Do you care about the world?

Published: 07 December 2010

If we look at one of my previous posts, the answer to this question would be: I doubt it. But during the EDD’s, there was a special panel about this subject. Do we, Europeans, care about the rest of the world? I was rather sceptical after my little Facebook inquiry - not that I think all humans are superficial and egocentric creatures– but I gave the panel a chance to convince me.

As the moderator Andreas Unger pointed out, ‘Do Europeans care about the rest of the world?’ is a yes or no-question. But believe me, the answer isn’t that easy.

Different aspects have to be taken in account. Rama Naidu (Democracy Development Program) stated  that the EU contains millions of citizens, so obviously there have to be some people who say ‘yes’ against development aid. And he is right. Last June almost 26.000 Europeans answered this question and the result is amazing: 98% say development aid is important.

Somebody who doesn’t believe the yes-no question theory, is Helmuth Hartmeyer. ‘It’s a stereotype. Who are the Europeans? People from Iceland, from Russia, from Norway,...?’
Too state his opinion, he quotes an United Nations survey and honestly, it’s one of the best quotes I’ve heard during the EDD’s.

‘Please tell us your honest opinion to the solution of these scarcity of food of the rest of the world., the survey asked. One region haven’t heard about food. The others didn’t know what honest meant. In one region, they didn’t know the word scarcity (Maybe it was Europe). Another region didn’t know opinion. In one region they asked for the word solution. In one the word please was unknown. The United States didn’t know what the rest of the world was.’

At the end of the conference, Rama Naidu said something that made me giggle. ‘We can have 1000 debates, where everybody is polite and after dinner we’ll go home, but nothing actually changes.’

Hate to break it to you, Rama, but that’s what you are doing right now. That’s what is the EDD’s about. Talking without taking action.

I don’t know if this has convinced you but I am certainly not. What about the normal man and woman who isn’t part of an NGO, Development department,...? The problem is, people don’t relate the EU to development aid. And they probably never will.