Posted on September 22, 2010


Canadian Prime Minister Harper addressing the U.N.

So the msn homepage pops up ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2010 and there topping the headlines: “HARPER TO U.N.: FOCUS ON MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY”

As if they haven’t been…as if billions have not been spent in the last 10 years when Goals 4 and 5 of the Millennium Goals were drafted. Too bad the quote didn’t read “HARPER TO DEVELOPING NATIONS: FOCUS ON MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY”

Political will has to come from the countries themselves, not the donor nations.

However, Prime Minister Harper did come close to the heart of the issue when he called for more accountability, not new pledges..

Too bad, the accountability plea was directed to the G8 to fulfill their aid commitments, and not at the countries themselves.

“Accountability is the key, we must follow through on our initiatives. If the countries that have the most resources will not take action on the most urgent issues, then who will? ”

Who has the most resources??????This country has plenty!

Maybe the countries themselves can take action! And there have been pleas, at least from this country, Ghana, to stop the money and let Ghana get on with it….

Now, why would people here make such a petition? It is such a radical departure from the status quo, that is billions of aid dollars pouring into coffers, which should be benefiting the poor….

Maybe the answer can be found in the latest of the anti aid books by Linda Polman, a Dutch journalist. You can go to her personal website
and google War Games: the Story of Aid and War in Modern Times and Crisis Caravan, the two titles the book is published under.


While I haven’t read it, from the reviews, the basic premise is that much aid in conflict zones goes to perpetrators of the conflict, thus prolonging the conflict. She cites numerous examples from around the continent of Africa. Perhaps the most striking case in the book deals with the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda in which the Hutu killers fled en masse across the border to what was then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). There, in Goma, huge refugee camps were assembled and served by an enormous array of international agencies, while back in Rwanda, where Tutsi corpses filled rivers and lakes, aid was not so focused. The world was looking for refugees, the symbol of human catastrophe, and the refugees were Hutus. This meant the militias that had committed the atrocities received food, shelter and support, courtesy of international appeals, while their surviving victims were left destitute.

The philosophy behind Polman’s argument ironically lies in the thinking of Florence Nightingale who eventually developed a philosophy that we should just let wars be as terrible as possible, so that people would stop having them.

War aside….I think that there would be less poverty if we should let it get as terrible as possible and then the developing countries themselves took action. I believe humanitarianism does prolong poverty.

This argument was made most recently by the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo in her book DEAD AID! that says aid is the cause of rather than the solution to developing-world problems.

But alas, such is not the thinking of the U.N. and other world organizations as well as the tens of thousands of N.G.O.s that are making aid a business and a lifestyle.