The Hypocrisy of Raising Money for the Haiti Disaster

by Akintokunbo A Adejumo

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward”. (Matthew 6:2)

It is, unfortunately, that time in the world again. A disaster happened and the rich people of the UK and America are trying to outdo each other in being proclaimed heroes and philanthropists. Only it is all self-serving, hypocrisy and vain.

Liberty Scott, in his blog wrote: “The earthquake has been devastating for a country beset for decades by corruption, kleptocracy, dictatorship and mysticism. It can only be hoped, and no doubt I expect private and government relief to come to this country with a history of being one of the most damned places in the Caribbean. It is ranked 156th by the CIA in per capita GDP, with the average of only US $800 per person per annum, alongside the likes of Cambodia and Chad, and the lowest in the Americas. If ever there was a country that long needed rule of law, a culture of reason and respect for individual liberty and property rights, and the end of kleptocratic violent government, it would be Haiti”.

So, Simon Cowell is organising Haiti charity song featuring Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Robbie Wiliams and Wyclef Jean, etc. And he is also receiving the backing of the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown asking him to put a Band Aid-style single together.

The selfishness, hypocrisy and un-thoughtfulness of these people are unbelievable. The millionaire is going to recruit other millionaires, make a record which will cost them next to nothing, and then sell it to the public, most of whom have already donated their pennies and cents to the Haitian effort. In other words, Simon Cowell et al are not really donating anything to Haiti (but they will claim they are donating their popularity, their names, their time, their talents, etc), but using other people’s money to become heroes.

On the long run, it is not you and me who bought Simon Cowell et al‘s record that will be recognised. Simon Cowell will be made into a hero without actually contributing a single penny of his multi-millions.

Madonna contributed a quarter of a million dollars to Haiti, and is also joining a concert to raise money. Actor George Clooney is also said to be organising a Global Benefit where the rich will be called upon to attend a dinner at ridiculous high prices. Every so-called star will be glad to jump on the bandwagon and will be competing with each other to be seen and photo-opportunities abound. Has Mr Cowell announced that he will be personally donating any amount of money to the people of Haiti? If he has, or has donated quietly, I am yet to be aware of it. He’s a multi-millionaire like many others of his ilk. How many of the millions of millionaires and billionaires that we have in the UK and USA alone have donated personally towards relieving the suffering in Haiti? True, some of them have donated or done something quietly, but most of them like to announce what little good they are going to do only when the spotlights and the cameras are present.

Supposing Simon Cowell and all the millionaires and billionaires in the US and UK alone contribute similar or even much lesser amounts, then Haiti will be well on the way to being a country again, with much to spare, without poorer people of the world being made to pay for such through dubious buying of records or attending irrelevant and self-serving concerts and $1000.00 a plate dinners, where these stars like to wear their latest designs, see themselves and hear their own voices.

My point is: Concerts and other fund-raising activities are OK to raise awareness for a cause, or disaster, but when our so-called world stars (music, film, sports, etc) use the public (who made them rich in the first place) again to part with their money to give to relief efforts, it smacks of arrogance, insincerity, insensitivity, selfishness, hypocrisy and is ultimately and deliberately self-serving. They can easily donate money instead of making others donate money on their behalf.

The fact is all this hypocrisy had been going on ever since the Famine Relief in Ethiopia in the 80s, when the record “We Are The World” was made, fronted by stars like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, etc., as well the Bob Geldof-inspired Band Aid in the UK. Please don’t get me wrong, I did enthusiastically buy the album, and donated towards the fund.

I have nothing against raising money for charities and disaster relief, and I do donate my own pennies to these Cause, but when these rich, spoilt people hijack the efforts of the truly humanitarian, to get the accolades and recognition which they do not deserve, it is annoying.

A lot of people often try to transform the world even with all the various inherent obstacle and adversity, and faced with two types of issues:

a) Denial of a world that we do not like, withdrawing ourselves from action and trying to find shelter in the golden castle of our self-centredness, and ignoring all sufferings that surround us.

b) Sometimes we have recourse to certain compensatory action trying occasionally to help, sometimes providing some economic aid, or participate in a charity project, etc.

In any case both actions lack something elemental: they do not address the core of the predicament. To cure poverty and suffering you have to find the reasons behind their existence.

Then, probably one will discover that behind the economic and social misery lay the moral one, and that behind a terrible trade is dishonesty and disregard and that, at the end of the day, behind the human evils are unjust beings.

Now, to cure this disease we have to possess the right medicine: goodness, justice, genuineness and magnificence. And nobody can provide what he does not have.

So, we have to carry out a serious endeavour to change ourselves if we want to relieve the suffering of our fellow human beings.

The true revolution is the revolution of the human being, for the most important duty that we have is to translate ourselves into a well-organized tool able to provide justice and goodness that will light the surrounding darkness.

The whole world can really do without the vanity and hypocrisy of these self-centred do-gooders. It is all hypocrisy. Not a penny of their own money is leaving their bloated bank accounts. In the aftermath of their supposedly good deeds, they get more attention, more publicity for their careers, acquire more fans, maybe get a knighthood or two, and it is more money for their bank accounts.

This article, is of course a personal opinion.

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