I do not know if it is stupidity or ignorance to think about comparing the size and quality of financial, technical and medical aid offered by Western charities with similar institutions in the Gulf countries. This is indeed unfair, and I am confident that some people working in our institutions have malicious objectives.
There is no doubt that the societies and governments of the Gulf countries are carrying out big charity works in many countries, especially in Africa and Asia, and this can never be denied, but we have made the following observations on such activities, which we had earlier highlighted through dozens of articles over the past 25 years, but ignorance, prejudice and extremism have prevented some from seeing the light of day.
First: Let us talk about the disbursement of Gulf money to the poor countries following the oil boom, the flow of funds to their governments, and the associated fever of establishing charities, not often for the love of it, but to exploit the opportunity and accumulate wealth at the expense of the naivety of some benefactors.
Second: The donation was often for the purpose of obtaining heavenly reward and not for the sake of assisting any country.
Most of those who donated did not know where the money would be spent while those who manage such charities kept a large proportion of money for themselves legally or forcibly. In addition to this, large sums of money collected in the name of charities to help the poor and the needy have gone straight into the pockets of the collectors. The names are plenty if someone is interested in knowing them.
Third: Many people, and we know them by name, have become wealthy from the assets of charities, their ‘charity’ projects, and their influence either directly or through the government contracts they have obtained.
Fourth: What the Gulf charities have spent in the last 30 years in Africa is very small compared to what Bill Gates has donated.
Fifth: Donations from Western charities focused on improving the quality of life in Africa and combating epidemics and diseases. The donations of our group focused on printing advocacy books, paying the salaries of preachers and drilling wells, and a small percentage went to schools, hospitals and textbooks.
Sixth: The insistence of the supervisors of some charity societies on the disbursement for charity projects abroad has not always stemmed from the need of these countries, but rather the need to manipulate funds that are kept away from the eyes of the hawks of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
This occurs despite the severe need to spend money on charity projects inside Kuwait, a single visit to areas such as Taima and Sulaibiya will show to every ignorant person the extent of suffering the residents of these areas undergo, but the domestic projects are exposed and its effects are known, while the projects of the outside are unknown to anyone except what the charity claims to have done.
We see philanthropy work has been subjected to serious abuse, misappropriation and tarnishing the image and illicit enrichment, and of course we do not want to diminish the efforts of the few, but the rule says, good belongs to the good-doer and evil is attributed to all.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf