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.

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

  1. A great article Zofia, it is amazing to think that the money given by average everyday people as a of gesture of good is being used in such a devastating way to add to the misery and starvation of so many people, We look out at the war over there in some foreign land, somewhere outside of ourselves when a war is being waged within us for which we are responsible to attend to.

  2. We see something that our entire being tells us should not be there – war, corruption, abuse of all levels and kinds, natural disasters etc. and we react. We know something needs to be done. We want to a solution, a remedy – quickly. Giving money to charities, visiting a doctor and getting diagnosis and prescription etc. makes us feel like we have done something, we’ve ticked the box so now we can forget about it and carry on as usual. So, it really is just a reaction – not an answer. And reaction is what stops us from feeling all there is to be felt in its entirety.

  3. Love what you offer with regard to founding the humanitarianism within ourselves, how we are in our body and day to day life and with that awareness expanding out to our wider responsibility with true discernment…

  4. The rot in charities is one of the reasons people give up on wanting to make this world a better place. But as you said, it should start with ourselves, bringing true good to our lives and our surroundings.

  5. In my experience taking stock of our own finances and discerning what we spend them on that is supportive, or not, is a constant refinement. A continually growing awareness arrises within and constantly things adjust and change, bringing further refinement, care and understanding as to how we spend our money. What I now get a sense of is that until the truest intent is made to look honestly at ones situation, nothing is offered in how to do so.

  6. It has been brought to our attention the greatest war is actually occurring in our own families and this makes sense to me because there is so much disagreement and abuse going on under our very own roofs. And surely this needs addressing before we look out to help anyone else.

  7. It is definitely worth considering what this article is sharing, because ultimately it is asking for more honesty about our bodies and how they are in daily life, so that we can perhaps start to be more honest and willing to see what is really going on in the world.

  8. How people and the powers that be can use money raised to feed those in need and use it to buy weapons illustrates the depth of corruption that abuse of power can bring.

  9. We tend to go into sympathy when we see atrocities around the world and dig deep into our pockets when there is a crisis and yet turn a blind eye to what is happening closer to home.

  10. As far as I am concerned we are all members of one big family, humanity, and therefore “each one of us also has a unique responsibility which can impact greatly the whole world we all live in”; and that responsibility is to live as responsibly as we can in every moment. Change in the world we know today is definitely possible but that change needs to come from us first, from us making different choices, and from the change within us the ripples cannot help but flow on out to the rest of humanity. So, who’s ready to change the world?

  11. Perhaps all these international charity organisations really are not only taking advantage of people’s emotional sympathies, but also an outlet to allow people to look outside of themselves to solve worldwide crises, instead of taking responsibility for what they truly have control over- their own bodies, relationships, and lives.

  12. We may or may not choose to see the corruption within charities, but we think “oh well at least they are doing something ‘good'”. But the problem with looking at things this way is that we are not seeing the whole picot, we are not seeing the consequences of our actions, even if they are well meaning. We need to have a very good look at the current model for charity and charities and be honest about how well they are doing. The are definitely meeting a need in us, the providers of funds, so that we think we are doing something good, whilst we can then continue to ignore the true responsibilities in life, how we are choosing to live.

  13. Great exposing of the energy behind so much charitable giving and the irresponsibility of those who see it as ticking a box of ‘doing good’ rather than looking closer to home and seeing how the abuse there is then reflected and magnified out to the rest of the world.

  14. To be able to see what is going on in the world with our eyes wide open and stay true to ourselves is down to our ability to observe and not absorb.

  15. We can be so easily overwhelmed and ‘freeze-up’ with the wave after wave of news and crisis, but we can start with our own community, bring attention to this small detail, and observe how the bigger picture starts to unfold.

  16. This is a great point, how can we address crisis on a bigger scale when we are all in personal crisis? And would there still be a bigger crisis if we all dealt with our own personal forms of crisis? Or would we slowly work out how to work together to make this thing work.

  17. It is amazing to see where your view goes when we talk about “aid, corruption, abuse and war”. It pretty much looks like what you see in the news or in the media, almost like we are sold on a more than daily basis the pictures and we are the ones buying. This article brings with it more and more awareness as the questions posed are allowing you to unwrap what we have been sold and accepted. It’s great to bring this all simpler and in that we are able to ‘break through’ the barriers that are there not allowing us to see the whole thing

  18. To consider illness and disease in our own bodies as conflict and war is an interesting proposition because it brings our responsibility firmly home. I find it introduces the idea of transparency and no borders or private or public, indoors or outdoors. I wonder what the ripple effect of that way of living would be.

  19. ” 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. ”
    Yes this is very true and a true and foundational way to start.

  20. When it comes back to it, the most generous and ‘ giving’ thing we can do is to start to truly tune into ourselves, give ourselves the gift of self-care, come to know ourselves truly, and then bring the light that we are to the world.

  21. Perhaps part of what is at play with the bigger organisations is the way in which people donate to such organisations. There seems to be a relief in donating to charities, a relieving of guilt and then a “I have done my part” pat on the back. Story over. I don’t need to worry about that anymore. Not really what will lead to societal change and perhaps this has allowed for such corruption as the care has not been fully genuine.

  22. As Ghandi once said ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. If there is war outside of us, would it not be wise to look at if there is a war within ourselves first that needs our attention? If we spent time looking at our own personal lives first and foremost, with honesty, accountability and responsibility, the world would would be a different place for sure.

  23. A great article Zofia exposing the rot that is within some of the charity sector, it is all part of the illusion that doing good is somehow a way to ease our minds about the whole inequality that we see happening around us, but our responsibility is so much closer to home in the way we live our own lives, how we treat ourselves and all around us.

  24. This is beautiful, let’s first look at how we are living every day and how it is honouring of other people. Like when we go to the supermarket how do we treat the cashiers and people we meet? How do we drive, how do we treat the average person we meet? If we make all this fully loving then we can start to look at the bigger picture, knowing it can only change by people being inspired to live the same love as we do in our lives.

  25. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ – quite possibly or even likely seeing that bliss is a kind of soporific state that is not sustainable and highly deceptive. Bliss is not a quality of the Soul.

  26. It’s interesting how “doing good” works, we do our bit by say donating money, we trust what those directly linked to the cause say, yet behind the scenes what’s truly going on can be much more complicated. We buy into the picture of how simple a situation is, and how what we can offer or donate will help, but it looks like such an approach is very simplistic.

  27. If we are not living with integrity, love, truth in our everyday life, in our own action, we don’t have much chance of finding it in the world outside us as we are what makes the out there.

  28. Surely we need to be very discerning about who or what we donate money to, otherwise we can fool ourselves that we are doing some good, but our money could be being used for genocide etc. Not good for us at all to be an accomplice to.

  29. Yes there is so much work to be done and corruption to be called out, but starting at home, with ourselves makes absolute sense Zofia.

  30. I work in and around the charitable and nonprofit sector and have seen first-hand just how wasteful it is. If we look at charitable activity over the long haul, it starts to become obvious that little has changed overall. And yes, corruption is commonplace. Investing in charity as it currently practiced yields little in the way of a true return.

  31. So what you’re saying Zofia is we need to clean up our own backyards before attempting to improve anyone else’s… Sound advice, as true change starts with us changing ourselves, not others before ourselves. And beyond that, we can’t actually change another or offer them a solution – we can only inspire change by living another way.

    1. Well said and I agree. When you look at how we are, by nature we follow each other. Like when you were growing up you didn’t do what was being told to you, you follow the lead of the way things were done. We are all watching each other whether we are aware of it or not this is how it works and so true change will always come in the form of a living way.

  32. We would like to think that through charitable actions from our end we help to free some people from where they are stuck. The truth is otherwise and runs deeper: relieving people from the situation in which they are stuck does not truly free them since they can only free themselves by stop saying yes to what they have said yes to.

  33. It could be said that part of true charity is the quality of energy we live in (i.e. our connection to our soul) and reflect to others, offering others a true way to live and a true source of energy to draw from. As the soul is love, no abuse can exist when this connection is maintained. Until we all choose love as our source, abuse of all kinds will exist and humanity will continue to cyclically experience abuse. Once we change the energy source everything changes.

  34. The lives we lead can be self-focused, only worried about ourselves, or they can be global, knowing that we are actually all in this together, regardless of what country we live in, what religion we follow or the colour of our skin.

    1. I agree Heather and understanding that we live in a shared body of energy and that every choice and move we make does influence and affect the all. We live in the illusion of our separateness because of the borders of our bodies, but there is actually no separation at all when we come back to the fact everything is energy.

  35. Great article and at the end it made me smile, not from what it was exposing but by the way it exposed it. We can all be outraged at the corruption that goes on in the world and it is outrageous but not often do we bring it back to our own personal country, our own bodies as this article has done and hence my smile. It was like reading the article I was sensing how corrupt these things were and then towards the end when I could see that I could make a difference to how I am within myself and that this in turn supports everywhere. At different levels I am more than happy to see things in others or other things but when you look personally that’s where things change.

    1. That’s exactly it Ray, until we all start with ourselves nothing changes. Yes it’s great to call out the lies and corruption and that’s needed, but we each need to be personally responsible to not contribute to those same things, and not allow lies or corruption in our own lives because we view our own activities as not as bad as what’s going on ‘out there’.

      1. This is the trick or part of the illusion in the world. We will see some form of corruption or lie and reflect and say we don’t do that and yet from ‘little things big things grow’. In other words there is no such thing as a ‘little white lie’ or justified corruption. All these little parts form part of another larger part and we see this everywhere, whether it be in the street, in law enforcement or in our home. Most would be aware that a little step into something inevitably leads to something bigger. We need to keep expanding our ‘moral compass’ and not just look at what’s in the news but what is in the way we live in relationship to what goes on around us. These maybe words to read but when you live this the world does actually change.

    2. Yes I agree, the way this blog unfolded out personal responsibility was kind – if I had been walloped with it in the first line I would not have understood how that process could happen. If we allow corruption, abuse and war at home then we will not be able to call it out elsewhere. So this blog calls us to question where our bar is for what we call abuse, corruption and war?

      1. Yes and what our pictures are for “abuse, corruption and war”. There are many different meanings and perceptions to these words and we usually hold the extremes. The way to ‘get to’ the extremes or to break them down is through small parts. ‘Big’ things can only exist through little building blocks and so when we see something happening on a ‘larger’ scale we relate it back to ourselves and so ‘it’s not happening in my world’ and yet there are possibly many building blocks of the the same thing right on our door steps. It’s through the awareness of all these parts that will allow us to make clear steps into the ‘larger’ pictures we hold out to currently define these words.

  36. By donating to charity, is it possible that we think we can clear our conscience that is not clear from having sat back and done nothing? We drop money in a bucket and wash our hands thinking we have done our part and pat ourselves on the back for doing good.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

    1. That is a fantastic comment Willem and so very true. When we look at it that way our daily responsibilities are very much global.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

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