1 March 2018

Beasts

Long time visitors to "Yorkshire Pudding" will remember my garden sheep. I snapped them yesterday after snow was dumped on our garden by The Beast from The East. There's Beau on the left, desperately seeking grass beneath the whiteness and there's little Peep on the right looking wistfully in my direction as if  hoping  for supplementary food pellets.

Unfortunately, I was pelletless but I did have a couple of bowls of seed for our garden birds. I cleared a space on the lawn and also topped up the bird table before setting off for my afternoon shift at the Oxfam shop on Ecclesall Road.

In recent weeks I have been appalled by the unjustified vilification of Oxfam by the news media in cahoots with bullish politicians. They have caused significant damage to an organisation that has done so much good around the world through the past seventy five years. If only these knockers and snipers had sometimes highlighted some of Oxfam's life changing aid projects and emergency relief work.

Instead, they choose to trumpet the seedy behaviour of a handful of  aid workers who bought the services of prostitutes in both Haiti and Chad. The way this has been put across, you could be forgiven for assuming that all Oxfam workers are corrupt predators who habitually use prostitutes.

Now I have a confession to make. In my life I have never bought sex and have never used the services of a prostitute. However, I recognise that prostitution is widespread. And where ever there are prostitutes there are men who are prepared to buy sex. Those men might be factory workers, fishermen, engineers, lonesome misfits, politicians, police officers, divorcees, soldiers, bankers and yes, aid workers.

As  far as I know, that small handful of  "guilty" Oxfam workers used prostitutes in their free time and did not use aid money to buy their sex sessions. So I am baffled about all the fuss. No human organisation is perfect and working as Oxfam does in chaotic times in desperate countries, it should come as no surprise that seedy and perhaps reprehensible behaviour will sometimes happen.

I asked Beau and Peep if they agreed with me and they did.

28 comments:

  1. My assessment of that situation was the same as yours. I think the public are forgiving of organisations which have a solid history and so long as there are not repeated scandals it will all disappear in the mists of time

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    1. I hope you are right Kylie but over here Oxfam has certainly been stained.

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  2. Beau and Peep are frozen in agreement. From the reports I've been seeing and hearing so far today, the UK is really copping a cold blast at present. Pull up your socks, and keep warm.

    It's a pity Beau and Peep are unable to be shorn.

    Searching for a scandal seems to be the popular game these days. If a scandal can't be found, make something up...or blow something else way out of proportion.

    'Tis the reason why I warned you yesterday, Yorkie, to stop falling onto people when you're travelling by train!! You never listen to me!!

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    1. You are so wise you are like an owl Lee! Twit-twoo!

      Newspapers just love a scandal and as you say if they haven't got one to pursue they will just make one up.

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    2. I'm smiling at your "owl" comment, Yorkie.

      As I was waiting to nod off into the Land of Nod last night a Mopoke owl aka Boobook owl was talking away to itself, or its mate, perhaps, in the uninhabited by humans bushland, a few metres across the way from my cabin.

      Listening to the owl last night brought a smile to my face then, as well. It sounded comforting, actually.

      I love owls...they're fascinating creatures.

      https://gardendrum.com/2012/08/22/boobook-or-mopoke-owls/

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    3. The boobook sounds very different from our owls. I guess it is one of the special sounds of Australia. Male and female sound so different don't they?

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  3. Little Peep looks quite alarmed about the extra strange white coat she/he is wearing!
    As for Oxfam, scandals abound everywhere these days but it is a good thing to keep in mind that some-one somewhere in the world is having a better life thanks to Oxfam.

    Alphie

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    1. Yes. that IS the way to look at it Alphie though I fear the scandal will cause Oxfam to shrink the number of projects it undertakes.

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  4. I think the difficult part to figure out is whether the women were willing prostitutes or whether they were so desperate they turned to prostitution and the men involved took advantage of that (men in positions of power, as usual, with different reasons in this case but the same dynamic). I find it reprehensible that they would do anything to blur the line between willing sex trade workers and those who had nothing after the disasters and would sell their soul along with their body in order to eat or enable their children to eat.

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    1. Well considered Jennyo! In Thailand I observed a number of chubby, middle-aged men taking advantage of young Thai prostitutes who had come to Bangkok to escape rural poverty and Thailand is a relatively wealthy country.

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    2. I was thinking the same thing as Jenny. You have it backwards; Where there are men willing to pay for sex, there will be prostitutes, most especially in a lace that has been devastated and people are hungry and penniless. I admire your defense of Oxfam but the organization has to take responsibility for its staff. Who was supposed to be in charge of these creeps?

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    3. Who is supposed to be in charge of anybody in their free time? Be it The United Nations, The Peace Corps, The US Military, merchant seamen, banks etc.. I agree that the small number of men who were cited are indeed creeps who have let Oxfam down. I understand that three of the men cited in Haiti were Haitian nationals employed by Oxfam.

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    5. Only a small number of workers were involved. 99% of Oxfam workers conduct themselves in a proper, responsible manner and we should be thinking far more about their excellent service than the freetime behaviour of some bad apples.

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    6. Let me try again without the typos.

      I don't know enough of the details in this particular case to debate them any further, but I would like to make the point that what the Oxfam employees do in their free time can indeed have a impact on the women from whom they obtained sex services. It's not just about what the employees can provide in return for sex (money? extra food or other necessities?) but also what they can withhold while carrying out their duties during their job hours (the same necessities) if a woman they have their eye on doesn't "cooperate."

      I am in agreement that those men let Oxfam down, and that the organization as a whole should not be judged by their actions.

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  5. There's an old saw about a Latin phrase . . something like non illegitimum carborundum having a succinct English translation. However I think the translation is faulty, at best, so I'll just offer what it is reputed to translate as: don't let the bastards get you down!

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    1. Illegitimi non carborundum - it's a good motto. Thank you for reminding me of it Mr C.

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  6. I completely agree with you on this point, YP. The millions of people who have benefited of Oxfam's work all over the world are too easily forgotten. And yes, prostitution, as much as we'd like for it not to be part of human society, is very much there and has been around for millennia. Like you, I have never bought sex - in my mind, it is something entirely seperate from all thoughts about money and economy.

    Maybe you are pleased to hear that I have chosen Oxfam.de as the beneficiary of my birthday gifts. The invitation to my birthday party says that I do not want gifts for myself but will set up a donation box at the venue with all proceeds going to Oxfam Germany.

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    1. PS: I think Beep is looking wistfully at you because you have not taken him out with you on a walk in a long time!
      It was -12C here the past few nights and is only slightly warmer this morning at -7.

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    2. If I might be so bold, on behalf of Oxfam I thank you for your generous and defiant gesture.

      Before I went to bed last night I looked at my fancy electronic thermometer and it was minus 6C. It is just after 9am now and the snow is still coming down. ll roads in Lincolnshire are impassable. Later I shall go out for a snowy walk. My car (Clint) is now stuck in the drive.

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  7. I agree with you about Oxfam, especially as society's understanding of what is and isn't appropriate continues to evolve over time, and some of these offenses took place years ago. Paul Theroux once wrote a book in which he acknowledged going to prostitutes while a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi in the 1960s. I certainly heard of similar activities among other aid workers while I was a volunteer in Morocco in the '90s. It isn't legal and it isn't right, but it also isn't as if they stabbed or shot someone.

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    1. Yes. I read about Paul Theroux's frequent use of prostitutes in Malawi but I hadn't made that particular and pertinent connection.

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    2. You are overlooking the different power dynamics in play. Paul Theroux was not in a position to grant life-saving charitable funds, and he didn't use charitable donations to finance his sexcapades. A donor does not give money to Oxfam so its employees can exploit vulnerable, hungry, homeless, penniless women. Come on.

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    3. Come on? Aid workers frequently receive wages or at least expenses. They do not work twenty four hours a day. If a handful of them choose to pay for prostitutes there's a sense in which we might say that that is their business.

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    4. Presumably Paul Theroux used his Peace Corps allowance to buy the services of prostitutes in the same way that those Oxfam workers did. The Peace Corps is an aid organisation rather like Oxfam and what is more Peace Corps volunteers work under the aegis of the US government so they are very much representing their country when working abroad. Come on.

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    5. You are changing the subject: this is not about the Peace Corps and further discussion is not pertinent. This is about people who give money to charities and how that money is used. When it comes to light that some of that money is being used to pay for prostitutes, whether directly with funds earmarked for discretionary purposes in country, or indirectly through employees' using salaries paid for by charitable donations (even if the sex acts took place during the employees' time off), donors have a right to be offended. Even if that charitable organization does a lot of good, and even if you are emotionally attached to that charitable organization, it is fair to criticize the use of charitable monies being used to hire prostitutes. Right?

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  8. I really do like your sheep.

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    1. When you get your new country cottage in the heart of Birmingham or Wolverhampton, you will be able to adopt your own sheep Sue.

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