Get money, get aid.

Development, Paternalism and Many-handed gods

It’s hardly a secret that international politics and development suffers from a degree of paternalism. But it would seem that we’ve come a long way from what was acceptable not but a few decades ago. 

I picked up a book about two years ago about a village during the vietnam war written by a USAID refugee officer stationed there. Consequently, I forgot about it and  first cracked it open about ten minutes ago. I noticed that the forward was written by then presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy. A liberal, anti-war candidate and a fan of international co-operation (keep that in mind as you read the following).

He blessed it with a poem….

We will take our corrugated steel
out of the land of thatched huts

We will take our tanks
out of the land of the water buffalo.

We will take our napalm and flame throwers
out of the land that scarcely knows
the use of matches.

We will take our helicopters
out of the land of colored birds
and butterflies.

We will give back your villages and fields
your small and willing women.

We will leave you your small joys
and smaller troubles

We will trust you to your gods,
some blind, some many handed.

wtf.

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