Better development aid is the culture
The best development aid is the culture

what should be the starting point according to your experience?

Author: Diego Contreras | Source:

Better development aid is the culture 
The best development aid is the culture
For more than forty years, the father Piero Gheddo -of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, of Milan- travels the world to know firsthand, and to make known, the work that missionaries perform in the poorest areas and conf 
For more than forty years, the father Piero Gheddo of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, of Milan- travels the world to know firsthand, and make known, the work that missionaries perform in the poorest and conflicting areas of the five continents. The result of this journalistic work are dozens of books and thousands of articles. His knowledge on the ground allows him to break clichés and denounce -without controversy- some ideological prejudices present when one speaks about the Third World. 
Today, as never before, the issues of international cooperation, development aid, etc. are a constant in public opinion. However, the impression is that the fruits do not seem to respond to the same extent. 
After so many years of journalism in the south of the world, I am convinced that we do not understand the poor people: we always judge them from how relations are with us: trade, International politics, commodities, tourism, etc., but we miss real-life life. It will not be possible to enter into communication and communion with such diverse peoples if no more attention is paid to their internal life, cultural, social and religious life. If in the last forty years a lot has been missed in this field, it is because there is a lack of a “culture of development ” founded on the knowledge of the peoples, in the clarity of the objectives and the means to achieve them.
And what should be the starting point according to your experience? 
On my first trip to India in 1964, I realized that the development of a people is born from within, a cultural revolution that mobilizes static cultures that do not have internal stimuli to create a better world. Buddhism, for example, does not justify democracy or social justice or any other new idea. Everything is well as it is, you do not have to change anything because, according to the law of “karma”, each one has what suits him for his life. The one who is “pariah”, patience, and will be reborn “brahman” in the next life... 
The development comes from the new ideas that the Gospel brings: the dignity of man, the equality of all men, children of the same Father, human rights, social justice, respect for women and children, the public good, the importance of work for keeping the family… I have heard countless times in Muslim countries, Asians, and Africans in general, that the concept of work has been carried out by Christianity: for local tradition, aspiration is to be able to live without working. 
The “Non-Global” gaps 
In recent years various movements (Not global, New global) have been born that seems a reaction against a certain way of understanding the relations between North and South... 
Long ago, I asked a missionary who had been in Tanzania for thirty years, what were the causes of African underdevelopment. Gave me four: ignorance, for the lack of schools; fatalism, caused by traditional religions; the corruption of the governments and the power of the military, responsible for the frequent coups of State. Many of these countries give thirty percent of the money to the military and two percent to education, and even less to health.
Non-Globals do not protest against these local underdevelopment roots. They protest only against the West, which has historical and current faults, but that is certainly not the root cause. Farmers in my region produce seventy-five quintals of rice per hectare; in African agriculture, the average is four to five quintals. Our cows give twenty-five to thirty liters of milk a day; the African cow gives a liter a day when it has the calf... the blame for this abyss is from the West? I think it is rather a lack of instruction and education. When I quote this data, they answer me: the one responsible is colonialism, which has not educated. It's true. But what has happened in these last forty years of independence? I fear that in many cases it has gone backward. 
The Non-Globals do not protest against dictatorships and the absence of freedom in poor countries, the habitual torture in prisons, the tremendous corruption of many governments, the dominance of the military, the inhuman customs that would have to be changed (inferiority of women, polygamy, bloody penalties, etc.). 
Two thousand years, in one jump 
A frequent slogan is that "twenty percent of the world's population has seized eighty percent of the wealth." 
I don't think you can help the poor by telling lies. It must be said: twenty percent of the world's population produces eighty percent of the wealth. And it produces them because we come from two thousand years of history in which the influence of the Word of God is evident. Many poor people have emerged from prehistory just over a century ago. 
When it comes to the technically underdeveloped populations, there is not enough reflection on the reality that the acceptance of what we call “progress” is not a peaceful fact. Even the simplest instruments like the iron plow, the fertilizers, the water pump... require a change of mindset, of vision f the world. For us Westerners, this change has matured for centuries. Poor people are forced to take that leap in the space of one or two generations. It is not possible to impose novelties that alter the cultural and religious universe of a people. But at the same time, people want to enjoy the welfare, of the human rights that are seen in others more advanced.

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