Sunday, October 23, 2005

No Hope

"In order to receive ongoing funding from [the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief], organizations like [Hope Worldwide, a US-based Christian charity] must meet their targets—however empty. Their predicament reminded me of Nikolai Gogol's novel Dead Souls, in which the main character, a minor nobleman named Chichikov, travels through the countryside, trying to purchase the names of dead serfs from local landowners, reasoning that landowners would be only too happy to hand over the names of serfs who had died between one census and another, because then they wouldn't have to pay taxes on them. Chichikov planned to mortgage the dead serfs to an unsuspecting bank, which—thinking the serfs were alive—would give Chichikov a loan with which he could build a real fortune of his own. Hope's strategy of leveraging the names of children for future gain seemed to me similar". Helen Epstein: The Lost Children of AIDS.

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