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Oct 26, 2012

" Charity... any kind of action that relieves people's distress just a little bit without changing the system maintains the system."    -- Howard Zinn  in Psywar (2010)

" Activism is my rent for living on the planet. " -- Alice Walker

" If you knew the effects of generosity, you would not miss out on one chance to share.
Wenn ihr die Wirkung der Freigiebigkeit kennen wuerdet,
so wuerdet ihr keine Gelegenheit mehr auslassen zu teilen. "

             -- Buddha Siddharta Gautama (?563-483 BC)

(I know. I do. And unless you have practised it for years, you cannot know how much pleasure/fun/satisfaction it gives!)

The practice of generosity or giving in Buddhism (& other Dharmic Religions) is called  "DANA" (or "DAANA")


below is my attempt at a translation of

Förderung des Wandels oder Nothilfe?

--- --- German: --- ---  (English: )

With donations there's always the question: What effect will the money have? Will it finance a fundamental Change or just (first)aid? Will it be used for Change or just for a handout? advocates putting (your) money where it will effect fundamental Changes towards social justice and ethical principles; and points out that supporting such "Changes" will automatically also bring about "Charity" [whereas the reverse does NOT hold true!]. If, for example, the political conditions for poverty are abolished, single cases of poverty will also disappear. Financial support of peace, human rights, social justice, or environment protection will necessarily lead to better chances for survival and better living conditions for all.

Poverty, on the rise globally, demonstrates how little is changed [by Charity alone] and how much alms just seep away. It just does not work this way: If (financially)poor are given some aid/a handout, the determining political conditions for poverty are not abolished. A donation to alleviate neediness can only improve the lot of a few, but does not result in better living conditions for all.

But then donations for alleviating personal hardship usually receive more gratefulness and acknowledgement than investing money into "Change-projects". It should not be overlooked, that in most cases here this 'acknowledgement' is only superficial, and sometimes perverted/degraded to nothing but marketing. The organisations which collect donations know that pity tends to open many a purse; and therefore many have included misery strikingly and consequently into their PR. And opulent "thanks" for donations is part of this approach as is the rolling-out of misery in their advertizing.

Furthermore, when aiming at fundamental Change there is no fast success. Change-projects are virtually always tedious, strenuous, dry, complicated and difficult to place; and often they are outright excluded from public discourse.

Add to this that with Change-projects there is often a fear that they might be "(too) radical"; a fear which is fed by all those who --like state, media, or administration-- do not want to see Change. Those have also put the term "radical" into a bad light. Actually "radical" is a completely positive term, which only signifies "fundamental" and "going to the very roots" [from Lat. 'radix'=root]. And it is exactly projects which tackled the causes and the roots that have changed and are changing our world to the best for all. And it's particularly these projects which offer alternatives to the dominating misery-producing circumstances. Thus ETHECON defines itself not only as a project aiming for Change, but also as a radical project.

Of course there's always poverty and misery which require direct and fast relief. This shouldn't be overlooked or dismissed at all. It is an elemantary act of human solidarity to help the suffering directly. Only all-too often fundamental help is left out of the emergency-alleviation; and the first-help thus looses it's effect, at least in the long run. Hence working on the roots and causes, and working outside of the dominating structures is in urgent need of more emphasis.

In Germany more than 90% of all donations go to (and usually to quite emotionally loaded) Charity-campaigns. Projects which work consequently and arduously towards a Change in society, towards peace, social justice, environmental conservation and human right have to put up with the rest, which is between little and nothing. At the same time these very projects would need the money really urgently, for they --unlike "Charity-projects"-- have no hope at all for support by institutions or the state.

A better future and a life really worth living will not come of nothing. Time and commitment alone are not sufficient. Financial support of projects-for-Change is existentially necessary.

--- --- end of --- ---


Instead of "donation", I often prefer terms&concepts like "DANA" or "DAANA" and "umFairTeilung" (= fair (re)distribution, as in FairTrade), "putting your money where your heart is", and "voluntary self-taxation"

" Are you willing ... to own, that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness ... to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings ...?  " -- Henry van Dyke, Keeping Christmas

" Worth means that you leave the world better than when you found it..  ..there are no absolutes..'s not what you end up with, it's what you end up with compared with what you started with. "

" Are You worthy? i.e Do you think the world is a better place with you in it? - And please do us the courtesy of actually thinking about your answer instead of pulling it out of the 'affronted' rack! "

--  Terry Pratchett - "Unseen Academicals" 2009


   -- Albert Pine (+1851)
   -- -- quoted on


((  100 Tanfield Avenue, Neasden   London
IBAN  GB55 MIDL400 727 61599 712
Zweck Prof.BUSBY: Chromosome Aberration Study

SSCS: Sea Shepherd Europe (bei ABN AMRO Bank)
(( 2170 AB Sassenheim / The Netherland
IBAN  NL30ABNA0440938643

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Posted: Friday October 26, 2012, 12:12 am
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