PHILIPPA CROSS, a South African expatriate who lives in Australia, describes the anger she feels whenever she is asked for money to aid African charities. She writes:
The beautiful children of Africa are used as props the world over to pull at the heartstrings of potential givers: when you’re in Australia, by almost every aid organisation and fundraising event; when you’re in South Africa, at the traffic lights at almost every street corner. But the only reason that those children are sick and hungry is because of corruption. Someone, somewhere, has bought a BMW with the tax money that could have made a huge difference. And I’m not giving another $2 towards a BMW. I have already bought seven.
I don’t want to send money so that Doctor’s without Borders can set up a clinic somewhere. I want to hold my government to account for what they’ve done with the money that is earmarked for healthcare in South Africa.
When you put $2 in a collection tray in Australia, you think it’s because that situation is unavoidable, sad, tragic, the state of African countries.
When you are South African, you know that is simply not true.
The only reason that those children are sick and hungry is because of corruption. Someone, somewhere, has bought a BMW with the tax money that could have made a huge difference.
Cross’s piece devolves into self-loathing at the end.
– Comments –
Fred Owens writes:
I gave a lot of money when I was in Zimbabwe in 1997. It did no good. Money has a way of evaporating down a black hole in Africa. No matter how much you give, the next day they come back and ask for more….. After a while you figure this out and you stop giving.
I believe that African people do not have a fundamental grasp on what money is, where it comes from, or how to use it.
Their poverty and corruption is legendary and it seems to be undefeatable.
Honestly, I would very much like these people to be doing better, and these are people I know personally.
Even now, being back in the States, I am often tempted to wire them money by Western Union, but it will do no good.
There must be a good way to help them, but I am at a loss to discover what that is.