Friday, 17 December 2010

Exporting lies, extracting money, destroying community

There is a rash of recent Manx press stories at this time of year which suggest that local schools, businesses and other social groups have helped people in poorer countries to have a better Christmas. You can read one example at
To be blunt, they were conned (and I include local organisers in this), and they haven't.
To get some idea of the parties really behind this scam take a look at , and note the stories of past 'aid projects' from 1994 and 2001.
I could also tell you that, a few years ago, I spoke to a Lutheran minister in Romania. She was one of a remarkable group of clerics led by a bishop whose sermons were so popular that, when the Securitate tried to break them up, it kickstarted a chain of events which eventually led to the overthrow of Ceacescu.
This cleric told me that, frankly, Samaritans Purse and other evangelical US missions were the cause of more community tension than Ceacescu and his crew ever managed to stir up in order to keep themselves in power and privilege. Foreign 'charity' was simply not necessary in communities where neighbours looked out for each other and shared what they had.
Local churches worked perfectly well and perfectly openly and were respected even by non-religious neighbours. Local public services, schools and hospitals were staffed by dedicated, if underpaid, professionals despite the open corruption of Romanian politicians.
Actually, it is a good thing they do, because after a quick photo or two for next year's publicity appeals, as in the Palin example, the SP are gone. The boxes, if ever distributed, go as a sort of token dividend to poor folk who've signed up and paid up through the nose to US churches, most of whose profits go back to the US.
Franklin Graham's empire has a $500 million annual turnover in the US alone, and being a religious 'charitable foundation' pays no tax. It owns planes, fleets of trucks, printing presses, state-of-the-art film and recording studios...... Do you really think it needs your £1 coins too?
Or look at it another way.
Romanians, like people in most of the countries where religious scams like SP work, show a level of community solidarity that puts us to shame and which we long ago lost. They may have older houses, cars and clothes than some of us, but it isn't a problem to them.
They get by and, unlike us, look out for their neighbours. The idea that a pensioner in, say, a dormitory village like Kirk Michael could fall over and lie on their kitchen floor for a week without a neighbour noticing is unbelievable to my friends and relatives in East Europe.
So why are you helping pondlife like Graham to not only steal from those communities but destroy them?

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