Indigenous Knowledge and Aid for Africa

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised a ‘comprehensive’ inquiry into the ongoing bushfire crisis which has so far killed twenty-seven people and scorched more than ten million hectares.

When it goes ahead, they must surely take the time to talk to Aborigine elders in each different area and listen.

But it seems that not a single Indigenous person sits on the board of the national bushfire research centre. Why on earth not? These people know the land better than their white counterparts and have managed it successfully for generations.

Shannon Foster who is a ‘keeper of Aborigine tradition’ is keen to work together with government agencies, but she worries about expanding development: “It terrifies me that now so much land has been decimated, developers will move in and say ‘we might as well put this estate here; the land is cleared.’

“Aboriginal people have looked after this place for so long – to see it now destroyed because nobody has allowed us to care for it is devastating,” she adds.

I am sorry to blow my own trumpet, but I have been saying this since the fires began. Local people know about looking after the land because they have had to cope for centuries, yet they are so often ignored by the pompous twits in power who feel that they know what is best for everyone.

Judging by the current crisis, they palpably do not.

I have ranted before about the fact that Britain sends a large chunk of its international aid to Africa and this does nothing but harm. When I house-sit in ‘my’ various mansions, I usually watch Sky television and am appalled at the endless begging for monetary handouts to be directed at Africa, usually featuring some helpless child, said to be starving, running out of water, going blind or whatever.

I can see how these photographs stir the conscience of kindly folk, looking to do good, but please believe me, the money that you give is wasted.

The current drought afflicting much of Africa is not the worst in fifty years as the BBC and aid organisations claim. It is nothing compared to the droughts in 1960/61 or 1973/74 and there are major droughts every five years or so. As with the Aborigines in Australia, people have always coped with them, but suddenly the population has quadrupled, mainly due to the fact that they are kept alive by famine relief, supplied by I suppose, well intentioned, aid agencies and kindly folk who want to help others.

The effects of these droughts and poor nutrition in the first three years of a child’s life have a devastating effect on the development of the infant brain, so that if these children survive, they will never achieve a normal IQ and they get to the stage where they just cannot be educated. This surely has to be a recipe for disaster.

So do we let then starve? I don’t know but African governments have become so used to these handouts that in many government budgets, they cater for ‘aid’ and this cannot be right.

Africa is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa apart from AIDS and other new diseases. It is a quarter of a century since that benighted Irishman Bob Geldof started his Live Aid nonsense. It was aimed primarily at Ethiopia and in that quarter of a century, Ethiopia’s population has grown from thirty three and a half million to over seventy eight million. The country cannot support that and the more we in the west pour money in, the worse the situation will become.

The wide-eyed boy-child who featured in television adverts twenty years ago will now be a low IQ, AK-wielding moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor and left behind.

Yet still the pleas come for more money and still the aid agencies flourish. I have seen them many times, touring villages in their fancy cars and telling the people that they do not need to work hard because we, the good and generous folk of the west will look after them. Many of the aid workers are undoubtedly sincere and devoted to doing good for the rest of the world, but all they are really doing is exacerbating an already perilous situation for all the people of Africa.

If the present state of affairs continues, the population of Ethiopia will top one hundred and seventy seven million by 2050 and that is equivalent to half of Europe today.

The same thing applies to other African countries and in the end, the entire continent will be one sprawling shanty town where people survive in misery and the rich heritage of Africa, together with its wonderful wildlife will disappear for ever.

Is this what we want? I don’t personally but then mine is very much a tiny voice in the wilderness. But what little money I have will remain in my pocket.

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