Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cynical Post About Live 8, Helping Africa, and ID Fraud

G8 is meeting to discuss giving billions of dollars to support Africa? I don’t mean to sound incredibly selfish and daft, because I agree that the situation in Africa is sad. But I also know for a fact that African countries are stealing exorbitant amounts of money and goods from America through ID theft. 

So President Bush might go meet with Tony Blair and other world leaders and agree to give lots and lots of the American taxpayer’s money, while the FBI and Scotland Yard are all completely aware of how groups of Nigerians and Ghanans have elaborate networks set up for stealing the identities of American and British people? It’s true. 

How many retailers have gotten a phone call from a deaf relay operator asking what they sell (the thief poses as a deaf person because it’s a free call, the operator is not to blame)? Oh, you sell dvd players (or cd players or anything a deaf person wouldn’t actually use)? Send me 100 of them. Charge them to this card (stolen credit card number. Stolen identity). Can you send them to Africa? Please rush this shipment. It’s for a charitable cause.

Charity isn’t my problem. I’m for it. I’m for helping my neighbor. I’m pro-golden rule. But I’m not pro-stealing. And I believe in that old adage: feed a man and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for the rest of his life. What bothers me here is that as far as I can tell, the FCC, Scotland Yard and the FBI haven’t done a single thing to protect the rights of the citizens of their countries. This problem is overlooked, but Britain and America will go ahead and pump millions of dollars into Africa while ignoring the pleas to help at home, where both governments best interests should be.

Britain and America may seem to be the land of the wealthy. Perhaps so, but most of the people who have, have because they work hard. The efforts employed to create a scheming net of thieves, with a system so elaborate they can ship to Florida or New Hampshire before shipping to Africa in order to hide their tracks, could be better put to use creating an honest economy, built on sweat and integrity. 

Instead, we have a looming hidden thief, masked by the internet, stealing from people who work honestly and who are most likely middle class. By the standards of someone in Africa, people of this class are rich. But measure them by the standards of their respective countries: they’re most likely barely eking out an existence, barely able to pay their own bills.

I wouldn’t protest giving billions of dollars to Africa, if I didn’t suspect Africans were responsible for the largest portion of credit card and ID theft and if I didn't think the better way of helping Africans would be to let Africans help themselves. The musician jerks at Live Aid 8 are, in my opinion, on a publicity tour. I think they’re ill-informed. I think Bob Geldof has been suffering from a deficiency of the lime-light. Maybe I’m ill-informed, but he probably doesn’t give a crap about Africa. 

And incidentally, the people who support Live Aid 8 wouldn’t really do what’s necessary to stop the poverty situation in Africa, like join the Peace Corps, volunteer to go to Africa on their own dime to help build habitats and plant gardens, or sign up to donate $30 a month to support a child in Africa like Warren Schmidt in About Schmidt (yes, I know, it's just a movie, but the idea is very applicable). Call me a cynic. I think I’m right.

Where are these protestors and where is Live Aid when most of the major cities in America and the UK have their share of starving, poor people?

See these important links for more information about Africa's problem and ID Fraud from the IP relay operator's themselves:

Speigel Interview With African Economist James Shikwati  (thanks Stoker)

Where will the Proceeds for Live 8 Go?

BBC article about Nigerian million dollar email

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