Sunday, 31 January 2010

Birthday babblings

I was offline yesterday to have one of those ‘significant annual events’. You know, the ones that make you wonder where your youth went and how much longer before senility sets in.
This year’s went well- the first when everyone finally heeded a request I made years back and stopped buying me presents. Not wishing to be ungrateful, but I have enough junk already, I’ve never worked out the correct time to allow before quietly slipping unwanted things into charity shops, and anyway, almost all of the Manx charity shops add to the sum of misery, rather than diminish it, so I even have second thoughts about donating stuff I can’t use to them.
It was also the first when I managed to persuade those who want to give to a charity in my name instead of to me to support a genuine good cause, rather than ‘buy a cow’ for one of the multinationals posing as aid agencies who make up the DEC – or worse! And if you still need evidence as to why I avoid the DEC, try, for example - required signing for all Tearfund voluntary or professional workers to sort out the godbotherers from the damned – or look at the entries for, say, CAFOD or Christian Aid at
If nothing else, the Haiti crisis caused us heathens to look critically at the whole international aid issue, and thankfully people are now wising up. International atheist opinion seems to support my tentative opinion that Red Cross and Medicin sans Frontiers are the safest bets if you’re giving.
I long ago decided to ignore ‘emergency appeals’ anyway. In a chance universe, disasters happen and the innocent victims of centuries of either earthquakes or faith-based fascism need genuine help, not sermons and further interference from the political, theological or just plain old free-market chancers who hog the TV at such times. Rather as I buy insurance for myself and the family, I though the best way to do that was pick a safe cause (in my case Medicin sans Frontiers), put away some loot every month to them, then get on with the other business of life.
The thing that finally clinched it for me and MsF was a look at their website. I noted that while the more responsible governments around the British Isles have contributed, the Manx never have.
Knowing the awful track-record of the Manx Overseas Aid Committee (donating to evangelicals who stir up East European hate and promote homophobia in Africa, ‘family planning’ schemes by other religious bigots who ensure any country where condoms are distributed or abortion is legally available stays off the US AID help-list, etc. etc.) this is a good sign. You need bigots (or at least failed 1970’s marketing gurus) for friends to even make it onto the Manx list. Thankfully, MsF seem to have none of the above, so any money you give to them gets used helping the genuinely needy, regardless of their faith (or lack of it), gender, sexuality, or class.
And MsF don’t pussyfoot around respecting ‘cultural difference’ either. For example, when beardy bampots tried telling MsF not to give medical aid to lesser creatures, such as women or young girls, they were not only ignored on the ground at the time but slated around the world afterwards as dangerous nutjobs by MsF’s press office.
They’re the real thing, which is why my best birthday present this year (always excepting my daughter’s handmade card, of course) is knowing I could help them.

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