The help isn’t helping.
Posted by Exile on September 10, 2006
Once again, Denmark’s contributions to foreign aid are under the critical eye of the UN. This time, relating to the aid that we, the hard presssed Danish taxpayers, are being forced to send to Somalia and Kenya in the form of aid to refugees. The main source of this criticism is the former General Secretary of the christian aid fund, Folekirkens Nødhjælp. (Peoples Church Emergency Aid). After leaving that post, Christian Balslev-Olsen (yes, his name is Christian) became the UNICEF representantive in Somalia.
He says that the Danish people are being cheated with the arguement that refugees are being helped in their local areas, and that this help will not in any way stop the stream of refugees coming from Somalia into Europe.
He bases his arguements on the situation in Northern Kenya where 150,000 refugees are already living in camps and more are coming by the day, because of the unrest and threat of war in Somalia.
At present, Denmark is putting about 50 million dollars a year into the area to help both refugees inside the camps and those that are living in the surrounding areas. Those living outside the camps are living in terrible conditions without medical assistance or schools. Basically, they are worse off outside the camps than in them.
Balslev-Olsen says that while it is a good thing to help these people, both the poor and the displaced, a well here and a book there is not really having any effect. He claims that the donor lands involved are following their own agenda, which is to keep refugees in that area and out of Europe.
Frankly, I support that agenda. I see no other course of action. Europe is full of “refugees”. One has never solved a problem by running away from it, and merely running to Europe for a hand-out existence is not the answer. We have also had our share of internal war here in Europe. I believe it is a process that lands and continents have to go through to achieve a state of welfare. The petty warring that goes on in Africa now has taken place in Europe, albeit over hundreds of years and long ago, and culminated in two world wars which brought about the final peace that is still continuing in Europe today. Even America had to endure its own bloody civil war and war with Mexico. Peace, civilisation and welfare demand a high price. There was once a saying, that if you are to have peace, then you must fight for it. I believe that to be true. I do not believe that we can force our civilisation upon these people, nor can we buy it for them.
What is going on in Somalia is horrendous and abhorrent in every way. But if noone is prepared to fight for their own existence, how can they expect to have one?
Perhaps our aid money would be better used for arming and training a resistance army that would return to Somalia and fight back? 50 Million dollars would buy a lot of guns, bullets and biscuits. However, I do not believe that it is our problem to solve. It is specifically for the Somalis themselves, or Africa in general.
I see it as part of the greater process.