Helping, Acting

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This is written for Westerners who want to help people in developing countries to improve the situation in their countries, be it because of environmental destruction or because of social exploitation by companies or other traders. People in Western organizations have learned to create a strategic plan, after which they proceed to change a situation of others through actions, media and reactions. However, if you want to change something in Third World countries, the strategies appear to be successful after years, but only on the surface. What Westerners do not know, is that the reality of life works differently there, has nothing to do with the official surface.

The reality of these countries is very complex, the laws and regulations exist only on paper. In reality, people act only according to the economic law of the market. Where there is demand with existing financial resources, everything is done to satisfy this, in order to live, or to become rich. And usually it is the rich and the powerful who are in governmental positions, who control the illegal businesses in the underground. And if one develops a strategy or even laws to force a change, then the local people will change their strategy as well in order to continue, in a different style, or even in the same style with new connections. And therefore a change of law or a policy change will never be able to create change at the location, even if the national government tries everything with their best intentions. It’s often the bosses of local governments, and independent of that also the local police, who are the ones pulling the strings, or at least the ones who allow the illegal businesses. They use their position to make money out of everything, they even build their own unwritten laws which everybody else has to follow.

Therefore activism in Third World countries needs a very different strategy, which cannot be planned from the outside. It will be a never ending struggle of the local people, until the culture of the area is permanently changed, and with that the way of thinking of everybody involved. Because in these countries the culture is ultimately more strong than the law, in these countries only the culture can give people rules, and the culture is based on the common feeling (sense) that was created by the local society together. But be aware, a new culture change can be made into something only externally (on the surface) existing, by power interests again and again.

Only the local people can create change, and only if it is their own common desire. Their strategy has to be different to be effective, it will not be according to the law, it will be emotionally based, although considered. The emotional element is important, because it will be a struggle over a very long time, and because it has to change people's feelings in relation to the problem. This is because almost everybody in the society is somehow involved in the problem, even though sometimes not voluntarily. And the process of forming the intent or the process of building the strategy needs to be openly visible, it is not useful to plan something in secret, because the secrecy has already created the problem (even if it was never hidden from the local people).

For Westerners, which means outsiders, there is ultimately only one way how environmental destruction or exploitation of people in Third World countries can be ended, and that is in our dominating market system, to terminate the demand for raw materials (which are from there), which means the consumption of goods that use natural resources from there. And if one cannot do this, which means cannot change oneself or create change in ones own country, then one should not have any illusions that one could change something in another third world country. And whoever thinks that he will get away with a change of policy, without changing ones consumption, should not expect more than the same to happen at the other end. And you know already that that means nothing over there. The reality of environmental destruction and exploitation in third world countries will only be possible to change, if also the rich countries change their lifestyle.

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why do we destroy our world and its variety, before we try to understand it...