Monday, July 04, 2005


Scoop? Or Simply Defamation?

Sydney Indymedia has run a piece entitled Oxfam - Make Poverty Profitable.
Oxfam Australia, the giant overseas aid organisation that ate local groups like Community Aid Abroad and Action for World Development, makes over $5 million in profit every year.
A pet hate of mine is Non Government Organizations who spend the majority of donated money on administration or feathering their own nests rather than sending it where the donors assumed it would end up. Any aid organization associated with the UN is high on my list of such groups. This article attracted my interest as it suggested Oxfam were abusing donor goodwill in a similar manner. It continues
They decided to ride on the coattails of the G8 protests by marketing white plastic bracelets that say "make poverty history".
I wondered how mass-producing plastic consumer items would in any way help to alleviate poverty. Certainly most world leaders would not give a stuff if you showed them a plastic band.
Quite true, however step one is raising public awareness and as far as I'm concerned, rock concerts and bracelets are a much better way of doing it than supergluing locks and smashing things.
Other than publicising Oxfam, and allowing them to make money of sales, I can see no benefit to anyone.
Your opinion, but it would be nice to find out the whole story. The 'reporter' attempted that
I rang up Margaret DiNicola, since her name is always on the tofu (activist spam) that I receive from them, urging me to give money.
Brilliant - Vegan activist spam = Tofu.
I asked her where the bracelets were made and how much the people making them got paid. She said that she did not have any info, but the staff in melbourne could provide documentation of all this. I emailed them two weeks ago, and again last week. I have received no response.
And here's where it gets really interesting
I assume this means that this capitalist, consumer-oriented, marketing campaign made another few million for Oxfam by riding on the backs of the poor. Using petroleum-based products, and manufactured by slave labour.
Excuse me? You assume? That's a rather serious assumption for which the only proof offered is their failure to respond to an email you claim to have sent. How do you even know it was Oxfam and not a scam? The poster then writes:
Anybody got any info to prove me wrong?
Sorry pal. It doesn't work that way. The onus is on you to prove yourself correct. A bit of research wouldn't hurt. It is not their responsibility to prove you wrong. What you have done is called "defamation". It's a really good way to get them to respond... Via their lawyers.

Indymedia disappoints again. Where media could force accountability on to NGOs and aid organizations, Indymedia instead wallows in the defamatory depths of hopelessness. I'm sure Oxfam are thrilled.

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