Sunday, September 25, 2005

Political “aid”

Britain is to give more than £10m in aid to Zimbabweans affected by hunger and a recent shack demolition blitz, which has left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, has donated a total of £100m since an ongoing food crisis started in the country in 2001.

How is Britain, the WFP, UNDP &c. going to distribute food and aid if Mugabe’s regime insists on controlling it directly (to steal, bribe and punish)?

Robert Mugabe is reported to have informed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan that he would not allow the UN to use non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist with food relief efforts in Zimbabwe because "these tended to politicise humanitarian assistance".

I think this is crueler than isolating the country and pushing for its collapse. Unfortunately, armed with good intentions, we keep propping up monstrous regimes by feeding the oppressed populations while the oppressors buy arms and fund their secret police thugs with the savings.

What has been said regarding the “Oil for Food” scandal, applies very well in these cases where, by extending a helping hand to the people (and not because we care, but because it is politically expedient) we allow the continuation of oppression, torture, repression, neglect, sometimes genocide:

Yet even now we are told that "at least" Oil for Food fed the Iraqi people when they were on the edge of starvation, and this is accounted a U.N. success. That is false. Oil for Food offered a lifeline of cash and influence to a regime that was starving its people.

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