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June 16, 2005
Day of the African Child

By the children.

Among the things I'm brooding on is my knee-jerk reflex to "send aid" to countries in need where we've sent aid to that country for decades and where a few corrupt officials have stolen it to enrich themselves.

Maybe when the need is desperate enough that even the corrupt have to acknowledge it, things will change.

Or, not. Because the children keep dying and the men who are living on their yachts don't seem to care.

(The men who constantly throw themselves blindly into attempts to exterminate one another don't seem to care, either. What is it with this whole "killing people" thing?)

Libya wants more aid than it can get, but some Libyans realize that they'll have to do something about corruption first. That's a start. They are making that decision, which is probably the only way these problems can be resolved.

And, speaking of corruption, Africa is a continent rich in rich in resources. Surely there's some way we can help them develop these resources without our corporations grabbing 90% of the profits?

Anyhow. Raising money, aid, whether public or private is important, but it's equally important that we put some actual thought into acceptable, achievable reforms for the countries in need. For the children.

We need to talk about different approaches with the African nations. Empty gestures and 'deals' rigged to profit us aren't the answer.

I do realize that "aid packages" that require the recipients to spend, for example, 70% of the aid dollars back in the USofA can serve two purposes. They give us back our money (meaning, the "aid" actually costs us much less than the advertised dollar figure) and they conceivably can help us monitor how the money is being spent. At least, that's how I think it's supposed to work. I know it doesn't actually seem to work that way.

War, famine, and disease are the daily reality for many of the children in these areas.

We can help with some of this.

For instance, we all know that AIDS funding doesn't help if we ignorantly refuse to support groups that discuss condoms or abortion. The world needs, forgive, me a more "reality-based" approach to disease than that. Internationally, other groups are also fighting the battle and we should be helping. We should be working together. (Instead, we're embroiled in a pissing match because they don't approve of us torturing people. Sigh.)

Famine...that's a different problem. I don't know how much of the food supply problem might be connected with global warming, but I know I believe the USofA throws away, every day, enough food to feed most of the African continent. (There are thousands of organizations trying to help. Even if you don't have a dime to spare, you can click through, today and every day.)

I don't know what the answers are. I just know that on the Day of the African Child, we should all be considering how we can help the children.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:39 PM