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Alms and the Man

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Courtesy: Marc Roberts

Thanks to Craig Mackintosh for pointing this out.

Think again before you reach into your pocket to give; the money you donate to feed starving children may actually be prolonging war in places like Darfur and Somalia, says Dutch journalist Linda Polman. Darfur is ruled by quite a sophisticated military regime which charges aid organizations for every move they are allowed to make in Darfur. “For every single person that works for aid organizations, for every single kilo of rice, aid organizations are forced to pay what they call, ‘taxes,'” she tells Big Think. “So the military regime there is actually cashing in on a lot of aid organizations for quite large amount of money. That money goes towards the war effort of the military regime of Darfur and is actually being used for the ethnic cleansing and the genocide taking place in Darfur.”


  1. I would rather these “men” be able to afford themselves a little more luxury,and in return some rice,comfort and medicine to a starving child.20/80 split I can live with.If I send enough food for for 100 people and 80 get fed that’s a win.The fact that 19 of them work for a warlord in an impoverished country doesn’t make them less human or less entitled to my alms.I don t even mind feeding the warlord or the politician just so long as I can feed that 80.I have yet to see an effective strategy for ending conflicts like the ones in Africa and while we wait for the alternates we need to give more than ever.
    Just an alternate point of view.
    Best Wishes
    Fernando Pessoa

  2. Yeah actually that would be a mad idea. Then you can send people over and say “we are better than world vision” because we are empowering local communities.

  3. It’s a tough one. We must have compassion for people suffering in a desperate situations. However personally I am more into giving alms that empower people to help themselves e.g. Cataract operation to restore sight, or permaculture trainning, microloan, etc. Just giving bags of food and no added possibility of local empowerment creates dependancy and delays and amplifies the pending disasters of famine, disease etc.

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