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Rod Liddle on Oxfam

The people of Haiti needed help — what they got was a bunch of Oxfam sleazebags

Yet another brilliant party I’ve missed out on. The Oxfam gig in Haiti back in 2011 — the whores, I’m told, were sensational, if a little on the young side. My own fault for having assumed it would be a grim convocation of death and destruction — plus pious white liberals blaming capitalism for everything. Not a bit of it. Those Oxfam staffers know how to party, especially the top brass.

No sooner had they arrived in the earthquake zone than they had set up their bordello, “the pink apartments”, and were ready for — as one of them put it — “young meat barbecues”.

The women were purchased — some of them younger than 16, allegedly — and decked out in Oxfam T-shirts — no undergarments, no jeans or skirts, just Oxfam T-shirts. Then began what was described as a “full-on Caligula orgy”, led by Oxfam’s then country director Roland van Hauwermeiren. Roly is 68 years old — you have to admire his energy. All that misery to sort out, but he still had the time to give some local teenagers a good charitable seeing-to.

Better still, Roland could later appear before the cameras, wringing his hands and saying of the situation in Haiti: “Too many donors from rich countries have pursued their own aid priorities.” You’re not kidding, Roland. You were clear about your own aid priorities, weren’t you? But, hell, what a party. And to think I felt bad about the Presidents Club dinner, where some right-wing men may have touched a woman’s knee.

This scarcely believable story was revealed in The Times: four senior Oxfam workers booted out for engaging prostitutes in Haiti as the country tried to recover from its earthquake. Oxfam complained it was old news and that the press had been told about it at the time.

Oxfam was lying. Sure, we’d been told back then some staffers had been sacked for “misconduct”. But misconduct could have been tearing up parking tickets or referring to a dying earthquake victim by their gender at birth, rather than the one to which she/he had transitioned. I suppose lying is stretching it, mind. Technically, you could say the Yorkshire Ripper was guilty of “misconduct”.

Oxfam also claims it told the Charity Commission about everything. That’s not how it looks. It told me on Friday: “We have written to the charity as a matter of urgency to request further information regarding the events in Haiti . . . This information will be considered as part of an ongoing case regarding the charity’s approach to safeguarding.”

It does give you an insight, though, into the way these perpetually angry and concerned middle-class lefties actually think of the people they are supposed to be helping. So pristine and pious, so sanctimonious towards the rest of us. So aloof from our own national concerns: internationalist to a man and especially in favour of countries where, like Haiti, the whores can be bought for one dollar. Yay, that’s the kind of country we like!

This is the second scandal to affect Oxfam this year: income £408m in 2016-17, almost half of it from government, with huge sums spent on salaries or advertising or lobbying — or indeed whoring. A few weeks ago the charity castigated capitalism for having enmired the Third World in poverty. It was pointed out, fairly quickly, that capitalism had elevated most of the world out of poverty and into affluence.

Oxfam’s assertion was the usual adolescent political grandstanding and weird warping of reality — and ignored the desperate poverty inflicted on hundreds of millions of people by socialism. It was virtue signalling by an organisation that, by now, is denuded of the slenderest vestiges of virtue. Most of the world’s poverty today is occasioned by bad governance and a predatory Third World elite, not by capitalism.

I think the Oxfam staffers know this. I think they know this and it makes them hot. Never give these people any of your money.

I have been known to give Oxfam small amounts of my money. I love a bargain, and if I’m passing an Oxfam charity shop I’ll pop in, and if there is a little something that takes my fancy, I’ll spend a quid or two to have it. Er, not in the Roland van Hauwermeiren sense. Call me over-optimistic, but I would like to think that alongside what Liddle rightly calls Oxfam’s “adolescent political grandstanding and weird warping of reality” – a.k.a. “socialism” – the charity has some employees who are actually quite good at getting help quickly to desperate people after an earthquake or similar catastrophe. That’s my excuse anyway.

By the way, so long as they are over the age of consent, I strongly oppose prostitution or the hiring of prostitutes being an offence in law. However I believe it was the case that Oxfam made a rule forbidding its aid workers to employ prostitutes, then covered it up when senior employees broke that rule.

Much of Oxfam’s sickness comes from its receipt of government money. No longer was it entirely dependent on the goodwill of ordinary people with their naive belief that the money they gave should be spent on medicine or tents or emergency latrines rather than politicking, and their equally tedious preference that their donations not be spent on prostitutes. Freed from all that, Oxfam could branch out into being a political party for people too sensitive to do the hard graft of going door to door and canvassing for votes, and as a bonus it could use government money to advocate for the policies that would keep the stream of government money coming.

41 comments to Rod Liddle on Oxfam

  • pete

    During my thankfully short period working in London I got to know many charity workers.

    They were often public school types from reasonably affluent home counties families, and they were entirely convinced of their own general wonderfulness and altruism despite their very good wages and terms and conditions.

    I’ve never come across a more entitled, uncharitable and arrogant set of people, almost entirely lacking the social, cultural and racial diversity they claimed to admire.

    The charity sector is now an employment racket for the well connected, a bit like the arts and the BBC, so it is no surprise that it is now also mired in accusations of sexual abuse.

  • I stopped ever giving to Oxfam a long time ago – except, as your article indicates, though my taxes.

    Buying something in a shop – including an Oxfam shop – is not giving, and I think it was Milton Friedman who noted capitalism’s ability to promote economic transactions between all sorts of people, even those “who may hate each other”.

    – Recently, Oxfam yet again made it clear that it hates us – but loves our money (to be given to them by force).

    – Even before I read Ron’s article, my feelings towards them were not of the warmest.

    It would be wonderful if the government took the tax hand-outs away – but what are the chances?

  • Mr Ed

    Oxfam was foul from its first infantile wail, a cry to supply the Nazis with food during WW2 so that they would give it to the starving Greeks, (and implicitly, they trusted the Nazis, deep into the War) never mind that the UK was at risk of starvation thanks to the U-boats.

    No, we need a new charity, one that is open about what it does. Let’s work on a radio advert.’ Remember that if you could give just £2 a month, that could go towards the £120,000 pa salary of our CEO. It won’t buy a shag, even in Haiti, for our workers, but if you gave £10 a month, a hard-working relief worker could relieve himself with a local whore twice a month, with our purchasing power. And that would save a wanker from entertaining himself, by himself; put money onto the local economy and improve relations with the people we are there to service, er… serve.’.

    I just need a brand name, how about ‘Poxscam‘? Nah, might get accused of passing off.

  • John Galt III

    One of Donald Trump’s shitholes attracted flies – including the Clinton’s who have spent their whole lives using people to the plaudits of the establishment.

  • Paul Marks

    These government funded “charities” with their highly paid managers are scumbags – they mix far left “Social Justice” politics with vile personal conduct.

  • bobby b

    It amazes me how quickly a socialist with lots of other peoples’ money turns into despotic nobility.

  • CaptDMO

    Next up:
    Let’s look at how much damage the well intentioned folks in The Peace Corps have left in their wake.

  • Eric

    This surprises me not at all. When the final draft of the history of our time is written, it will name “NGOs” and the universities as our most corrupt institutions.

  • Thailover

    I’m not intimately familiar with Oxfam, but NGO’s in general, are activist scumbag operations. (Not implying that government organizations are any better btw). In a former lifetime, I was in the USAF, and when it came to charatable giving we could engage in, having it taken out of our paychecks of we so desired, we were given a handbook with all the available charaites to give to, their percentates given and kept, their causes, etc. I, Mr. Not-So-Easily-Shocked was shocked. I’d estimate that 99% of the “charaties” kept over 95% of their revenue, and most were for nonsense “causes”, i.e. most were identity politics “victim” groups that were no victims at all.

    In my frequent trips to South East Asia during my employment in the Marshall Islands, I was also made aware of NGO’s stationed in Thailand and the Philippines. I was told by many ex-pat to avoid even walking past their offices because they were “headhunters”. I didn’t delve too much into that narrative. I merely took note of the warnings. It is interesting though when one sees various NGO posted stats, how they can vary from site to site by factors of 10 to 100, especially the “number of unreported abuses” i.e. numbers they simply made up in an attempt to justify their existence.

  • Thailover

    BTW, I don’t believe what Ron Little wrote. Nor do I believe the opposite of what Ron Little wrote. I believe hard evidence that’s demonstrable, repeatable and independently verifiable. I do however note that any organization that has positions where it’s actors can act badly without repercussion can and does attract those out to abuse. The Catholic church, for example, is probably “full” of people who have the best of intentions. That didn’t stop an organized and protected pedophile ring from popping up inside it’s rancid bowels.

  • JohnW

    Crooked multi-million pound agitprop racket sustained by power and pelf while masquerading as a “charidee” employs shady characters.

    This is news?

  • I was told by many ex-pat to avoid even walking past their offices because they were “headhunters”.

    I’m presuming this is code for something other than a form of ritual cannibalism?

  • Runcie Balspune

    I make a point of never giving to charities, either as cash donations or goods for their shops, where the “charity” has already been given part of my tax payment. I consider this to be enforcing the proof of the libertarian perspective that you can achieve much more when people are freely allowed to associate and can attend to their economic affairs without intervention.

    I’m a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, but I’d rather give to a church run charity than one of these charlatan self-serving organizations, the mere fact they spend charitable donations on lobbying government for tax payer donations makes a mockery of the whole exercise, that and the employment of “chuggers”.

  • What was that? The nationalisation of charities is as successful as the nationalisation of car manufacturers!

    Best regards

  • The Jannie

    Since finding out in the 70s how they squander other people’s hard-earned, I’ve had a down on the Cancer Research Campaign – and whatever it’s called now – for forty years. The latest one on our family hitlist is BHF. In their shops they overprice stuff they’ve been given then, recently, when my daughter offered them a perfectly serviceable piece of furniture they refuse it because it wasn’t good enough! A simple yardstick seems to me to be – if they’ve got a plush London office they’re not doing their job properly, so fuck’em.

  • bobby b

    Just to pick on one charity in particular:

    I have a standing offer to my friends: If you wish to donate $100 for disaster relief and you’re contemplating giving it to the American Red Cross, give it to me instead.

    I’ll buy $71 worth of scotch, and give the remaining $29 to the Salvation Army.

    I’ll be happy, and people in need will receive more help than they would have had you given the money to the ARC.

    Win/win.

  • Laird

    Thailover, when I was in the US Army participation in the annual United Way drive was, shall we say, highly encouraged. When the company commander wants 100% participation from his unit the sergeants ensure that he gets it. Of course, we were advised to simply cancel our pledge the next day, which I always did. Who needed the money more than a low-grade enlisted man?

  • Devil's Kitchen

    When Fake Charities was running, Oxfam was one of our bigger targets—simply because of the extent of its looting of tax revenues.

    As for this scandal… Well, there were well documented—well documented enough that even the BBC was unable to avoid running the stories—of UN Aid Workers forcing children to service them sexually in return for food aid.

    So, I have to say that all of this leaves me utterly unsurprised.

    DK

  • lucklucky

    So giving money to a socialist, supporter of Palestinian warfare, anti capitalist – pardon redundancy – organization?

    At least explains today’s the “conservatives”.

  • Pat

    It appears that Oxfam has managed to provide opportunity for enterprising and (I presume) young Haitian females(I presume) to make some money. Good on them for that.
    I would like to see evidence that they have greater achievements. Or indeed other achievements.
    Elsewise I would propose that Oxfam donors would do more good traveling to Haiti and employing said local entrepreneurs than by donating to Oxfam- and they might have more fun on the way.

  • Fraser Orr

    A question for you all: given that charities do seem to degenerate into these forms of corruption, what should a good libertarian do if he has charitable instincts? After all, in some ways “charity” is the answer that we often give to questions about social problems (“What? You heartless bastards want to see people dying in the street from lack of food, healthcare, cable tv etc.”) So quality charities are really an important part of the libertarian world view.

    What makes libertarian society charities better, and where should a good libertarian be giving his money today? (After all, we should practice what we preach.)

    It is easy to criticize, but a lot harder to come up with a workable approach. Like my old mom used to say “Twa craws sittin’ on a wall”.

  • Alisa

    I don’t give to charities, save for some isolated cases. I like helping people I know and like; I also some times like helping strangers who strike me as worthy of help – but it still has to be a person I can see and hopefully talk to. I simply see no point in sending money to faraway places, with no control over who it may or may not reach, and how truly worthy of my help that person may or may not be. And I always try to help in ways other than money, even if I can afford it, because I think that in the long run it is more productive for all involved. Whether this approach is libertarian or not, I have no idea.

  • the other rob

    I’m a dyed-in-the-wool atheist…

    Not according to Jordan Peterson, you’re not.

    …and give the remaining $29 to the Salvation Army.

    We give hard goods to the Sally Ann, for them to sell. Food and clothing, we generally give to a local church run charity. Except when…

    I like helping people I know and like; I also some times like helping strangers who strike me as worthy of help – but it still has to be a person I can see and hopefully talk to.

    Here, we have the Platonic ideal of charity. With no intermediaries to slice off a vig (which even the Sally Ann must do, albeit at rates that I find much more acceptable than other charities) 100% of the giving benefits the recipient. A 100% conversion rate is unheard of in nature and probably violates the laws of thermodynamics, yet it happens.

    I’ll risk an anecdote. This weekend, a local chap asked online for some clothes, as his house had burned down. I didn’t think that I knew him, but we had gone a bit crazy when our local JC Penny closed down and he and I were about the same size, so I took round a package of new clothing.

    It turned out that I had met him. Several years ago, I had been struggling to get something very big and heavy out of the bed of my truck. He helped me. So, it turned out that he had been charitable to me before I had the opportunity to be charitable to him.

    There are many forms of charity and we may not always know when we have received it, let alone given it. Scumbag organised “charidee”, OTOH, are a different thing entirely.

  • Eric

    Thailover, when I was in the US Army participation in the annual United Way drive was, shall we say, highly encouraged. When the company commander wants 100% participation from his unit the sergeants ensure that he gets it. Of course, we were advised to simply cancel our pledge the next day, which I always did. Who needed the money more than a low-grade enlisted man?

    I worked at a company that more-or-less forced us to give to United Way. You could refuse, in theory, but it was considered a not-a-team-player kind of move that would get your colleagues promoted over you. As most of us were working 10-12 hours a day it didn’t make sense to throw all that extra work away by refusing to donate.

    We didn’t get to cancel, either.

    The funny part is the big UW loan scandal hit while I was working there. People were furious with upper management.

  • RAB

    I have been to Northern Cyprus several times. One place that is a must to visit is Bellapais Abbey. It has what is reputed to be the best restaurant in the North, and one time home of the poet and writer Lawrence Durrell and stunning views from the terraces. On both my visits there has been a UN Range Rover parked outside the restaurant. It is nowhere near the Green Line buffer zone. It is not just Oxfam that is up to its armpits in corruption. The NGO’s of this world eat well and er… sleep well.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa: yep. Which is one resason why I don’t think your income tax returns necessarily have anything to do with your charity, as you actually commit acts of it in real life.

    other rob: yep. “Most of what we accomplish, for better or for worse, is fallout.”™ We go around being ourself, and things occur as they occur, as a result.

    I like your anecdote a bunch. It is so un-depressing! :>) And, what came around (to you) then went around (to him). :>))

  • Fraser Orr

    @Alisa of course you are free to do as you want with your own money. However, there certainly are people who, through no fault of their own, have pretty serious needs. The aforementioned earthquake in Haiti being one example. When the problem is that serious some concentration of capital and coordination of effort is needed. I don’t think it can be done in an individual way.

    I might add that to me a lot of the altruistic benefit of charity comes from the pleasure of helping people, especially when you know it is going to be a one way deal. Worthiness does matter to some extent, but I don’t think that the unworthy should necessarily be left to die in the streets either. There is a certain pleasure even in helping the unworthy.

    As a side note, I work in Chicago, and travel on the train each day from the suburbs. As in most cities I am being constantly hit up by various beggars for help, and no doubt some of them are truly destitute (but I can also say that begging is a pretty lucrative profession in Chicago — I’ve seen guys collect at least $100 sitting outside the place I was having lunch for an hour.) However, the Salvation Army has signs up saying “If you need food or shelter we can help.” But here is the part that gets me — they say “To find your nearest location call xxx-xxx-xxxx or go on the web to http://www.whereeveritwas.com.) It seems to me that this method of “finding your nearest location” might require a piece of equipment that your average beggar doesn’t have…. but maybe I am wrong — perhaps beggars have cell phones these days.

  • bobby b

    How do you find the right charity?

    Talk to those who have needed charity. Who provided to them the most appropriate, timely, no-strings honest-to-gosh help?

    On an individual local basis, you can also find out from them who still needs charity – whose house never got rebuilt, who is still struggling – and bypass the orgs completely.

    On a more widespread basis, you’ll hear first-hand the curses about the damned Red Cross and the gratitude for the orgs, like the SA, which pulled people out of the muck, and you can use that info to guide your future choices.

  • Mr Ed

    Here’s a quote from a Lake District Mountain Rescue Team on their finances.

    All our funds are from voluntary donation. We get nothing from the Government. We actually like it that way; then we can do what we need to do the job, and not be dictated to by bureaucrats.

    And here is a link to the source, showing their finances by a pie chart, look at the costs, and the admin sliver.

    Let’s face it, judging by Oxfam’s recruiting standards and practices, you’d be forgiven for thinking that if they did mountain rescue, there’d be a high risk, when someone has had a fall on a mountain, of some managers going out to supervise and ending up shagging sheep.

  • The Jannie

    More positively, I respect the RNLI. They’ve been saving lives in and on water since whenever it was. Thanks to their lack of government (our unwilling) cash they do a damned good job. Give, people!

  • Alisa

    @Alisa of course you are free to do as you want with your own money.

    Of course I am – was there even a question?

    However, there certainly are people who, through no fault of their own, have pretty serious needs.

    Of course there are, but having not met them, never been to where they live, and learned of their needs solely through media reports, I have no way of knowing who is who and what is what. That was what I meant by ‘worthiness’.

    The aforementioned earthquake in Haiti being one example. When the problem is that serious some concentration of capital and coordination of effort is needed. I don’t think it can be done in an individual way.

    Yes, and that was what I meant by ‘isolated cases’, among some possible others. In cases such as that one I’d try to identify a relief organization that seems trustworthy and efficient, and donate on a one-time basis. However, I don’t remember which particular organization it was, but back in 2004 many people who contributed to the relief efforts for the Indian Ocean tsunami later learned of some serious problems with that particular organization. That led me to the conclusion that one has to do some serious homework even in such isolated cases, and has discouraged me towards any future donations. And in any case, there are always no-less-worthy cases to care about close to home anyway. YMMV.

  • TomJ

    I refer the honourable Samizdatans to the comment I made some years ago.

  • … this method of “finding your nearest location” might require a piece of equipment that your average beggar doesn’t have…. but maybe I am wrong — perhaps beggars have cell phones these days. “Fraser Orr (February 13, 2018 at 2:29 am)”

    Possibly the salvation army is hoping that someone will help the beggar not (or not only) with money but with a quick internet check.

    (but I can also say that begging is a pretty lucrative profession in Chicago)

    As a victorian-era Sherlock Holmes story makes clear, begging was potentially lucrative a century ago – at least in the capitalist west.

  • Let’s face it, judging by Oxfam’s recruiting standards and practices, you’d be forgiven for thinking that if they did mountain rescue, there’d be a high risk, when someone has had a fall on a mountain, of some managers going out to supervise and ending up shagging sheep.

    QOTD material right there!

  • Devil's Kitchen

    @Fraser Orr

    A question for you all: given that charities do seem to degenerate into these forms of corruption, what should a good libertarian do if he has charitable instincts? After all, in some ways “charity” is the answer that we often give to questions about social problems (“What? You heartless bastards want to see people dying in the street from lack of food, healthcare, cable tv etc.”) So quality charities are really an important part of the libertarian world view.

    Ho hum. A complex question, so let me answer as best I can (and from my point of view, obiovusly). I, too, thought like this—and would constantly endure the mockery of Left and Right who thought that charity could not take the place of a Welfare State.

    So, then I thought, “what is it that is supposedly good about charity and bad about the state?” The obvious answer is that charity is (not counting our modern leeches) voluntary. Given this, it is not charity that is good, but voluntarism—people willingly building their own Welfare funds.

    Around this time I also read an excellent book on Friendly Societies, which provided an inexpensive means for working people to pay towards hard times. Friendly Societies provided unemployment benefits, sickness benefit, primary healthcare, and maternity care (these last two being the reason why doctors hated them): and, above all, despite membership being voluntary, by the early 1900s, nearly 75% of the working people in the country (and their families) were covered.

    So, it is voluntary cover that is required to replace the Welfare State. The unfortunates that slip through the cracks can be catered for by charity (or a very barebones state cover). Charities such as the RNLI prove that these organisations need not necessarily become corrupted—especially when focused.

    Regardless, the point is that the likes of Friendly Societies make charities less of an issue—and their leash easier to hold…

    DK

  • JS

    Mr Ed,
    At least some (might be all) Air Ambulances run entirely on donations too.

  • William O. B'Livion

    And now we know why the Clinton Foundation was so interested in Haiti.

  • bobby b

    “More positively, I respect the RNLI. They’ve been saving lives in and on water since whenever it was.”

    Okay, honest question from an unknowing American:

    Are you describing the main organization that handles your rescues at sea? Do you also have a Coast Guard or its equivalent? Any military or quasi-military org patrolling your coasts that perform rescues?

    I’m sure it’s just a cultural thing, but depending upon a charitable org for such functions on an island nation seems . . . different. Like forming an organization living off of voluntary donations to perform police functions. In New York City.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    The RNLI operates throughout the British Isles, including the Irish Republic, having been founded in 1824.

    We also have a Coastguard of sorts in the UK, it’s now an ‘Agency’ and afaik it answers emergency phone calls if you report on our 999 number and it is sea-related, and has a few helicopters (I think) and the like. i am really not sure if it actually does anything much more, and indeed to fill the gap left by its bureaucratic sclerosis there is a recent national voluntary organisation called the National Coastwatch Institution, founded by a retired Royal Navy officer, which provides observers at key points along the coast.

    The RAF and Royal Navy also used to do maritime search and rescue, Prince William did that for several years. It is now contracted out to save money.

    The RNLI was formed before the State started ramping up its provision of police and schools etc. and has carried on. It ‘filled the gap’ before the State had even thought to step in. It has had some collaborations with the State over nearly 200 years, which ended unhappily. I suspect that the current management are ignoring the lessons of history.

  • TomJ

    This Twitter thread is interesting on the sort of person who becomes an aid workers:
    https://twitter.com/robesonblogs/status/963008274193936384

  • Laird

    The Oxfam shenanigans appear to have forced an official response (which, of course, is only words). Whether those words will lead to its actual defunding seems highly unlikely.

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