Tuesday, June 03, 2003

This quote is about Iraq but it could be about Mongolia:

"'Americans only in the sky,' one man told me, grinning as a chopper rumbled overhead. 'No problem.' Down on the ground, meanwhile, the new imperial class are the NGOs. They shuttle across the globe, mingling with their own kind--other SUV users--and bringing with them the values of the mother country, or the mother bureaucracy. Like many imperialists, they're well-meaning: they see their charges as helpless and dependent, which happy condition has the benefit of justifying an ever-growing aid bureaucracy in perpetuity. It will be very destructive for Iraq if the tentativeness of the American administration in Baghdad allows the ambulance-chasers of the NGOs to sink their fangs into the country."

If you see some big SUV with tinted windows roaring around the streets of Ulaan Baatar you can be almost certain it belongs to some NGO involved in the poverty industry. If you want to see a dozen or so of these NGO SUVs assembled in one place try Millie's Cafe at lunchtime. For the whole story see Come On Over the Water's Lovely.