The Revolt of the Pitied

Development assistance and general engagement between the West and the developing world is often laden with a lot of both intentional and non-intentional objectification of those being “assisted” (and we academics are no exception). This is something that I have since come to accept as inevitable in cross-cultural interactions.

Others are less tolerant, and rightly so. Here is Magatte Wade writing over at The Guardian:

“Her question assumed that those of us in developing nations are to be pitied. I know as a Senegalese that her attitude is precisely what disgusts us about many who work at NGOs.

For many of those who “care” about Africans, we are objects through which they express their own “caring”.

I replied to the young woman, “If you see us as human beings, there is nothing to deal with. We like to eat good food, we love to talk and laugh with our family and friends. We wonder about the world, and why so often bad is rewarded rather than good.”

H/T: NYU Development Research Institute

the good news from africa, and their implications

The photo in the flyer says it all:

John Prendergast with two anonymous African children

John Prendergast is Jesus the bearer of good news and presumably a savior, through his tireless advocacy work, of the many African victims of fate, their governments and endless conflicts. It must feel good being the anonymous kids being used to massage a humanitarian worker’s ego in flyers like this one.

Mr. Prendergast, co-founder of the enough project, gave a talk this afternoon (I only attended the first part of the talk because of TA duty) at Stanford on the positive developments on the Continent and the state of the conflicts in central Africa. For more of what he does see Texas in Africa.