Snippet of an interview with David Kerrigan, General Director of BMS World Mission, on having a Christian perspective on sending money overseas in the light of Godfrey Blooms comments on sending aid overseas:
What do you think of using terms like “Bongo Bongo Land” to refer to countries that receive aid?
I think that, irrespective of what Godfrey Bloom actually says, the reality is that that kind of phrase betrays a very old world attitude of superiority towards the rest of the world. And whilst he may say it is not in any way overtly racist, it is a coded comment for a disparaging view of developing countries or countries simply a long way from the UK.
What should Christians make of it?
I believe that we should have absolutely no truck with that kind of perspective on other parts of the world. Irrespective of whether they are economically poorer than ours, culturally different from ours or speak a different language, we are all part of humankind and respect between nations and between peoples is fundamental to a Christian worldview.
What about the substance of what he was saying: that aid sent to the developing world ends up paying for designer sunglasses and apartments in Paris?
If we were being ruthlessly honest, we could go back in history and find examples where the UK and other countries did give aid to dictatorships and turned a blind eye as to how that was used. Perhaps in BMS’ experience, the worst example of that was in Zaire (now D R Congo) where billions of pounds were given to President Mobutu over many years. He spent that money hiring Concorde to fly him to and from Paris with suitcase loads of cash for shopping expeditions. I don’t believe that kind of abuse is happening today and I would say that DfID is far more accountable and demands the same level of accountability from its partners.
Read the rest of the interview over at bmsworldmission.org
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