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Introduction

 

There is undoubtedly something foolish or presumptuous in the fact that I have not chosen the shortest path to give – or give back – to the needy and oppressed the money that has fallen into my lap (many people worked long and hard for it). Instead I, albeit not alone, have been sitting on it for many years and have merely (helped) distribute the interest and, to top it all off, have done so according to criteria that so far exist only in my (or our) head(s), and which have a long way to go before they prove themselves as they chafe up against reality!

Development aid, especially if it is about money, creates new dependencies, even when one is simply interceding to assist in a situation that is already in flux, already moving towards self-determination. Help can make the helpers helpless and fill the "victims" with hate. We (descendants of conquerors and slave-owners, beneficiaries of cheap raw materials – results of the armed implementation of "economic systems") can hardly look the other way.

But I consider development aid to be more than just a discharging of debt. To me, it is a tool in the battle for justice and solidarity = against repression, manipulation and isolation; against racism, patriarchy, exploitation; against shift work and nuclear states, even and especially here! Because:

development aid should not be primarily about relieving hunger, but should get to the root of the causes of hunger. And those causes lie mainly (at least originally) with us. And:

development aid means the fight against both "under" development and the fight against "over" development. Development aid is only secondarily about (spending) money. If money must be spent and as a sort of return service, I expect assistance with a sensible approach to nature and to time! And inspiration as I reflect on the meaning of life and on the necessity of a readiness to help and "naiveté" – the belief that the Earth will become livable again! Or at least no more unlivable.

Ulf Mann, November 3, 1986, Berlin-Kreuzberg