An update and a disclosure

My name is Elsie Bryant.

I haven’t mentioned my name before now because I’ve been unsure of how the blog would be received and whether I’d actually have anything valuable to talk about. I was afraid of failing, or people thinking that I’m talking a lot of rubbish (although I always welcome constructive criticism). I haven’t even shown my friends and family. Now, however, I feel I have a responsibility to put my name to this blog. It’s something I care about and I think we should talk about, so even if I get things wrong and make mistakes, at least it will generate discussion around these important issues. I would also really like people to contribute posts and articles and I can only really achieve that if this is honest and human.

I started Development Truths in March 2014 because for a long time I had felt a growing sense of unease about ‘international development’ as we know it, a million questions in my head and my heart and I wanted to explore, discuss and challenge these thoughts and feelings. At the start of this year everything just started to click into place, and now here I am.

It’s only August and I already feel like I’ve personally come along way since the beginning. Now, the narrow focus I began with (perceptions and stereotypes) has blown wide open and now I am starting to notice things more than ever before. Working to enlighten the world’s general public is one part of a long journey to true and lasting change. We need an awakening of our collective conscious, at all levels of society.

I now feel that I want to examine and challenge:

  • The discourse of ‘development’ – why does the ‘West’ get to decide what developed is? Why does it focus so much on money and economy? What effect does this discourse have, the assumptions and the stereotypes surrounding ‘developing’ countries? How has it developed and can it be transformed?
  • Why Western countries continue to perpetuate a cycle of dependency on them by ‘developing’ countries, and explore why this is damaging and why and how it can end. Can mutual respect and harmonious co-existence exist? Why aren’t we sharing and listening to others’ knowledge and values instead of simply trying to export our own? There are so many countries who are financially poor, but socially rich – why don’t we want to learn from them?
  • The ‘Saviour’ attitude of many different actors (more about this later) in Western countries towards the ‘developing’ world and the ridiculous charade of ‘altruistic’ development ‘aid’. What is our obsession with thinking we know what’s best for the world? At the very least, why can we never seem to strike a balance between morality and respect for the values of others?
  • Why and how the Western hegemonic powers can sideline an entire continent (Africa) in global decisions.
  • The truth behind the relationship between international development and international security – are they mutually exclusive?
  • The barriers to a truly level playing field in international economics, politics and society – who or what is truly in the way? Why are they there and how can we get rid of them?
  • What can be done to enlighten the world so that it can truly see these issues (and many more) and feel empowered and inspired to change.

There will be many more that come along and many I have forgotten to include, and I will add and transform these as I go along, but I feel that these are a good start. Please do feel free to suggest any I might have missed.

As usual, comments, thoughts and criticisms welcome 🙂

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