Sunday, October 23, 2011

Censored 2012: Oxfam Exposes How Aid Is Used for Political Purposes

Oxfam last year announced that billions of dollars in international aid is spent on dangerous aid projects skimming past other people who really need the aid. Which draws " a line between civilian and military activity" (Oxfam). I've never really put this in context but I really can see how that 

Here are a few facts I discovered whilst researching this story: 
  • Oxfam have discovered that billions of dollars in international aid was spent on "unsustainable expensive and dangerous aid projects... which internationals donor governments used to support their own short-term foreign policy objectives. " (Oxfam). 
  • Last year the report showed us that 225 aid workers were killed, injured or kidnapped in violent attacks, compared to 85 in 2002.
  • In Somalia, the service aid dropped in 2008 to 2010 due to the US and inserted some armed groups in control of the majority of central southern Somalia.  Different people were labeled as terrorist under US law, and soon ended funding because aid groups could not guarantee that no aid would reach those groups. 
    Photo Credit:  The Guardia
  •  "Between 2001 and 2008, more than 40 per cent of this increase in aid was spent in just two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq. The remainder, Oxfam said, was shared between 150 other poor countries. "(Oxfam)
In the news?
I discovered that Oxfam has appeared in the headlines a handful of times when it involves how they can relate to political means. However I could not really find anything about their comment on how much money is spent on aid projects to help governments.  

One place I did find an article concerning this censored story is the Guardian in the UK.  I expected to find more on this topic in the UK because whenever I hear Oxfam I immediately think of the United Kingdom and all the events held. So I was shocked to only find information on this one website. 

In the one article I found, Military Priorities are Distorting Aid Budgets, Says Oxfam, written in February 2011, references the Oxfam report "Whose Aid is it Anyway?"  and speaks about the different percentages of money and volunteers sent to different locations.  

Attached to this article are other links that help understand what is going on and how Oxfam is trying to help get this message across. There is also a great podcast created entitled The Securitization of Aid where the Guardian's journalist speaks about the Oxfam report and their opinions on it. They speak about their concern on recruiting aid for national security purposes and distribution of aid and fast projects as opposed to long projects.

Is this a censored story?
This story is absolutely a censored one today's media. However in the academic world it's much more prominent.  When I type in "foreign aid for political reasons" I come across some scholarly articles and essays but nothing in the news. I looked at my trusty news source, the BBC, and couldn't find a thing. I then went to CNN followed by many other large news corporations including Reuters.  I did however find two infographics which cover the topic of Foreign Aid and the amounts of money different governments spend and where they focus on.   

The first focuses on U.S Military Spending Versus Foreign Aid:  
(For a better look click here)

Photo Credit: Daily Infographic

The second infographic I have found, focuses on how much money in general countries spend on foreign aid. This is interesting to look at because it shows how much in total was given. When thinking about the Oxfam report, it brings me to wonder more on what regions the money the US is spending is going to?  (For a better look click here)

Current events that relate to this topic:

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spoke at the commonwealth conference in Australia earlier last month.  While talking about foreign aid, he mentioned how the UK will stop aid to countries who do not believe in the same Human Rights that the majority of the world believe in. He specifically mentioned how they should support gay rights.  Both Uganda and Sierra Leone, have blasted back saying they were outraged.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2 of My Favorite Apps For My Computer (Mac)

It's the beginning of October in my senior year and already I have massive stacks of books to read and Tons of blog posts and videos to create.  It's a lot to handle. My friend told me about this one App called "Self Control" which is a great App to get you to focus on homework and not spend time "Stumbling"or constantly refreshing Reddit or Twitter, don't worry we all do it.  This app actually blocks these websites for you, acting as your will power allowing you to finish your homework in however long you set the timer for.   It's a great app and I definitely recommend it.

The second App I recommend is "iProcrastinate" This app makes staying on task almost too easy. This app is your electronic planner, however not only can you set reminders but you an also attach your document you are working on. This can be Word, Excel, Final Cut and iMovie. When you are going to work on it you can just open it right there so there is no excuse for not doing it.

These apps really are helpful and I highly suggest checking them out. One thing to be aware of is that you may procrastinate setting up your classes, and your time frame but once when that is complete, you save a lot of time.  To read more on these apps you can read it here. I wrote this article earlier last month and since I agreed on a writers agreement I can't repost my article on my blog.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What Would Magellan Do?

Over the years I've fallen in love with the idea of traveling to every part of the world and learning new cultures. I was brought up in a house where we were are very international. I grew up knowing people from both Mexico and France, and picking up sayings and parts of their cultures. This is what makes who I am, and from a very little age I wanted to learn more about other people's cultures. Here is an example of how I was brought up:

It’s 7 am on a Sunday morning; my parents, dog and I are all gathered around the television waiting for kick off. Not American Football, like most families, but Arsenal, the soccer team apart of the Barclay’s Premiere League from England. We watch the game, and at half time my dad makes breakfast, usually potatoes, bacon and some sort of style of egg, it’s always delicious, my mom makes tea. The second half of game we are cheering for our Gunners. After the game we get ready for the day, and start to get ready for when my Grandfather and Godmother come over for our weekly Sunday Night dinners. When preparing dinner, my dad plays music, usually classical, French, or Brazilian; it all depends on his mood. We are all usually humming or dancing when we hear the music. If someone sneezes we either reply saying “gazuntite” or “salute!”.

This post is called what it's called because it was a saying my friend and I constantly said while we were in Portugal. We would say this when we couldn’t decide where to go, or which direction to take. Why Magellan? He was an explorer and it had a nice ring to it.

I know it sounds cliché to go off the beaten path, but I must say it is the best way to go. Having this attitude, I was able to see so much of different places. In Portugal alone, I went to a traditional Portuguese dance hall, and I’ve learned to make traditional Portuguese chorizos on a ceramic grill. My advice? Go out and explore, and don’t always follow what the guide says.

I created a blog entitled "What Would Magellan Do?" and  would love for you to follow it. It has everything to do about travel. You can also check it out on Wordpress.  (It will permanently live here after this semester)