Welcome to JP Melville's review, experience, and statement on foreign aid and the international development industry. A conservative faith in family. A love affair riding the riotous tensions between money, personal freedom, the majestic travesty of our specie's ecological footprint, and economic politics. Selected writing of both prose and poetry, anecdotal travel log to rhetorical essay, dating back from the 1980's to the present. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


You may not know us
We the modern day missionaries
Of the rational mind.

Our institutions are familiar,
The World Bank
The United Nations
World Vision
The list goes on and on.

We are the rural economists,
Macro-economy experts
Municipal planners,
Civil engineers,
Social health advisors,
Emergency aid coordinators,
And more.

We deal in matters of consequence:
Food deficits and drought,
Trade barriers and GATT agreements,
Child labour,
Female circumcision,
And more.

We deal in poverty,
Calling  people beneficiaries,
Target populations,
The urban poor,
And more.

In rare moments, I have known my people to look out over the landscape,
Through the mirages of states and governments,
Into a world without human order,
Only the shifting sands of power.
Briefly, we see the infinity beyond the horizon.
We see our busyness as meaninglessness,
But it is only before bed at night,
And then we sleep,
Or for a moment when waking,
And then we put our feet to the floor,
Because we must dash...
There is an office to get to,
Meetings, workshops, and conferences,
Reports, proposals, and evaluations...
Where we must assume without thinking
That what each of us does matters
While we worry about funding cutbacks,
Competition between organizations
For zones of intervention,
Partners, collaboration, and donor policies,
Changing economies and shifting political winds
And so much more.

Our hearts, we believe, are good,
We believe ourselves to be compassionate, concerned
For human rights
And equality,
That our struggle for fair trade agreements,
Cultural respect,
And environmental protection,
Makes a difference every day,
For we worry about the future,
We have children of our own.

But blind our eyes we must
For in our international lives
We are accountable to none
Excepting our donors
Who measure by the pennies we spend,
Insulated statistics ceteris paribus,
And positive public relations,
While cultures exacerbate their distances,
The wars keep coming,
The famines,
The dying children,
The migrant, homeless refugees,
The insatiable consumption of resources,
Glaring growing disparity
Between continents and classes
So immense none can imagine.

My people scurry faster and faster,
Our rational minds ever more addicted
To a porridge of ideologies,
Liberalism, humanitarianism, and democracy,
A drug we must keep taking
To blind ourselves from the course we race
With a Hobbesian Malthusian tidal wave.

A terror,
I tell you,
Impossible to conceive,
From the comfort of twenty four on seven electricity,
Working traffic lights,
Canadian Tire,
And Loblaws,
Sears online catalogues,
Impossible to see,
Me and you,

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