For those of us who work in the world of faith-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), we're well accustomed to the snubs and not-so-subtle criticism of our “secular” NGO peers. All too often, we're seen as nothing more than the offspring of those overly zealous missionaries of old who partnered all too well with historical colonialism. As a result, we constantly are attempting to distance ourselves from this characterization of the Bible-thumping fundamentalist who triumphantly arrives to save the poor from their poverty and the ignorant from their ignorance.
Unfortunately, the Messiah complex mentality that typified the majority of those first outsiders who arrived with the “good news” — that turned out to be bad news for so many traditional cultures around the world — isn't simply a remnant from the past, but a mentality that is still very much present and influential.
How might the words of the biblical prophet Isaiah resonate with us today, when he says: "If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."
From the official statement by #OccupyWallStreet: "As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power."
In Climate of Change, director Brian Hill tells the story of how ordinary people from around the world are taking action steps to save the environment.
Reported in a recent Times article, leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs), speculate that the militarization of aid in Afghanistan blurs lines between military and humanitarian responses, jeopardizing the success of projects and the lives of staff, wanting a return of all aid work to NGOs.
Development is a word full of hope. It brings to mind water pumps and rice banks, bridges and education, smiling children and sky-scraping financial institutions. Yet there is a dark side to development.
On Friday, July 17th, at 4 a.m., this dark side showed its face when