Monday, May 16, 2005

Hypocrites of the decade - Part Two

Billionaire Bill Gates is winning the contest thus far, with Bono coming in at a close second. Also receiving honourable mentions, Dalton the Gimp, Cameron Diaz and David Suzuki. Readers are invited to record their nominations in the comment section, along with supporting documentation.

From Forbes:
US computer billionaire Bill Gates has accused rich countries of turning their back on deadly diseases affecting millions of poor people, even as he announced an additional 250 mln usd contribution for health research in developing countries, from The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

'If these epidemics were raging in the developed world, people with resources would see the suffering and insist that we stop it,' Gates told the 192 nations attending the World Health Organisation's (WHO) annual assembly.

'But sometimes it seems that the rich world can't even see the developing world,' he added in his keynote address.

[. .] However, campaigners and officials said today that high-profile international funds and campaigns, set up in recent years to stimulate official aid for health in developing countries, are still struggling.

Death rates are rising, despite targets to tackle health problems in poor countries set under the UN's Millennium Development Goals, due to epidemics in some areas, the UN health agency's director general, Lee Jong Wook, told the assembly.
Which reminds me of an article I read earlier today concerning relief progress in Indonesia:
Political squabbling, donor demands and government indecision have stalled the building of roads, water treatment plants and nearly 180,000 homes for survivors of last December's tsunami.

Aid agencies, which plan to spend the equivalent of nearly $9 billion on tsunami relief across the Indian Ocean basin, have put massive building projects on hold while waiting for Indonesian authorities to come up with a solid plan. Concrete reconstruction agreements are only being signed almost five months later.

Meanwhile, survivors along the battered coasts of Aceh province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have largely been left to fend for themselves while wondering whether they will rebuild their old homes and revive the fishing industry, their main livelihood.

[. .] The first sign of trouble was the government's master plan, released in February to criticism from Acehnese leaders for ignoring their input and barring reconstruction along the coast.

An amended draft released a month later was largely without specifics. The government also set out to establish an agency to oversee the four-year reconstruction project, which will cost the equivalent of $6 billion Cdn. But with at least three ministries fighting for a say in the new body, it was not until April 30 former energy minister Kuntoro Mangkusubroto was appointed to run it.

"It's shocking," Kuntoro said last week. "There are no roads being built, there are no bridges being built, there are no harbours being built. When it comes to reconstruction -- zero."

[. .] The government says the delay is due partly to the magnitude of the task -- rebuilding 179,000 houses and dozens of bridges and major roads that criss-cross the province -- and the need to involve the local community in planning.

It also accuses some donors of setting overly strict conditions. It says donors have refused to release any aid until the government provides a detailed reconstruction blueprint and anti-corruption mechanism.
This news appears shortly after reports that more money than was necessary was directed toward the relief fund, with at least one charity handing out refunds.

Recall the following prophetic statement by Raskolnikov:
Somewhere amidst this fetishization of charity lies a dark corner, a cul-de-sac of the soul no one wants to talk about. The Great Giving of 2005 is, when it comes down to where the bear shat in the buckwheat, all about us, our turgid hearts, our perpetuation of the "Canadian way" to quote mein Fuhrer, our altruistic ability to overlook the fact that we are basically providing succor to the enemy.

1 Comment:

Bruce Gottfred said...

George Soros, Madeleine Albright, and Wesley Clark should all be contenders. What a pack of weasels...