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I felt compelled to respond to Craig’s recent Post on the demise of DfiD; I wrote an earlier Post myself on this subject as Foreign Aid and the situation in the Developing World are subjects I feel really passionate about having worked as a Medical volunteer and once trained with the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to fulfil future assignments. For me the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was not confined to the dystopian nightmare we see unfolding under Boris Man-Baby Johnson in the UK; I knew there would continue to be devastating consequences overseas if we remained under Tory oppression. I firmly believed that Corbyn would drastically alter UK Foreign Policy; away from supplying arms to foreign despots to suppress their citizens or kill and maim children from Gaza to Yemen. So much was possible in proactive peace building as we worked towards a more collaborative green agenda without Trident or a dodgy deal with Trump. I was devastated by the stolen vote, but I am certainly not giving up the fight for justice.
I saw firsthand how much charitable money was squandered when I went out to Aceh Indonesia as a Medical volunteer after the Boxing Day tsunami. I was careful to organize an effective placement not just arrogantly hop on a plane; I joined “SHEEP,” a small Medical affiliate of Walhi, a local environmental charity. Paying my own travel, I came well prepared to hit the ground running with my own Hammock-Tent, a Ketadine water filter and other survival kit. The well funded NGO teams commandeered any of the local houses that were still habitable, retrofitted them with AC units and paid local workers to cook, clean, provide security and drive them around in monster vehicles. When a second major earthquake hit, these intrepid Aid Workers all wanted to be transported to the new epicentre on Nias, but mollycoddled by the UN they were no better prepared than a spare pair of boxers and a toothbrush!
For the six months I was there I remained “NGZero,” an underfunded Maverick, First Assisting in Surgery at the only Hospital left standing in Meulaboh which was closest to the original epicentre. While I stayed in the disaster zone the whole time, only leaving to renew paperwork; most UN and Aid workers were sent to Bali for R&R every six weeks. The volunteers who set up the Internet hub at the UN camp were there well before I arrived so we had excellent communication. However, most of the highly paid charitable Functionaries were not fulfilling practical roles, but doing managerial paperwork and endless assessments that could just as easily have been completed in a fancy office in London or New York. I remember thinking it was really weird to see UN staff and Aid workers strolling along the wood walkways between the UN tents clutching an open Laptop and conversing with the screen, but that was back in the very early days of Skype. An Australian with WHO conducted a comprehensive assessment of Cut Nyak Dhien Hospital where I worked. Although I frequently referenced his work in my appeals to other NGOs, none of the recommendations he made were actioned at the time.
This redundant assessment process was repeated multiple times during my time as a volunteer in Indonesia. At Cut Nyak Dhien Meulaboh Hospital we were seriously short of basic supplies, but although the existence was extremely frugal it was an intensely rewarding experience. I have a picture of our team scrubbed into Surgery wearing those thin, flimsy, see-through, cover gowns, a similar gown covering the back table and another used as a patient drape. Using our precious sutures to within a couple of inches of the swage was a new skill requirement. As the volume of Surgical cases decreased I started focusing my attention on trying to access that seemingly bountiful Aid money to acquire much needed supplies and equipment or fund EMS training for our local staff. I even tried to get a small number of AC units in order to properly seal the sterile core of our two operating theatre Surgical suite, but I had no luck as the creature comforts of foreign staff prevailed.
One day the UN and NGO staff organized an emergency drill out at the UN Camp while my Indonesian Navy Surgeon mentor and I were in the Internet café tent. The patient was supposed to have a serious head injury, but managed to jump down out of one of those high UN vehicles and compliantly lie on a soft stretcher to be rushed across the field. In the US he would be on a backboard with a C-Collar until a c-spine injury was ruled out, but we didn’t have a single backboard or C-Collar in the whole of Meulaboh, something I reminded the UN of after the excursive. The teams ran around barking orders into their fancy walky-talky radios until the chopper arrived to evacuate the patient. My Surgeon friend looked on in amusement, at one point he said “Why they don’t listen to us?” Later I tried to discreetly explain to one of the more pragmatic UNDP functionaries that their mock evacuation was like conducting an abandon ship drill without a life raft; they looked a bit foolish.
The second quake made me think seriously about our Emergency Preparedness, both at the Hospital and in the community. I put together a totally unsolicited proposal that I audaciously presented to the head of WHO in Banda Aceh. Later I was stunned to see an email where he discussed if I could be “taken on,” not as a fully fledged WHO recruit, but possibly paid at the level of a local Doctor. I had not asked for any salary but, despite the ego boost, it was a bit of an insult to local Doctors as I was not a qualified MD; it epitomized the disingenuous way the UN and foreign NGO staff treaded the local professionals. All the Medical staff that I worked with, both local and volunteers, were Indonesian and I really learned to respect them. They were highly intuitive Doctors not reliant on fancy equipment as it was not available; they had good practical skills and were also very resourceful with what little they had. Still all of the sector meetings with the exception of UNDP were in English only.
It was truly heart-warming sixteen years after my secondment following the devastating tsunami that took so many lives, to now look up Cut Nyak Dhien Hospital on the Internet and discover that an NGO I had specifically targeted in an appeal to renovate the facility did actually follow through a few years later. On the Antara Koh Website it said that: “In July 2007, Antara Koh (I) Pte Ltd was awarded the contract by Singapore Red Cross Society to be the Main Contractor to rebuild and upgrade 17 buildings of the Cut Nyak Dhien Meulaboh General Hospital. The upgraded capacity of the Hospital is 146 beds and 2 operating rooms.” I was becoming so disillusioned by the money squandering of major NGOs while the only Hospital languished in desperate need of basic supplies that when I was given time to make a pitch at the morning meeting at the UN Camp I really let rip. Several organization offered support and the one I thought showed most long-term investment promise was the Singapore Red Cross team.
In his June 24th 2020 Post entitled, “Do Not Mourn the White Saviours of DfID,” Craig Murray elaborates on the corrupt slush fund diverting charitable donations to the wealthy elite. I contributed the following lengthy comment offering my thoughts on the subject:
“As this toxic Tory Government lurches from one disastrous plan to the next I have been contributing regular comments on the 2nd Elections Aftermath Discussion Forum where I expound on the Covert 2019 Rigged Election with the dire need to investigate what happened and remove this corrupt Government from office ASAP. Only a few days ago I wrote about the demise of DfiD saying, ‘The Boris Johnson wrecking ball swung into action today with him announcing an extremely poorly timed merger. In a Canary Article that spells out the implications of yet another disastrous plan for gross mismanagement they report that, ‘The prime minister has announced he is to scrap the Department for International Development (DfiD) in a merger with the Foreign Office.’
I think the Foreign Aid budget should be maintained as a ring-fenced source of funding, but my concern over this latest harebrained scheme wasn’t because I thought our Foreign Aid budget was being spent wisely on vital projects, but because I fear it will become a lot more like the unhealthy coercive control model used by America to exploit countries in the Developing World. I saw firsthand how much charitable money was squandered when I went out to Aceh, Indonesia as a Medical volunteer after the Boxing Day tsunami. There were far too many highly paid NGO functionaries who expected to be mollycoddled in a disaster battered combat zone while they conducted masses of redundant assessments, many of which were never actually used.
Which country offers effective Development Aid with the minimal demand for pay-back? Without a doubt I would have to say Cuba. With their impressive program of Medical Diplomacy, they have supplied and trained doctors all over the globe and the world’s largest Medical School is in Havana. There are aspects of the Cuban model we should consider emulating in terms of increasing our positive impact overseas. I admit I did a ten country ‘Needs Assessment of Anaesthesia Care in sub-Saharan Africa’ in 2009, but it stimulated my design work and seeing the damage done by our morally bankrupt policy of scavenging Medical Personnel from countries who can ill afford to train them prompted me to devise a more collaborative solution.
Well before the disastrous Brexit vote I was busy writing up a set of proposals for “Collaborative Circular Migration.” The first I worked on involves setting up mutually beneficial Medical Training programs, in stable countries where the cost of living and tuition is low, with UK and locals paired throughout their training. Another involves a concept for “Mentorship Diplomacy;” encouraging people to retire overseas offering part-time skills training via VSO. A third targets a Collaboration involving so-called “Economic Migrants”” in an “Earn, Learn and Return” scheme. Craig some time ago I sent you copies of these proposals; I wondered if you ever had a chance to read them as, given your extensive experience overseas, I would be really interested in your opinion on the viability of these concepts.
A Charity I still support is SCI Foundation, formerly the “Schistosomiasis Control Initiative,” out of Imperial College London. They provide vital humanitarian Healthcare solutions at genuinely low cost with a program targeting the eradication of parasitic diseases in Africa. Recommended as a top charity for International Development by GiveWell, who provide a break-down of how the donated money is spent by each charity listed. SCI manage to devote the maximum of donated funds to practical work on the ground to get a lot accomplished on a modest budget. When I first donated just 50p could treat 2 people once a year for 7 Neglected Tropical Diseases so I save 50p coins! I still poke around charity shops for unusual items, but they are getting so up-market now.
I think we can agree that it is not the Foreign Aid itself that is so pernicious, but the way it is corruptly allocated to divert huge sums of money back into the greedy pockets of our wealthy elite in the UK. I believe that in reality there is a massive unpaid debt that we owe to almost every single one of the commonwealth countries that we plundered in the name of the British Empire. I used to think that a progressive socialist Government here in the UK might be persuaded to implement the “Collaborative Circular Migration” proposals that offer a fair, mutually beneficial solution for the management of migration that would render Brexit totally redundant. Since the Covert 2019 Rigged Election I have been trying to fight back to get this injustice overturned before we sink into decades of Tory dictatorship under Dominic Herd Nerd Cummings after he forces crash-out Brexit on his puppet, Boris Man-Baby Johnson. Procrastinate at your peril as the PM directs his “Covicide” cull and “Democracy” morphs into “Dominicracy;” Take Action and Join our Forum.”
Although I read Craig’s Posts on a regular basis, I have not posted a Link to my languishing online Petition or back to this Forum in quite a while. Is everyone out there single-mindedly obsessed with Covid 19 or are the intelligent readers of this Blog now ready to accept the Covid 19 and the Covert 2019 Rigged Election are inextricably linked causes? The horrific consequences of the Tories “Slaughter of the Sheeple” policy agenda, compounded by a disastrous crash-out Brexit, cannot be derailed without exposing the corruption of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and removing this dangerous Tory Government before they are able to solidify full dictatorship. Extricating Cummings from his unelected stranglehold on power is priority one as I am convinced he holds all the evidence of the stolen vote and could potentially release that crucial evidence out of spite if he is ousted. I will continue to track down useful Links, data and information while I keep Posting here. Please do not give up the fight: DO NOT MOVE ON!