Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Burma doesn't want our help

The introduction to Disasters and Development by Fred Cuny gives an explanation of why dictatorships want us to give aid to the government for distribution and not directly to the disaster affected population. I read this and immediately thought of Burma:

...In reality, just as disasters and development cannot be separated, neither can disaster response be divorced from politics. Unfortunately, few governments in the Third World are democratic and many regimes perpetuate underdevelopment because it supports the needs of an oligarchy or other privileged class. Thus many of the ideas presented here are anathema to these groups. For them, control of disaster relief is another way of maintaining the status quo, and a paternalistic dole of relief goods from foreigners is the preferred method of aid, for it is in keeping with the dictatorial system.

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