Thursday, November 15, 2007

Don't laugh!

Via the Dutch blog of Wouter Rijneveld I found this short video which is part of the HIVOS campaign Stop de derde wereld. The video shows two journalists who try to get a laughing boy to look like a boy you would donate for: 'please take off your shirt and don't laugh'... I had to blog it because of the resonation with my experiences with journalists. When my husband worked in Somalia and a journalist team came and did not have enough malnourished children, they intersected pictures of malnourished children in other areas of the world.

Can blogging contribute to overcoming this bias/attitude? Probably only if a critical mass of different thinkers would write and blog and get read/heard. But it might be that a majority of bloggers have a similar bias.

For instance, it also resonates with the spirit of a lot of self-help projects that are springing up. Though I try to see the positive side of it, some of the projects are helping the 'pathetic' or 'zielige' mensen, and is really pure charity rather than development. Yet, it is mistaken as development work. For me, the basis of development work is that you respect the situation people are in, and their own aspirations. There needs to be some equality in the relationship.

By the way, Wouter is a very nice example of a person whom I met just once. We don't have time to work or get together. But through our blogs, we can lightly stay in touch and I'm my thinking is often sharpened by his critical thinking about development issues. Maybe what's more important, even if we would meet, we would probably not get to exchange some of the ideas that we exchange on the blogs!

1 comment:

Wouter Rijneveld said...

Hi Joitske,
I never even realised that we actually met only once, seemed to be many more times :), but I think you are right.