Aid, Corruption, Abuse and War – closer to you than you might think?

by Zofia, London

There was a major feature-length BBC4 documentary broadcast in December 2012 ­– “The Trouble With Aid”, and in it were longstanding senior members/General Director of leading charities from Medecins Sans Frontiers, Oxfam and others, who were exposing the rot and corruption that existed with (millions of) monies donated by ordinary people like us to such charities – money designed to help countries suffering from poignant natural disasters/famines etc.

The program told the stories of those who had gone out to the conflict zones to help humanity, and actually what really happened behind the scenes with such humanitarian disasters over the last 50 years, including – the Biafran War, Ethiopian famine, military intervention in Somalia, and also Afghanistan today.

It was revealed that funds and worldwide music events, such as Live Aid (attended by thousands and watched by millions on TV), contributed not wholly to resolving the matter in hand, say of starvation, but instead towards (and sustaining) activities that most of us would not be aware of and/or choose to simply not know, and thus require no action. These included aid funding rebel arms which exacerbated the unrest and arising civil wars, leading to further and increased levels of starvation experienced by thousands of people. That the rebel armies had positioned themselves actually inside the refugee camps and were sabotaging food mountains that fed (with plenty) their armies, and that the aid organisations were being blackmailed so they could get relief through to those desperate and in dire need of relief. That monies obtained were then used, in places like Rwanda, to buy (even) more weapons to fight, eventuating in the killing of countless genocide survivors…

This whistle-blowing (an evident and increasing trend today with the exposing of various media celebrities, high profile chiefs of industries, financial institutions, and national governments, etc.) sheds much needed light on the deep corruption and abuse that is at hand: to which we, the public have given our money, investments and trust towards in the hope of ‘doing something good’.

If anything, this program has highlighted the necessary fact that we all need to be much, much more discerning and careful about where we might put/save/invest our money, considering what it actually might be aiding or sustaining ‘down the line’; who it is helping or truly benefitting. That we as people/donors really do need to be open and aware of what chain of consequences there might be as a result of all our ‘good intentions’.

It can be easy to see or view from this BBC program that this gross misappropriation of monies has led to devastation and mass disharmony on an international scale with national wars, famines and deaths – which could have been prevented or significantly lessened, had it been appropriately whistle-blown (by the press/media) at the time…

But what about taking this a little closer to home perhaps, and asking those very same questions about our own money/salaries/wages that we use for our own personal living – let alone to help another ‘doing good’ via giving our monies towards a charity, for example.

And what if we allowed ourselves to question what all this is truly showing us? What if we were to look much closer to home and ‘whistle-blow’ here? As in, those such ‘activities’ (calamities, etc.) that we get so involved with and which are happening on a worldwide scale, could actually also be occurring on a domestic or rather more, a personal and individual scale, within our physical frames.

That in spite of how ‘good’ things might be looking on the surface ‘at home and with our lives’, there may be experiences of abuse, neglect and malpractice which we as individuals have chosen to put up with, or undergo, which can lead to unrest and conflict within our physical body and impact wellbeing i.e. a war within ourselves.

OR, do we conveniently choose to simply not know, to not do anything and carry on giving away our energy to activities, pastimes and pursuits that in-truth do not support us, but instead ‘make us feel as if we are doing or being good in others’ eyes?,’ somewhat akin to this charity example.

Ignorance is bliss, so they say. But it is in the awareness that leads to (necessary) truth being established.

If we can be as conscious and as loving about the world, helping those in desperate need etc., as we could about loving our own and personal physical frames, regarding them as being just like another ‘country’ or ‘crisis zone’ on the world map that we are trying to help via aid, then how different would our race of mankind look today? Perhaps anxiety, nervous tension, stress, cancers, diabetes, addictions, obesity, and all other diseases, etc. ought to be considered and viewed as being crises and conflicts which are occurring within our own bodies…

Each one of us is a part of the global society we have created today. And thus, each one of us also has a unique responsibility which can impact greatly the whole world we all live in.

So how great and needed would it be to begin to look after our very own ‘country’ or ‘crisis zone’ first?

Yes!… absolutely such global crises lead us all to question why, and what we can we do (to help). And the idealists (like on the BBC Program) who were (at the time) wanting to create “a new mass movement – humanitarianism” did today but a great thing in exposing the truth from the profiteering and terrible consequences that ensued following the abuse of power and greed by governments and organisations.

Yet perhaps though, the ‘seeds of humanitarianism’ initially can begin to be sown a little closer to home, beginning first within ourselves and then extending outwards to then reach another in true equalness and brotherhood to all.

303 thoughts on “Aid, Corruption, Abuse and War – closer to you than you might think?

  1. Incredible to read. It reminds me of a movie I saw highlighting the sex slave trade in the Bosnian conflict, that was being aided and abetted by security guards from the United Nations, and when it was exposed, none of those officers were ever fully held to account.

  2. A brilliant article Zofia. It’s true that we are so very quick to look outside at the devastation of the world and avoid looking at what’s going on in our own backyard. Yes the scale is different, but the energy of both is the same. And no, it is not selfish to consider sorting our own lives out first if that means that we break the pattern of disharmony in how we are living in our own families, societies etc, because what a reflection that would be on all around us.

  3. This blog is a great expose on how easy it can be to look at life ‘out there’ and have a reaction to it (be it anger, becoming despondent, frustration etc…) but where the gold is is that what happens ‘out there’ is often a reflection of what is going on much closer to home. Can we take these opportunities to look at what is going on ‘out there’ and see if it is – on a smaller scale – happening within our own homes and our own bodies. I know I will take this into my day today, thank you Zofia.

  4. If we all paused, and allowed ourselves to feel the energy behind all of these organisations purporting to be doing good works… We would then be able to ascertain immediately what level of integrity was there These things can actually be felt… It is simply that most people choose not to go to the depth required.

  5. It is great to see the evil of the world exposed and called to account but the one voice of a once seen tv show by a handful of the population is not enough to stop such corruption from the deep harm it causes on a mass scale. So many people go on about their lives with their head in the sand, so consumed with their own dilemmas that don’t always truly see or even want to see what is going on around them. There is a responsibility that we are lacking individually and as a whole and until this changes, the world we live in won’t.

  6. Whilst we continue to be at war within ourselves, the outer reflection of war between nations will continue to be more evident. Inner harmony being lived is a reflection that others can feel is that which is themselves too and thus true healing begins – not by opinions or separation with conflicts – but with harmony flowing through equally for all.

  7. It’s pretty clear to see that the aid programs that we’ve made do not actually work. There’s an emptiness and facile quality to them that we can overlook when we want to feel ‘good’ in ourselves. But if we actually take a step back and have a ‘stocktake’ of our lives, we’d have to admit that far from helping, trying to fix situations without addressing our own responsibility is the definition of futility. Thank you Zofia for calling this out here.

  8. The way the money is used by such charities is a direct reflection of the energy that comes with the money given to them. For many it highlights our lack of responsibility as a humanity. We see or hear of money being needed to support another and give, but give thinking, yep, I’ve done my bit now and not giving another thought to the people in need or to how our money has been used. Seems to me Sofia is right on the money here, could responsibility for our own back yard adjust how charities use money? I believe this is a resounding yes.

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