Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Overseas obstacles to progress

According to an announcement on the Manx government’ s website:
“The Isle of Man Overseas Aid Committee has responded to appeals from the Tearfund and Christian Aid charities to provide emergency aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the south east region of India affected by Cyclone Laila. “
And in particular:
”The sum of £36,000 has been donated to Tearfund to assist the emergency provision of water and sanitation facilities, and the distribution of items to more than 10,000 people in the Fizi Territory of DRC.”
I’ll ask more specific questions.
Why give taxpayers money to spook-chasing homophobes to help them prolong the power struggle between rival superstitions which is one of the two main reasons for continued conflict in the Congo?
Why give money to a ‘charity’ which specifically demands that any worker or volunteer signs a pledge to uphold ‘traditional’ Christian values, and which is known throughout the UK gay community for using that as a way of weeding out gay people?
Why support such institutional homophobia and other prejudices, enabled only by the sickening privileges governments here and either side of the Irish Sea from us insist religious groups must have, not only in their bizarre worship practices, but their business and employment practices, even when carrying out public sector work which should be equally available to all?
You can read the official line at , and I will say in passing I have slightly less problem with Christian Aid also getting £14K to distribute relief supplies after the Indian cyclone. Because I do recognise that, unlike other ‘faith based charities’, Christian Aid do not, for example, impose their immorality on the dispossessed to the extent of refusing to help poor communities who try to practice birth control.
OK, Christian Aid will never get a penny in donations from this household, for the same reason we’d never give money to a charity called ‘White Aid’. In a nutshell, a charity with a name like that perpetuates the lie that one culture is more decent than another. They can argue until they’re blue in the face that they don’t mean to and we’ll never believe them, because what other purpose could the word ‘Christian’ have in the name of the charity?
I also think their strange insistence on working with ‘local partners’ which in practice means churches, is indefensible. Because in practice, as with Tearfund, that tips the power balance in poor areas in favour of religious organisations. And churches are, by their very nature, irrational in their ideas and anti-democratic in their practice.
So, to sum up, another £50K in taxes either down the drain or handed over to ‘charities’ which perpetuate hate, injustice and obstacles to democracy both here and in poorer parts of the world. We do that, and in the 1990's we also enabled offshore arms deals which allowed major corporations to secretly fund militias in the Congo in order to gain control of cheap minerals used to bring down the price of mobile phones.
We still hide the money creamed off from aid projects by African dictators by helping them funnel it through pyramids of offshore companies around the world, but ultimately controlled here or in the Channel Isles.
And we still wonder why people over there, rather than being thankful for our 'charity', absolutely hate us?

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