Thursday, May 31, 2007

NGOs: motion but no progress

"My sister's hamster recently dropped another round of babies. Just when she thought life had returned to normal, a new batch of tiny creatures was born, sending the wheel fresh on its never-ending rotation. Looking at the litter, I couldn't help but think of the plethora of Western-funded Palestinian (and Israeli) non-governmental organizations bent on supporting the non-existing "peace process." Just like the hamsters, they run around and around, creating an illusion of forward movement but willfully trading substance for process. Sure, it may be nice when it comes to assuaging the conscience of the West, but in the end the revolving hamster wheel produces about as much good as the "peace industry."

It should be said that a few honorable people on all sides of the divide really have tried to make a difference and some may even have succeeded in doing so. However, in total, the peace NGOs have been more fraud than friend. The reasons for this are plenty, ranging from warped donor policies to bad organizational administration. However, the main cause is that there is absolutely no basis for cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians as long as the Israeli military occupation continues.

It has been said that the West bought out Fatah by creating and funding the Palestinian Authority. Equally it bought out the secular, leftist organizations by creating a parallel PA, the NGO world. It is obvious who has been left out: the Islamic-oriented groups. We can all see where that has led. This just goes to show that foreign largesse is based on cool, calculating politics and not on real need or equality. This fraudulent and vicious circle of interdependence (because all bureaucracies need to spend their allocations), where the focus is on keeping people quiet instead of creating real value, where NGOs are busy enforcing the status quo instead of challenging it as watchdogs, is bound to collapse. "

Great article. From the Daily Star for a change. (Thanks Eugene)

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