|Essays on Food, Hunger, Nutrition, Primary Health Care and Development (AVIVA, 480 p.)|
|21. Development Nemesis|
|Part Two: The actors and the future of development - The era of empowerment|
Each of us, active in Western development practice (2), carries around a complex story that purports to explain how we made mistakes along the way, did bad things or were in some way "not OK" -and it is in light of that story that we justify to ourselves unfulfilling work or frustrating and disappointing results. This litany of self-blame is usually quite painful and is often buried, but it is reinforced daily by the meritocratic ideology of society at large: "you get what you deserve to get". Self-blaming is crippling and has historically contributed little to politicizing the core issues of development as is so badly needed.
It is clear to me that for the future of development, the handwriting is on the wall and is straightforward: Political we must become! The myth of apoliticism in development work is, therefore herebelow, dispelled.
I am here launching a search and a campaign for the doom of Western development as a viable (winning) approach. A nemesis (justified resentment, righteous indignation) arises when looking at the past performance of Western development. (1).
The poor in the South are tired of their poverty and their dependence and will fight back when they become more militantly aware of the real issues. Elite-controlled-so-called- democracies of the South, in tacit collusion with the North, are not fostering viable people-beneficial/gender-neutral development and will thus be challenged in the years to come.
What follows, then, is a collected assortment of viewpoints -old and new- about the actors and the future of development; they flash together without being tightly bound; they are here presented to open up new vistas, not to prove any particular preconceived point. (Lehman, 1987, p.7).
Throughout the text, I profusely use the personal pronoun we, mostly in normative contexts ("we should" or "we need to"). By it, I really mean "each of us", and "us" is intended to mean, mostly, people genuinely interested to mobilize for social change. Whether the choice of such a style gives the discourse hereunder a moralizing tone, I leave the reader to judge. But I do not deny that my message in this article is normative.
I will not here contribute to an unproductive frame of mind by holding up unrealistic standards for the development process. I will merely politicize the issues bringing them to the level I think they justifiably need to get-to in order to bring about any desirable lasting change.