Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers. Come to study. But do not come to help.

Alyssa Rust
Posted April 29, 2015 from United States

This story was first shared with me by a Professor in a course that I was taking, which focuses on Non-governmental organizations on a global stage. Throughout the duration of the course our class explored a variety of different topics and have some heated discussions at times. Topics including looking that the perspectives of traditional Northern NGOs compared to Southern NGOs, the role of civil society, and transformative versus constitutive change. One of the stories that still sticks with me to this day was “To Hell with Good Intentions” by Ivan Illich. Although this speech was given in 1968 there are so many of his comments that still ring true today.

I thought I would share this with the community and see what people think. Do these issues still occur today that Illich discusses? Do you agree with his point of view? Does this remind you of any stories that may have happened in your community or in your life?

I would love to hear your thoughts! I know this was a very controversial speech in 1968 and it still is today. I hope you find it as probing as I did when I first read it in my course.

Link to Article: http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm

Comments 4

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Netsai Nomhle
Apr 29, 2015
Apr 29, 2015

Thus colonization was born.  Without taking away from the NGO’s and Missionaries whose intent is good, governance and systems in certain countries can be so warped it takes away the good intent of mankind.  A helping hand can go so long, depending on the hand that receives it.  

ruthibelle
Apr 29, 2015
Apr 29, 2015

And the hand that gives it ...

ruthibelle
Apr 29, 2015
Apr 29, 2015

Wow. That was quite a read. Very thought-provoking.

You rarely find someone willing to proffer a train of thought that flies in the face of conventions. But Ilich obviously wasn't afraid. And I understand what he is saying.

I had to laugh when I thought of the reactions he must have provoked. He gave them the verbal equivalent of a slap in the face and a kick in the nether regions. And they invited him to do it ... **shaking my head**

I wish I were part of the class discussing this ... the views must have been varied and interesting! Great share, Alyssa.

Alyssa Rust
Apr 30, 2015
Apr 30, 2015

I remember everyone in the class being shocked that he was invited to speak with them full and well knowing that this is what he would say, makes you wonder what the true motives where for having him talk. I'm glad you found it a great read as I did.