Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Madonna and Guy Ritchie

I feel bound to comment on what has been going on during the past week or so. The press are, of course, making a mountain out of a molehill while all the "do-gooders" are squealing about human rights and "due process".

Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie have applied for and won adoption rights to a 13 month old Malawi boy, David, whose mother died soon after childbirth. The boy's father has consented to the adoption on the grounds that he is incapable of providing a life for the child, having sent him to an orphanage.

The boy's future can only be brighter. So anyone who claims that he should stay in Malawi on "human rights" grounds is probably jealous. What may be more important, however, is that the Ritchies have brought the plight of African children to the forefront. If they can adopt a child, so can others. That may be a significant change for the better.

Too often the real problems in Africa are over-shadowed by glib statements from politicians and do-gooders. Earlier this year Gordon Brown, UK PM-in-waiting, made a quick visit to Africa to hand over a promise of billions of pounds of aid. He got a nice photo opportunity with Nelson Mandela in return. Bullshit. He wasn't even giving away his own money (though he probably considers it his!)

In Africa (where I spend quite a lot of my time) things are very different from Europe or the Americas. There is extreme poverty and often no hope of making things better. NGOs come and go, busying themselves with grandiose schemes, driving their white Landcruisers from one meeting to another. The UN sends ill-prepared peace-leeping soldiers who rape children in eastern D R Congo. Meanwhile, big business (you know, the people "they" like to blame for everything) quietly goes about its ways, providing jobs, building infrastructure, developing resources and so on. I see the impact of this on a first hand basis and it is just about the only aspect of positive change out there.

Now we have this very wealthy couple making a deal with a destitute father in Malawi in order to take care of one small child. Bravo, Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie, you have my unqualified support. May others follow in your footsteps.