Privilegier i en coronatid

I dag mindes vi starten af fem år under besættelsen med mørklægning, udgangsforbud, mødeforbud, rationering, og påtvungne legitimationskort. Man kan samtidig læse i mange medier, at mange har svært ved at overholde myndighedernes anbefalinger, og at coronakrisen risikerer at gå udover vores mentale sundhed.

Blandt andet opfordrer Sundhedsstyrelsen til at man holder sig fysisk og mentalt aktiv ved at løbe et tur og læse en bog. Read more of this post

Årsdag for dødelig smitsom sygdom

24. marts er det World Tuberkolosis Day – en dag som bliver afholdt hvert år over hele verden, for at sætte fokus på de sundhedsmæssige, sociale og økonomiske konsekvenser af tuberkulose

Tuberkulose er, ifølge verdenssundhedsorganisationen WHO, den mest dødelige smitsomme sygdom – en sygdom som kan forebygges men som hver dag dræber 4.000 mennesker på verdensplan. Read more of this post

Danmarks Indsamling: What about the causes of poverty?

The purpose of Denmark’s largest televised charity event, Danmarks Indsamling, is to raise money “to help people in some of the poorest countries in the world to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”  But how can the event do that without focusing on the causes of poverty?

On February 2, annual charity event Danmarks Indsamling culminates with a large show on Danish national television.  Before and during the show, 12 of the largest Danish humanitarian NGO’s that run the event try to raise as much money as possible Read more of this post

Culture of the heart

Christian Mathisen med kinesiske bekendte“We talk a lot about culture in the world today. What we say about our own culture in Denmark is often nonsensical and sometimes downright nauseating. But vanity, lust for power, greed, the belief that ‘might is right’ and all other kinds of selfishness have nothing to do with culture. Nevertheless, all of these traits are gaining ground throughout the world today, not least in Denmark”.

These words could easily have been written today, but they are not. They are written after WWII, as part of an autobiographical report on the life of my Danish great-grandfather Frederik Christian Mathiesen in China between 1900 and 1936. A report that I was given after the death of Frederik’s son recently. Read more of this post

Jordtyveri har ingen sidste salgsdato

Historien har en tendens til at gentage sig, overraske, og hænge sammen på mærkværdigste vis. Tag nu nedenstående scenarie.

Borgerkrigen var slut året forinden. Arbejdsløsheden var høj. På grund af lav fødevareproduktion og høje priser på fødevarer sultede befolkningen, selvom der var masser af uopdyrket jord. 20 fattige mænd overtog og opdyrkede derfor noget af denne jord, som ellers var blevet privatiseret, men de blev brutalt fordrevet af regeringen og storbønderne.

Det lyder som en historie fra nutidens Afrika, men selv om der er mange paralleller hertil, stammer den faktisk fra 16-tallets England.

Året var 1649, og Gerrard Winstanley og hans ”Diggers” mente at Oliver Cromwells sejrige kamp over kong Charles II blandt andet var blevet udkæmpet imod kongen og de rige storbønder, for at fattige mennesker som dem selv skulle have adgang til jord. Read more of this post

Danish NGO: Danish government set to cut back on development aid with new austerity plan

Regeringens spareplan risikerer at udsulte udviklingsbistanden.

– anstødeligt, mener Afrika Kontakts forkvinde

Dansk Folkeparti, hvis mandater regeringen sandsynligvis skal bruge for at få deres spareplanen vedtaget, vil ifølge TV2 have regeringen til at spare op til to milliarder på udviklingsbistanden – en besparelse på over 14%. Read more of this post

The development of Africa: outsourcing poverty

I asked the question in a previous article, as to whether history showed that humanity is gradually, but irrecoverably, moving forward and becoming more developed, and answered it rather superficially by saying that we are getting there slowly.

But who is getting where and who determines what being developed is? And is development inevitable, as modernization theorists from Rostow to Fukuyama have claimed, as long as the developing nations follow the path of the so-called developed West, is development possible in a more than one way, and is development interconnected or unconnected with European development and wealth accumulation? Read more of this post

Multidimensional development

The interrelation or interdependence of the various areas that make up any development strategy is increasingly important, also bearing the cultural or psychological aspects of development and the partnership ideal in mind.

That the focus in the development world as a whole has widened somewhat in recent years, from a rather narrow and one-dimensional focus that saw economic and financial remedies as sufficient, to one that more willingly includes other areas such as culture and identity, is here apparent. This is so, although the overall focus is still largely upon economic remedies. Such one-dimensionality pre-supposes that all human beings behave in more or less the same way, something that seems unlikely in all but the most fundamental matters. Read more of this post

Neo-colonialism

The deeply embedded nature of colonialist discourse in the colonial period meant that the psychological transcendence of colonialism was not simple and straightforward. Much of the complexes and tendencies of the colonial period continued after the de-colonisation period, in Africa as well as the West, proving the need for psychological liberation on top of the (partial) physical liberation achieved at independence.

Post-independence African rulers, most of whom had Western university degrees, might have condemned the West publicly but they secretly admired it, denigrating African history, culture and indigenous institutions in much the same way as had the colonialists, eagerly modernising their countries along Western lines. Along with the “obsession with grandeur” that most of these leaders showed, this demonstrated both a lack of psychological liberation from colonial discourse and an inferiority complex. Kenya’s former president Moi’s claim (in 1991) that Kenya was “at least 200 years behind the West”  exemplifies this. Moreover, many of these leaders were seemingly as elitist as the colonisers, dismantling little of the oppressive colonial administrative machinery and employing the same instruments of coercion and tyranny that colonialists had widely used. Read more of this post

Hvordan løser vi Zimbabwes problemer?

Mange Zimbabwe-interesserede var mødt op for at høre på, og stille spørgsmål til, to inviterede foredragsholdere; Earnest Mudzengi fra den zimbabweanske civilsamfundsorganisation, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), og Venitia Govender, en sydafrikansk menneskerettighedsaktivist og rådgiver for NCA, tirsdag den 13/4 i Verdenskulturcenteret på Nørre Allé, København. Read more of this post