Human Nature?

So I was looking at the local newspapers from where I used to live online and I came across this. What is it? It's an article, in Dutch, about how the opposition for the remembrance day tomorrow. Why? Two Jewish groups and a bunch of locals are angry because the German soldiers who are buried there are to be remembered and honoured too.  They have declared that doing this would disrespect the memory of the Dutch people that passed and that it would blur the line between the occupying forces and the occupied during the second world war.

So they're making a gross generalisation that every single German soldier in the second world war agreed one hundred percent with the occupation and with Hitler's methods and beliefs. And have declared that the death of these people is not sacrilege but good. Something which I cannot understand and which disgusts me utterly.

Fair enough, a lot of the misdoings  that occurred are things which cannot be forgiven - however, I do not, even for a second, believe that every single soldier was doing the things that they wanted to do.

Harry Patch, a first world war survivor, who has since passed, remembered the German soldiers on the English remembrance day - he visited the German cemetery and respected the dead. I think that takes a great deal of courage and demands a huge amount of respect.

These protests, on the other hand, do not. I think they are infuriating and disgusting. The people who are buried there still had families, many of whom will not have agreed with what was happening, and deserve a little respect. They were doing what they were required to do by the law at the time.

But do not mistake what I am saying here, I am not saying that what happened during the first world war is forgiveable, a great deal of atrocities happened. I am, however, attempting to say that not everyone believed what they were told and not everyone was 100% bad just because they were forced to do the things they did. There are many psychological theories about human nature that explain why the soldiers were able to do what they did.

And also remember that a large part of the death and work camps was run by the inmates themselves, they also sorted out the weak from the strong, the men from the women, children and elderly. Why? Because they thought it might help them survive or perhaps because they felt it was better for them to do it than the Germans that were working in the camps - not many survived to explain why. And those who did die are still remembered, respected and loved by any family that survived and by the millions - perhaps even billions of people - that remember the atrocities that occurred under Hitler's rule in Germany. Just because they did those jobs does not make them inhumane.

I hope I have explained myself clearly enough, I may not have done and you may misconstrue what I am saying, and if that is the case - please do send me a message. I would love to explain myself further to try and get you to understand my point of view (no, not trying to get you to agree, just to understand).


International Aid for Self Gain?

Sooo at uni we have to do a number of articles with a variety of titles, on of the first ones I think I have already posted, which is on the Palestine-Israel conflict. They're only allowed to be 4-5 hundred words long so I know there isn't a lot of depth in them.  They are meant to spark an interest and get people to research further for themselves. Below is one I did on international aid and I might post the redraft of the other article. If you're interested in any of this and would like to know where you can find more information, drop me a line and I'll help you as much as I can.

Discuss the extent to which developed countries use international aid for their own purposes.

International Aid was developed to aid those countries in need. One of the main goals that has been set for countries is to donate a minimum of 0.7% of GNI per year to stop hunger, but only a handful out of 22 countries that pledged to do so in the UN. 6 of those who have not met their pledge have not even started a schedule to work towards, including the US.
So if these countries are so reluctant to meet this pledge what is the point of International Aid at all?

Firstly, there is a difference between developmental and humanitarian aid. Humanitarian focusses mainly on instant relief from problems caused by natural disasters and conflict; whereas Developmental aid focusses on tackling the long term roots of the problems that cause poverty and hunger by prolonged donations from developed countries.

Secondly, on a very simplified basis International Aid works in a similar manner to the way that banks loan money to people and companies. One party lends to another with an interest rate, allowing for a greater return on the money lent. However, this would only lead the countries into greater debt eventually as they are lending from one country to pay back the other. Is it ethical to continue to ‘aid‘ when in the long term it doesn’t benefit the country you’re helping?

Thirdly, if a country puts a lot of aid into a particular nation then there is the possibility of political influence and personal gain. By aiding developing countries the western world is able to  build up ties with countries that have great oil supplies or tactical positioning on the globe. Additionally, there may also be imperialistic legacies that nations wish to be upheld - if a nation continues to assert influence within these regions then part of the culture that was brought initially may sustain for longer.

One of the great issues with aid remains the countries that gain it. Often developing countries have fledgling democracies - if that - and governments are corrupt, bringing with it the ethical issue that the support is going to a corrupt, often totalitarian rulership with little or no regard for Human Rights - is that justified?

According to many countries and organisations it is - they manage to get a lot of aid to the people in need and the governments that give eventually get a return out of their investment. But it is unclear as to whether the return is greater than the good that the aid will do in the long term, begging for the question: “Does International Aid really aid at all?”