In a secularized West, charitable organizations are the modern-day saints granting us our expiatory rites. Many humanitarian NGOs even seem to cater to Western consciences filled with guilt.
Since these NGOs say they work on behalf of "humanity" and for a "better world", while possibly assuming that states and governments act only for the sake of social efficiency or their own self-preserving interests. Yet, often these NGOs risk becoming bureaucracies as much as states do, sometimes even with similar sexual and financial scandals. At times these NGOs also can look like just a "mammoth machinery" with more employees than services; a steep, often unaccountable budget, and an ideology promoting the worst "Western stereotyping". The weekly magazine The Spectator called them "the bad charity".
Lately, not a single week has passed without a negative story in the press about British NGOs. Now Oxfam, one of the wealthiest and most important of them, is sinking from a series of scandals in Africa and Haiti. It used, it seems, taxpayers' money, intended for the earthquake victims, to pay for "Caligula-style orgies". It also fired the actresses Kristin Davis and Scarlett Johansson, who volunteered as Oxfam "ambassadors," after they appeared in advertisements for Israeli companies. Oxfam accused the women of rhetorically "oppressing" the Palestinians; meanwhile Oxfam's staff was physically oppressing the Haitians.
Every year, not only at Oxfam, more than 1,000 acts of sexual abuse are committed by people who are supposed to be protecting children and vulnerable people, according to the British charities' regulator. Even the NGO of David Miliband, the former Labour party frontrunner, was hit by a scandal of sexual abuse, fraud and corruption.
According to a report by the BBC, women in Syria have been sexually exploited by men delivering aid on behalf of the United Nations and other Western charities. "The exploitation is so widespread that some Syrian women are refusing to go to distribution centres because people would assume they had offered their bodies for the aid they brought home", the BBC explains, quoting a new UN report on the humanitarian abuses.
According to Aidan Hartley in The Spectator, trouble for these NGOs began when they stopped helping people and started becoming politically correct by "blaming the West, stoking guilt and making Africa into a utopian playground for socialists from Sussex University".
Israel recently banned representatives of 20 non-governmental groups from entering the country, including the British organization War on Want, which according to NGO Monitor fabricates accusations of "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" against Israel.
The historic Halo Trust was an organization beloved by Britain's late Lady Diana. The actress Angelina Jolie in 2014 accused its executives of paying themselves handsomely with "consultancy fees." The Kids Company was also exposed for evidently squandering money on the "lavish" lifestyle of its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh.
It seems that £35 million of public money have also disappeared down the black hole of the Libor fund, established by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to support war veterans. The Sunday Times disclosed that in fact, it "wasted" vast amounts of money.
In England, philanthropic organizations have become a bureaucracy. There are evidently more than 195,289 registered charities in the United Kingdom that collect and spend almost £80 billion a year. Altogether, the NGOs employ one million employees, more than the automobile, aerospace and chemical sectors in the UK. Most of the large NGOs in the UK, however, spend less half of their income each year on charitable works, according to the True and Fair Foundation. The Daily Telegraph found that the executives of many NGOs saw their salaries increase, despite efforts to curb pay levels.
In Haiti, after a devastating earthquake in 2010, humanitarian efforts, it seems, did more harm than good. First, UN peacekeepers brought cholera to the island, killing almost 10,000 people. Then, the UN troops sexually abused Haitian children in a child sex ring. Third came the scandal of Oxfam. It seems like a colonialism of the do-gooders.
Another British NGO, Amnesty International, we are told, excuses Islamic extremism. Its secretary general, Claudio Cordone, said that "defensive jihad" is not "antithetical" to the struggle for human rights after Amnesty came under scrutiny for the relationship with CAGE, another NGO founded by an extremist Muslim, Moazzam Begg, which campaigns for the release of imprisoned jihadists. When one of Amnesty's senior officers, Gita Sahgal, expressed concerns, she was suspended. "To be appearing on platforms with Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender is a gross error of judgment," she wrote.
Amnesty International has come under scrutiny for its relationship with CAGE, an NGO founded by an extremist Muslim, Moazzam Begg, which campaigns for the release of imprisoned jihadists. When one of Amnesty's senior officers, Gita Sahgal (pictured), expressed concerns, she was suspended. (Image source: Nano GoleSorkh/Wikimedia Commons)
Some NGOs have been financing Islamic terrorism, especially in Syria, with taxpayers' money. William Shawcross, president of the Charity Commission, called it a "deadly" problem for the charities. More than half the humanitarian donations from the United Kingdom to Syria through small NGOs have ended up in the hands of ISIS and other jihadist groups, according to the think-tank Quilliam Foundation. In this way, millions of pounds, thanks to the generosity of British taxpayers, have fallen in the hands of terror groups,
Fatiha-Global, which should have brought help to Syrian refugees fleeing the war, instead diverted the funds to the Islamic State, the very terror group which had caused the refugee crisis to begin with. To top it off, the head of Fatiha-Global, Adeel Ali, was photographed with the jihadists of the Caliphate -- the same Jihadist group that beheaded British volunteer Alan Henning, who had come to Syria on behalf of the subsidiaries of Fatiha.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.