The system is so broken that trying to fix it is futile. Wrong. We have to try to fix it. We have to make aid better. Cynan puts it very well, here. Systemic brokenness is very understandably disheartening and disillusioning to many. Sticking with it and making it work may not be your thing. Maybe you need to find another job. Fair enough. But those of us who stick around have to try to make things better.
We have to fix the broken system first. Wrong. A broken aid system does not, in the vast majority of cases, preclude an individual, team or NGO from doing it right, day to day. Yes, it will be difficult. Yes, some days the brokenness will prevent you from doing what you know truly needs to be done. Even so, we need to repair the car while driving it.
Everyone should have the opportunity to help. Wrong. “The poor”, disaster survivors, “beneficiaries”, etc. are not toys for us to sort of play around with. Aid needs to be delivered by people who know what they’re doing. Aid needs to be about the recipients, not about the provider.
Humanitarian workers, by definition, make great sacrifice to do the work that they do. Wrong. Aid is a profession and a vocation. It is a job for which we (should) get paid a fair wage in exchange for doing that job properly. Yes, there are difficult things about humanitarian work. Sometimes it is dangerous in different ways. But humanitarian work should never be seen as sacrificial.
Something is better than nothing. Wrong. I can think of few perspectives more damaging that the one which says, “The poor have nothing, so whatever we give them is better than what they had before.” This perspective more than any other locks us into a mentality of this all somehow being about us. It justifies all manner of professional idiocy and incompetence, it justifies amateurism, it justifies #SWEDOW.