About that corruption…

Michael at Humanitarian Relief has a good critique of the Guardian film up.

And he’s right about the role of the Afghan Government in the epic corruption permeating development and relief efforts being played down by the reporter to a ridiculous extent.

(When I sent the film to a colleague, I wrote: “This is just disgraceful. I would add, however, that the film makes the Afghan Government out to be a blameless victim, staffed exclusively by selfless civil servants who themselves would never engage in corruption. That’s quite the opposite of the truth, so I imagine it’s not  incorrect that the Afghan Government failed to make needed repairs on the hospital in question.”)

In any case, that  the hospital is disgraceful and so is Intersos.  If I worked for UNOPS, I’d be most concerned with fixing the hospital and seeing Intersos investigated, even if I felt burned by The Guardian.


*I just want to add that I don’t think all or even most Afghan civil servants are engaged in corruption, especially of that scale. To suggest otherwise would be unfair.


3 thoughts on “About that corruption…

  1. I’m so with you – and with Michael. I think the problem is that when journalists parachute into somewhere they’ve never lived or don’t know that much about, these things seem shocking. Without understanding the greater context, it would be. But it reminds me of people who visit East Africa and declare, “All the kids shave their heads! Boys and girls!” Yes, this is true, but it is also one of the first things that can be noted upon arrival, and more interesting or insightful observations only come with time and understanding that many hospitals are in disrepair, much corruption happens everywhere, etc.

  2. You’d be amazed how often journalists write that as a lede to stories about education, women, crime, health, etc. Very frequently cited. Now that I’ve pointed it out, bet you’ll see it EVERYWHERE.

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