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In a world beset by bad people, even charity is suspect


TUMBY BAY - I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the evening news a bit hard going lately.

It’s the children mostly. The poor little wretches covered in blood and dust after another bombing raid in Syria and the big eyes, matchstick limbs and swollen bellies of the starving toddlers in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

I might have to start watching the news on the commercial stations where they just dwell on car crashes, house fires, murders and the doings of Prince Harry and other celebrity parasites.

I’m not quite sure why they keep showing us these images of stricken children and their desperate parents night after night.

What do they want us to do? Are we supposed to feel some sort of vicarious pain and stress? Do they want us to help somehow? What on earth could we possibly do to stop it all? Do they get some sort of morbid satisfaction by showing us all this horrible suffering? Are they just pandering to the warped nasties out there?

Personally, it just makes me feel more and more disgusted with humanity and increases my frustration at not being able to do something about it.

At night I dream about putting the politicians, warmongers and arms dealers up against a wall and shooting them all – slowly and methodically.

It’s not a happy dream. I should really be dreaming about rounding up all those poor little children and their shell-shocked parents and taking them to a safe place where there are no guns, no bombs and plenty to eat.

I can’t do that of course and neither can you. And even if we could, Peter Dutton would stop us.

What I can do, however, is maybe help one or two people, if not in Syria or Africa then somewhere else a bit closer to home and maybe not in such dire stress. Perhaps that might be a sop for a troubled mind. I have, after all, done it before.

Back in the 1970s I sponsored a little girl in an orphanage in the Philippines. Her name was Agnes Sotelo. I sent her a few dollars a month through a charitable organisation.

Little Agnes wrote letters to tell me how she was getting on. The organisation sent me photographs of her from time to time.

My few dollars saw her get a decent meal each day, some new clothes now and again and, very importantly, an education. Or so the organisation told me. I’ve no reason to doubt them.

I’m not sure what happened to her except that she grew up and left the orphanage.

She must be in her late forties by now, probably married; maybe she even has children of her own.

Trump & Charity (The Moderate Voice)I wouldn’t do it now though, that is send an organisation money just because it says it supports orphans. Nowadays there are too many crooks around who use sophisticated tactics to trick trusting souls into supporting bogus charities.

There have always been people who spoil things for everyone else but these days they seem to be everywhere.

If there were some guaranteed way to get donations to the honest outfits I might still think about it but even the churches are suspect these days.

If it could be done, however, it would be just a tiny contribution towards healing the woes of the world and helping the poor and the downtrodden, those unlucky enough to be born into one of Donald Trump’s “shithole” countries rather than into affluent, spoiled and uncaring countries like his own, or our fat Australia.

Whether it would stop me dreaming about lining the bastards up and mowing them down is hard to tell.


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Bernard Corden

"Soon if we are not prudent we will be watching each other starve to death on expensive television sets" - Aneurin Bevan.

William Dunlop

Ross- I stumbled on a highly effective method at stopping begging phone calls. It's drastic

I ask whether they have a hanky or napkin handy. I then tell them to blow their nose before shoving their head up their anus.

I'm no longer plagued by these parasites.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I think a lot of these charities start out in a small way and genuinely seek to help people. What seems to happen is that as they grow and get bigger they turn into money making entities i.e. they become corrupted.

I think this happens to any organisation. The bigger they get the more corrupt they become.

One of the things that really gets on my goat is the way charities immediately come in with requests as soon as some sort of tragedy or natural disaster occurs.

People have donated money towards funds for the PNG earthquakes. Presumably the charities rip off a lot of it before it even gets to PNG. Then the corrupt politicians steal another chunk out of it. Whether anything ever gets to the people who need it is a moot point.

I live in the hope that when I donated to the charity mentioned above it still had some ethics and did what it said it was doing.

I take the same attitude as you now Ross. I say no to the charity requests but try to help out where I think it's possible to do that without compromise. That's why I've been attracted to some of the projects run by PNG Attitude.

Ross Wilkinson

Like many over the years, I’ve bought my poppies, ANZAC and Legacy badges, given money to the Red Cross and Salvo door knockers but made sure that I got my receipt for tax deduction purposes.

On occasions, I even tossed loose change into the charity tins at various cash points.

But I became very sceptical when the Council I was working for in the early 1990s received a letter from one of the larger charities - I strongly suspect the one Phil was referring to - seeking a substantial contribution towards its international assistance to disadvantaged children in third world countries.

During the discussion on this request in the Council meeting, one of the councillors commented that he’d heard that 85% of that charity’s income went towards internal expenses and that it was building a multi-million dollar headquarters in Melbourne at that time.

The Council resolved to hold over the request until the charity responded to a request to detail its income and expenditure. The Council never heard back from the charity.

In recent years I’ve become aware that charity fundraising is now an industry and many of the major fundraisers no longer rely on a volunteer team to collect charity funds but have contracted out this role to professional fundraisers.

In fact, the database of contributors for one of the contracted charities gets added in to the general database of that particular contractor and you no longer get one request but many.

In recent years my brothers and I had to take over the affairs of our aging aunt as it became obvious that she was succumbing to dementia.

Amongst her financial affairs we found that she was contributing to 43 different charities because she had become incapable of saying “No” to the many cold calls that she received. These “pledges” were then followed by formal invoices sent in the mail.

Unfortunately, in my aunt’s diminishing capabilities, she would just pile up the unopened correspondence on her dining room table.

One day my elder brother and I were sorting out this mess when I opened one such letter from one of the better known childrens charities to discover it contained a demand stating that if she didn’t respond and pay immediately the “outstanding pledge” would be referred to the charity’s debt collector.

On another topic Phil told us of his penchant of visiting second hand bookshops and picking up bargains. I have that bad habit also, particularly charity OP Shops, where I used to pick up cheap military history books.

Unfortunately, these have disappeared from the shelves as they now have knowledgeable people sorting attractive books out of their donated stocks and putting them on Ebay to maximise the income from their recognised value to people like me.

Now that I’m retired I have a standard response to the many telephone calls and door knocks that I receive. “I’m sorry but I’m now retired and a pensioner and my income is limited. Would you please take me off your list?” I still get the requests.

Garry Roche

Phil, I agree that nowadays, as you put it, “even charity is suspect”. Remember the old saying “Rather than giving a fish to a poor person it is better to teach them how to fish.” Encouraging the skill of writing and facilitating and provoking writing may in the long run have a more lasting effect than financial contributions on their own.

Bernard Corden

ABC and SBS television has degenerated into a formulaic propaganda machine and is no better than commercial television.

Risk has moved from a collectivist to individualist paradigm throughout most western cultures. This commitment to methodological individualism increasingly objectifies risk and disregards many of its cultural, metaphysical or social psychological aspects.

Moreover, extirpating a language has a profound impact on cultural change and during any coup d’état control of media outlets remains a priority. The rapid expanse of communications technopoly with antisocial media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is incalculably narcissistic with sinister totalitarian objectives. It merely expedites the process of surrendering culture to technology.

"How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in’t" - Shakespeare: The Tempest.

"Hell is other people" - Jean-Paul Sartre

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