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Letter to the Editor: U.S. gives back only a little of what it has taken

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The recent holidays have once again brought to the fore the discussion of charitable giving as an expression of kindness of sorts to ones less fortunate than oneself.

What has been completely ignored is the tougher question as to why there is such a huge gap between the fortunates and “unfortunates”? If everyone has enough to live on and get by, then there would not be the need for “charity”. This is a very simple concept. There would be no dependence on the largesse of others, and hence a certain tilt in the power relationship between the haves and have-nots.

People who give to charity and stop there, are only deluding themselves that this is helping anyone. It may be a temporary stop gap measure, but fosters a dependence relationship and it is also an expression of power. The best example is the relationship of many developing countries to the United States and other Western countries.

If the U.S. and the Western powers had not exploited and impoverished many of these countries over centuries, then these Third World countries would have had the wealth to develop themselves, and enabled their citizens to live decent lives. Massive wealth was and is still being drained from these countries, fostering an extremely unequal power relationship.

The U.S. and the Western countries then turn around and declare that they are giving billions of dollars in aid money to the developing countries. This then allows the U.S. to arm-twist these governments to vote in favor of U.S.-led initiatives, and for someone like Donald Trump, in a not-so-subtle way to declare withdrawal of “aid” for going against U.S. interests.

In giving a little back of the major wealth that has been drained from these countries, the U.S. hypocritically declares how generous it is to the rest of the world. it should not fool anyone that the fostering of such dependency is an accident.

Dependency creates helplessness and hopelessness, thus making control easier.

If one really believes in true gifting, nothing is more precious than standing shoulder to shoulder with the have-nots to fight for the same rights and privileges that have been taken from them, for decent wages, for real justice and full employment.

This is the gift of empowerment, in keeping with the old adage that it is better to learn to fish so we can be independent than to just give us fish. Dependency is just another disempowerment device.

In the same vein, only someone who is ignorant of the complexities of our societies would advocate against our much fought-for-and-won social benefits. That is not dependency, those were policies needed to enable citizens to have a measure of security from unemployment, ill health, natural disasters, etc. Power does not concede without a struggle, and many of the so-called welfare benefits had been fought and died for by working people in the past and the present. To lump these with charity is just sheer sophistry!

Dr. KIM E. KOO

Rocky Mount

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