Love Dressed in False Generosity
The New African magazine of August/September 2005 no 443, had its cover titled: “WHAT ARE NGOs REALLY DOING IN AFRICA? The inside story was truly entertaining for an African and many wondered what this war against the NGOs was all about. The article did not spare the Oxfam, (which I have also rebuked in some of my old articles) it did not spare the “Save the children” and others. It was sweeping through. Colonialism was mentioned and that the NGOs were working directly for their European masters as in colonial times. Though the NGOs had changed their white official workers and replaced them with educated Africans…. A month after this report several European countries and their governments started going against NGOs and even withdraw funds.
Some NGOs hate my works and have told me so. So when I was invited to a conference in Denmark were people expected me to politically speak against them, people were shocked to hear my side of story. Some still wonder why I said the things I said. For me, this was not a question about “WHAT ARE NGOs REALLY DOING IN AFRICA? It was a question of: WHAT ARE NGOs, IMF, WORLD BANK, WTO, AND DONOR COUNTRIES REALLY DOING IN AFRICA??? I realised the NewAfrican publication was to shut the NGOs up from speaking up some truth against the UN, their countries and governments, and those that gave the NGOs their salaries.
We see love coming to Africa through the media, the HIV/AIDS campaigners, official workers, volunteers, churches, name them, all wanting to save the African. Yet what the Africans and their helpers do not realise is that the oppressor is ill, that the oppressor wants it all to himself, that the oppressor does not know any other way of doing things but to keep demanding, forcing, and manipulating in short to keep oppressing. The oppressor just as the oppressed need help.
The oppressor says; “Africans are sick from “AIDS”, are dull, foolish, lazy, docile, beggars, they think god will come to solve their miserable state, Africans are good for nothing, and Africans could never stand up for their own rights, Africans have no heroes, and you can tell an African anything he will believe and do it without questions as long as there is some money in it”. In his right mind the oppressor believes that about Africans and anyone else he loves to oppress because he wants to continue looting, and exploiting Africa’s resources. This is why the oppressor is so obsessed with helping the Africans.
Oppressors do not like critical consciousness, they say it is anarchic and that it leads to disorder, by disorder they fear that lies could be unveiled and everyone would understand the oppressor’s lie they live in and they would demand out. In this way the oppressed are kept where the oppressor wants them to be, oppressed and miserable.
Yet in their struggle to survive or to live at least a bearable life the oppressed apply the same "survival for the fittest” methods, and they too have become oppressors. This is why NGOs have become oppressors. NGOs treat their own people, including the Africans the same way. NGOs too have become oppressors who see their own people as things, turning everyone into beggars, false charity givers, and liars.
Thus both dehumanisation and humanisation and oppressed and the oppressor have become one. They both suffer from the uncompleted being that lacks a complete self-consciousness of embracing true humanity. And if reminded they both ignore this reality. And instead of working on changing things in our world, they say: “There is nothing we can do about it.” Thus all people cling to what they know best, oppressing others, because they believe they could never survive if they stopped exploiting others, stealing from the poor or depopulating others in the name of charity in order to continue taking away others’ resources.
Today we see how oppressed people treat others. Like their masters the oppressor ignore fellow man's sufferings. And because the oppressed want to survive like their oppressor, the oppressed blindly spread force messages received from the oppressor, about each other and each other's communities, dehumanising and embarrassing others in the name of good and charity. This is very common in African countries.
Why did I act the way I did, and why did I not say to hell with the NGOs??
It is impossible for an oppressor to bring good to this world. Only the oppressed can, by reminding the oppressor about the disease, and by realising their state and changing it for the better. The oppressor is sick of power, and feels good ordering others to be what he wants them to be. The oppressor could give and give but it is not in his intention to withdraw his oppressive behaviour or to let people fend and take care of themselves without having an umbrella from the oppressor that says; " look at what I am doing, I am helping out!!!” While he takes everything away from the people he says he is helping.
Many people have become things, thieves, prostitutes, official liars, bad workers and bad citizens because they have been forced to agree and accept their destiny of being less human where had there been no dehumanisation coming from leaders or economists (tree shakers) people would be fully conscious about themselves and they would be respected as human beings and practice humanity at its fullest. This whole world would be developed.
Yet in fear of developing our beautiful planet, oppressive methods are highly motivated where even NGOs who may have good intentions fail. In his comment to this article Michael Daka a chief editor in Zambia writes:
‘… what I have detested most is how those who pretend to engage in philanthropy demand media coverage for their activities. NGOs or development agencies or governments will not carry out their activities in the absence of cameras. For me parading someone who has been disadvantaged by circumstances created by others is the worst form of criminality.'
'Why should the "giver" get more attention and publicity than the recipient? It is never what the recipient thinks and feels about the support he/she is receiving but how useful or important the giver, donor or whoever it is thinks the support will do for the recipient. It is all self-indulgence...'Michael Daka - Zambia.
Dehumanisation is a result of an unjust order that derives from a hidden violence in the oppressor, which in turn dehumanises the oppressed: says one of earth's greatest thinker the late Paulo Freire. Who also found the love and charity given by international communities sickening? He wrote:
'Unjust social order is the permanent fount of this "generosity," which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. That is why the dispenses of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source. True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the cause which nourish false charity'.
This is the reason why when we feel very close to being humanists we are in reality very far away from it, because we do not know who we really are apart from what we have learnt that we are “good”. Because of this we lack the natural love. The other reason good people harbour violence and think so lowly about fellow man as to rob him the chance to live his own life. Instead they say: “Let us help them...” Man was created to take care of himself and man is able to. And when another man in his hidden violence takes that right away, man has the right to demand that right back. Notice how Paulo Freire talks about VIOLENCE.
'Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognise others as human beings. Violence is not initiated by those who are oppressed, exploited and unrecognised. It is not the unloved that initiate disaffection, but those that cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the "rejects of life". It is not the tyrannised who initiate despotism, but tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate man, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who have emasculated them.'
'For the oppressors, however, it is always the oppressed (whom they obviously never call "the oppressed" but - depending on whether they are fellow countrymen or not- "those people" or "the blind and envious masses" or "savages" or” natives" or subversives") who are disaffected, who are "violent," "barbaric", "wicked” or "ferocious" when they react to the violence of the oppressors.' Wrote Paulo Freire, one of earth's greatest minds.....
Thus, while the NewAfrican magazine demand the NGOs to leave Africa the rest should leave as well, for they do the same works oppressing the Africans through false love and false generosity, which the Africans can live without and prosper. To quote another great man who was dead right: ‘Oppressors never offer freedom. The oppressed must seize it for themselves.’ Said Martin Luther King.
By Hannilie Zulu 15.11.5
Paulo Freire, ‘Pedagogy of the oppressed’ ISBN 0-8264-0047-7. CONTINUUM. New York. 1988.