Home > Challenges, World Issues > Democracy and My Everyday Life

Democracy and My Everyday Life

mozambique map It stuck me as fairly surprising that the day after I write about my project in Mozambique, the New York Times does a story on the upcoming elections in the country – a country they almost never cover. The article is really thought provoking, and asks some tough questions of a country that has been a positive light in the sometimes bleak perspective that Westerners have of Africa.

It addresses the fact that this donor-friendly environment may have been solely created by the one-party system that is controlling it, and whether this is directly inhibiting democracy.

This is a story very close to my own heart, as my husband is Mozambican, and I have traveled to the country as well. There are many articles written like this every day about Africa. This is usually when something is going wrong.

Obviously, human interest stories are only so captivating, and eventually, hard news wins over. I was really impressed that in the 3 years I have been actively concerned with Mozambique, this is the first story that has been on the front page. Regardless of what we feel about activities or politics that go on in other countries, I find it interesting that we enjoy reading about the complications.

Does it make us feel smarter, better, richer? After the global financial collapse that was created by – mostly – our inability to stop our insatiable hunger for things we cannot afford, and to amass great wealth, I would have thought we would be a little bit more mindful in terms of what we cover, and why. Obviously this was not really realistic.

The article did address a really interesting point regarding donors from the West, and how this could affect their perception of safe investment. Is Mozambique a safe place to invest now? Should my money go there, instead of to another struggling African nation. There are so many to pick from it is hard to choose! (Sarcasm duly noted.)

I have spent most of my life on the receiving end of donations, and definitely on the asking end. I am that person that sends you mail asking you to give. I write grants so you will give, and ultimately, I call and talk to you – hoping that our personal relationship will result in a gift. But despite this, I was really enraged when I thought about the article from that perspective.

Obviously, foreign aid and investment in Africa is a huge problem – and a huge good, depending on how you look at it. The issue is multifaceted, but most of all, it is something that newspapers gravitate towards.

Ultimately this article should have been about the democracy of a people. It should be about being able to express your voice as a Mozambican, and knowing that you have been heard.

I hope that the donors make wise choices that ultimately benefit the public, and not the large NGO’s that dot the landscape. Think about each person receiving that money, and what democracy and choice can offer them. Above all, give with your heart and give knowing that your choice is important – but the choices of a people are more important.

Categories: Challenges, World Issues
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