Breaking the cycle of poverty is a noble aim and a laudable action. The instinct of rich Canadian women to do good is inevitably drawn to such “business” activities as making small loans to the otherwise dispossessed. They call it microlending. Here is the latest report on more noble action by rich ladies and richer guys:
Three well-known Canadian mining financiers and philanthropists have agreed to donate their time and support to the latest Canadian mining industry social cause. In a “Dragon’s Den meets The Apprentice” format, Frank Giustra, Rob McEwen and Eric Sprott have agreed to meet with the winners of a MEET THE MINING MOGUL contest being organized by the WOMEN IN MINING to support a CDN$250,000 fundraiser for microlending in South Africa.
Rob McEwen, who is CEO of US GOLD, comments about his reason for supporting this fundraiser: “I believe in the concept of instilling confidence, causing people to believe in themselves and to strive towards financial independence. Microlending exists for that purpose.” Contest winners will be announced during the International Women in Mining Reception on March 3, 2009, at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention in Toronto.
You will have to read the whole story yourself to get the flavor of this ego trip. Somehow the thought of Canadian mining men & women in positions of power and privilege reaching out to the poor women of Soweto is…….well I am loss for words.
Maybe it is like a couple of other women I meet on the Vancouver mining-party circuit. They hail from Africa and love to go back to helicopter from penthouse to penthouse proclaiming the beauty of indigenous art. Preferably their trips are paid for by noble Canadian charities. Is it possibly that CEO Martha Deacon is one of these lucky ladies? I quote again:
The 600 members of WIM are seeking donations to The Townships Project, a registered Canadian charity that supports microfinance institutions (MFIs) in township areas in South Africa. These MFIs help to break the cycle of poverty by making modest loans to entrepreneurs (primarily women) so they can operate self-sustaining small businesses. Under the leadership of CEO Martha Deacon, The Townships Project has been active since May 1999, ensuring that each $50 donated changes a life for the better forever. Examples of small businesses that have succeeded because of The Townships Project can be found at www.thetownshipsproject.org.
They say charity begins at home. But considering that some of the gentlemen supporting Martha Deacon have made their money in other countries in strange ways, or are calling for the government to bail them out, it makes perfect sense that the resultant profits should go to those most affected by the colonial history of mining. Kind of like closing the exploitation cycle–or gap if you know what I mean.
I know I stand to receive the wrath of these powerful women in mining and the rich men supporting their work. I feel like that journalist who threw a shoe at Bush and now finds himself beaten in jail. Surely all they should have done was withdraw his journalistic credentials. Let him go blogging, not attending Presidential press conferences. For the work of the journalist is to go with privileged access to gather the raw news. The work of the blogger is to shine the spotlight on human folly, greed, and avarice. There are some who say Hitler would never have succceded if there had been blogger to comment on his actions.
Not that we can compare Bush or Bill Clinton to some. For they have helped their friends get access to the non-transparent and they have helped their friends get very rich. And now it is time to return some of that money to the ladies of Soweto. Damn me if the South African government would do that. It is too busy pouring money into new power stations to supply the mines.
Thus we end on a note of quiet despair. The times are so far out of normal, so far out of rational, that reports of this type inspire us to sentiment and hapiness, when in fact they should provoke anger at the manipulation of the systems by the privileged. Maybe in good times we do not notice the fat lady with the Hermes bag. Now this kind of humble excess is egregious and revolting. Blog on.
What I cannot understand is why they do not help Soweto women get into mining. We really do not need more of those cute little grass doilies, or metal-wire creepy crawlies, or carved wooden saints. There is only so much in the way of African crafts that you can cram into a helicopter and a penthouse. Where is the Joker when we need him?