I know, I know, it sounds like blasphemy for the proud members of the politically correct brigade who pride themselves on feeling the pain of others when natural disasters strike in places otherwise ignored by everyone. In Haiti, by the way, there are several thousand aid agencies and charities operating at the moment and it takes nearly half of the money raised for the relief effort to cope with the aftermath of that devastating earthquake in January 2010 to pay for their upkeep.
Are these charity and aid workers sincere in their desire to help the victims of the disaster? I guess they are, otherwise why would they be paid good money and work four days a week, spending the other three sunning on the beach and generally horsing around. (As the saying goes in Haiti, if you have an erection you park it well for days on end and not waste it.) It’s not their fault really that only several dozen houses have been built since the earthquake struck and 1 million people are still living in tents. Haitians, so that you know, are so used to poverty that they like it. Just like the 1 billion people in India, who would never swap poverty for a prosperous life, for religious and other reasons beyond our comprehension.
But still staying on the cynical frequency: let’s imagine for a moment that all the money that had been raised by charities in the last, say, thirty years, would have actually found its way to the people it was intended to help, like the sick and the hungry in Africa, for example, would we be noticing the difference now? Imagine, in Britain alone in the past 30 years around £200 billion were raised for all sorts of good causes around the world, including saving the children in Africa. That’s just Britain, mind you. That alone would have probably been enough to save the whole of Africa and turn it into a prosperous continent to live on.
But no, things today are as bad in Africa as thirty years ago. Some even say that they got worse these days. So the question that raises its ugly head is this: where has most of that money gone? Could it be, I ask myself, that most of it was spent on administration, personal gain of local rulers and, I’m sorry to say, on paying handsomely all sorts of subcontractors, like advertisers, transport companies, accountants and an occasional scribbler? Advertisers have been making good money on charities because some of them have promotional budgets totalling tens of millions a year, to keep the awareness of their cause alive, so to speak. You must have seen those weepy ads on the box about dying kids in Africa over the Christmas period. That’s a lot of money spent, by the way. Could have actually been used to save these kids instead of raising awareness of their suffering.
The thing is that charity has long ago turned into big business, because the whole premises of some good intentioned people raising huge amounts of money without any scrutiny projected on them is just perverse. In the past it was the Church that was helping the poor and the needy and the sick and whatever you think about religion, priests in their vast majority are not interested in money or self-promotion, unlike all those charities. But once the whole activity was snatched from the Church, it all became more progressive and liberal and leftish. And when liberals and progressive get into the frame, expect misuse of funds and personal enrichment to feature prominently on the horizon – and well beyond it.
I suppose it’s time that someone started asking charities all sorts of questions. Like that eternal one: what’s in it for you, guys and girls?