Mary Beard/Civilisations (13 March 2018)
16 January 2018
A conceptual help aimed at areas that can be delivering systemic change may not look as impressive as a train full of rice but in fact can be far more effective.
By contrast, the standard model of ‘help’ that technologically advanced courtiers are practising towards the “poor ones” remains ineffective and is many times downright alibistic.
Besides, the nations that need help need actually help that is perhaps best described as a protection against our own aggressive trade/culture. Our cultures are different, our being often too materialistic and consume-centric where greed is indirectly promoted as a cool value. This very real discrepancy leads to dramatic differences in ability to compete, putting us in a great advantage in that field. Unfortunately, it is a field that is shaping cultures and this planet more than anything else. So when helping we also need to make sure the help is more than just an act of indulgence and, that in the process, we don’t make little Europeans / Americans out of the people in desperation of which we ourselves are the main cause.
It seems that we need to realise more about the needs of the ‘other’ people and sacrifice more than an occasional bag of rice. Apparently, we also need to realise more about our own needs as our own suffering corresponds very poorly with our wealth.
As our Dutch friend who is working for local agencies (after working for the West ones) in most remote places says: It is not the hunger. It’s the other programmes (that are needed).
She lives 15 years with the locals, is fluent in their language and is a testimony that the local authorities do want to change things but struggle in the fight for their people. One part of this will be due to their own country failings to do more. But for a great part it also is due to inefficiency of the “help” the advanced courtiers think they are giving. So while her little heroic every day (social) help may well be example of an extreme, it surely is a good example of a help that is 100 times more effective than a train of rice that in the end may cause more death than ‘prosperity’.
But then, her view spans across more than a lawn in front of her house and her mind hardly is a good example of oppressed creativity - a key substance for any meaningful way of life.