victims, but how can it? It is not as if it is selling oil at $60 or more a barrel, say, or has billions of petrodollars stashed away. That is why tax-paying, rent-paying people living in Los Angeles, Paris or Helsinki have to pay websites to resolve problems that are the responsibility of sovereign states.
As long as I can remember, people have been asked to donate to better the lives of starving black children or what have you. Surely, if it were a question of money and nothing more, as the Band Aid public tarts claim, there would be no problem now. Why don't the multimillionaire trailer-trash singers get on stage and denounce the daily violation of human rights by governments?
Better not on second thoughts: they would denounce Bush and Rumsfeld, instead of the Kims and Mugabe (which in the warped minds of the left-leaning middle classes seems fair). Surely we should have seen by now a marked improvement in people's lives everywhere, given the billions of dollars individuals, and even governments, have been giving since the 1960s and 70s.
It is not a money thing, but — if I may have my vile neo-con moment – about money being misspent, misappropriated and resources, time and talent destroyed by bad governance in Third World countries. And this is done mostly (I say almost exclusively) by Left-wing regimes that detest rich people, businesspeople, landowners, home owners, and shopkeepers, and generally prefer an impoverished and debased mass to anything that might be called society. They call it social justice (there is of course a certain grimy justice to the fair distribution of misery).
Better at least to give the money to groups with focused activities, like Médecins Sans Frontières or Human Rights Watch (thank goodness for HRW). But charities seeking funds to do the work of governments, like rebuilding cities, is preposterous. Have private organizations taken over the task of town building, or providing water, electricity and basic sanitation in parts of the Iranian territory? Since when does the private sector have so much leeway in Iran?
I keep seeing chirpy young people (in Madrid) with clip-boards asking for your bank details to channel regular funds to the UNHCR: the United Nations is now asking me for money? I'm so poor I've had to ration my smoked salmon intake, and they want money? I may have to flee to Cancun this year to escape my humdrum existence, and they want money?
Here's a piece of advice: political problems, like war, civil war or evil dictatorships cause people to flee (that's the “RE-FU-GEE PROBLEM,” to say it Dr. Evil style). So if the United Nations is unable or disinclined to address political problems, as it seems to be in Sudan for example because state sovereignty is inviolable, then it should not ask for more money. Let's just see if that Annan can get Mr. Ganji out of jail: let's just see what the modern-day, secularist equivalent of a saint is willing and ableto do. It will say so much about the august body he represents. Aid-shmaid: aid my butt, Kofi!
I do grieve for the Third World of course, though sometimes I laugh. They recently caught a member of Brazil's ruling workers' party trying to leave the country with $200,000's worth of banknotes stuffed in his suitcase and underpants. Woohooo: there's style for you. If you are going to screw your fellow citizens and workers, do it with style, like the said gentleman from Brazil's socialist party.
Poor man: he thought, if he could just get past customs, he would flee to some Caribbean haven, there to salsa and tango away the rest of his days. Can you picture the white sands, sun and sea, and he swivelling his hips amidst the sexy beach crowd every evening? Marvellous.
Incidentally, the little children and dear workers of Brazil are missing about $200,000, so please help.